Concepts and Techniques for the Analysis of Arguments

Course objectives

  • Students will be competent in identifying the arguments in a text, their parts and structure. 
  • Students will be able to recognize the presuppositions and implicit assumptions in an argument.
  • Students will know how to expound the presuppositions and implicit assumptions in an argument to a non-specialized audience
  • Students will be competent in identifying the rules and obligations in a given dialogical exchange.
  • Student will develop their capacity to find, formulate and evaluate opposite arguments

Course contents

This course is an introduction to argumentation theory. The student will learn concepts, principles and techniques of practical reasoning and argumentation, with emphasis on application of these techniques to philosophy.


  1. Argument, reasoning and implication. Communicative acts. Types of dialogue. Arguments: function and structure.
  2. Perspectives on argumentation: logic, dialectic and rhetoric.
  3. Identifying arguments. Premises and conclusions. Argumentative connectors.
  4. Premises and warrants. Serial arguments. Conjunction and disjunction of arguments. Additive connectors.
  5. Objections and counterarguments. Rebuttals and undercutters.
  6. Meta-arguments. Parity of reasons.
  7. Suppositional arguments. Reductio ad absurdum, conditionalization and possibilitation.
  8. Dialectical, rhetorical and logical evaluation.
  9. In search of warrants. Argument strength and sufficiency.
  10. Exceptions. Backing the warrant.
  11. Argumentation schemes and warrants. Critical questions.
  12. A classification of argument schemes.
  13. Evaluation using meta-arguments.

Bibliografía básica y complementaria / Course bibliography

MARRAUD, H. (2007). Methodus Argumentandi. Madrid: Ediciones de la UAM. 
MARRAUD, H. (2013). ¿Es lógic@? Análisis y evaluación de argumentos. Madrid: Cátedra. 
PORTOLÉS, J. (2004). Pragmática para hispanistas. Madrid: Síntesis.
VEGA, L. (2003). Si de argumentar se trata. Barcelona: Montesinos.
VEGA, L. y OLMOS, P. (eds.) (2011). Compendio de lógica, argumentación y retórica. Madrid: Trotta.


Basic Skills

BS7. The ability to apply the knowledge they have acquired and their ability to solve problems in new or little known areas within wider (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their field of study.

BS8. The ability to integrate knowledge and deal with the complexities of forming opinions based on incomplete or limited information, including reflections on social responsibilities and ethics. 

BS9. The ability to clearly and unambiguously communicate conclusions and the knowledge and reasons behind them to specialized and non-specialized audiences.

General Skills

GS2. Acquire and use fluently a technical language, with rigour in arguments and explanations, to discuss and present in public solutions to a problem.

GS3. The ability to apply in an autonomous, innovative and interdisciplinary way the acquired knowledge, methods and tools to a variety of situations and problems.

Specific Skills

SS1. The ability to identify traditional and current knowledge specific to the field of logic and philosophy of science, as well as the different trends of thought and tradition involved.

SS3. The ability to assess disputes, considering and overviewing alternatives to decide upon the better justified and reasoned parts.   

SS4. To be able to identify arguments as they appear in texts, dialogues and discussions, assessing their accuracy, acceptability and persuasiveness.

Teaching methodology

Before each classroom session the student must read the documents and materials listed in the moodle course page. These contents will be explained in the classroom session. After each explanation, the student must complete the tasks scheduled for the appropriate topic. The realization of these tasks will be conducted by the teacher through the monitoring sessions. The tasks are designed to apply these concepts and techniques to the analysis and evaluation of arguments, with special attention to the philosophical texts. Classes are complemented by a forum that gives the student the opportunity to raise questions and concerns to the teacher. This forum is also a tool for the teacher to detect and solve gaps.

Assesment System

  • Attendance and participation 20
  • Assignements and exercises 40
  • Final exam or final essay supervised by the teacher 40

Student workload

  • Total Hours: 125
  • Total horas presenciales/ Classroom hours: 10
  • Lecture hours: 10
  • Non classroom hours (Personal work): 115
  • Tutoring hours: 10
  • Monitoring hours: 73
  • Final exam or final essay supervised by the teacher: 32

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