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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 33, Issue 1, March 2010

Michael Malone
Pages 1-14

On Discounts and Argument Identification

“But,” “however,” and “although” are among the most common words in a large family that, following Fogelin, I call discounts. Students universally take them to be inference indicators, like “because,” and “therefore.” While this is incorrect, paying attention to discounts can help us identify arguments. Unfortunately, accounts given by both logicians and linguists are at best unhelpful, at worst incorrect, and sometimes even inconsistent. After justifying these criticisms, I give an account that distinguishes discounts from inference indicators while doing justice to students’ hunch that they can help us identify arguments.

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