Argument trees

An argument tree is a device that can be used for representing arguments in the form of a diagram. They are helpful when we are reconstructing arguments, particularly complex ones, because they provide a means of showing the ways in which the different parts of an argument are related to each other. They show how the premises support the conclusion. It is great discipline to construct argument trees and you will find it helpful to use argument trees in your own analyses of complex real-world arguments.

Note: the process of constructing an argument tree is especially useful before you have supplied missing premises, and before you have settled upon a reconstruction of the argument in standard form. In fact, it can be useful to construct an argument tree at almost any stage in the reconstruction, including when the reconstruction is complete, simply as a way of illustrating the structure of the argument, of making it clear to oneself and to others.

Consider the following simple arguments:

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