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Hello All,

Hello All, My question is if someone makes an argument using conditional statements is the argument necessarily deductive? Basically the person claims because I am using If . . . .then clauses then that makes my argument deductive by default. I was under the impression that some conditional arguments can still be inductive based on the context of the argument. So if I claim not all conditional arguments are deductive am I correct or incorrect?

An argument using conditional statements can be an argument of any kind (it depends on what other statements are used). There is one kind of well known argument--modus ponens--that uses a conditional statement and a premise stating the antecedent of the conditional. That argument is deductive.

An argument using conditional statements can be an argument of any kind (it depends on what other statements are used). There is one kind of well known argument--modus ponens--that uses a conditional statement and a premise stating the antecedent of the conditional. That argument is deductive.

I have a question that is really intriguing me as I watch news analysis and read

I have a question that is really intriguing me as I watch news analysis and read Op-Ed pieces over the past several years. So, here is my question: There is a tendency to make a sort or analytical or "expert" or general claim that "IF such-and-such a thing (could be an activity, an obligation, a process, or an institution, etc.) fails or does badly often enough (10%, 25%, 50% of the time, etc.), THEN the conclusion is that such-and-such a thing is not worthy, not sacred - or, e.g., is a failure as an activity, obligation, process, or institution - simply because it is done poorly or mishandled some, most, or all of the time." Yet, due to human flaws and human mis-handling or misapplication or simply due to bad behavior - it is not reasonable to assume that the original, standard (or "ideal") is "bad" just because it has come to be handled or done badly by humans. Is that a basic fallacy of reasoning? Is it not reasonable to claim that? Does the argument that this position is faulty or unreasonable...

I've wondered about your question myself. It is common these days to say, for example, that communism does not work because "look what happened to the Soviet Union." Or that lack of regulation of financial markets does not work because "look what happened to our economy." But of course, someone who wants to defend communism or capitalism can put forward an "ad-hoc hypothesis" that the reason the Soviet Union "failed" is not because of Marxist theory but because of corruption (or bad weather or alcoholism...) and that the reason for failure of the financial markets is corruption (or poor people not paying their loans or public anxiety...). I like to think of political theories as scientific theories--it is common to get contrary data, and typical to construct an ad-hoc hypothesis to "explain away" that data. But that's not the end of the inquiry. The next step is to go on and see if the ad-hoc hypothesis has any data in support of it, or whether it is simply embraced in order to save a favored theory. Scientific theories and political theories should not be accepted or rejected based on a few data points, but, rather, they should be evaluated in terms of a range of data and theory modifications.

Perhaps you are also/instead asking specifically about recommendations for human behavior, and wondering whether they should take into account likely human failings? Philosophers often say "ought implies can." That is, any recommendations for human behavior should be realistic recommendations for us qua fallible human beings.

I've wondered about your question myself. It is common these days to say, for example, that communism does not work because "look what happened to the Soviet Union." Or that lack of regulation of financial markets does not work because "look what happened to our economy." But of course, someone who wants to defend communism or capitalism can put forward an "ad-hoc hypothesis" that the reason the Soviet Union "failed" is not because of Marxist theory but because of corruption (or bad weather or alcoholism...) and that the reason for failure of the financial markets is corruption (or poor people not paying their loans or public anxiety...). I like to think of political theories as scientific theories--it is common to get contrary data, and typical to construct an ad-hoc hypothesis to "explain away" that data. But that's not the end of the inquiry. The next step is to go on and see if the ad-hoc hypothesis has any data in support of it, or whether it is simply embraced in order to save a favored...