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The origin of the technical use of "sound argument": a postscript

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NOTE The origin of the technical use of "sound argument": a postscript DAVID HITcHCOCK McMaster University It seems the original perpetrator of the objected-to usage was Irving M. Copi, on page 11 ofthe 1953 First Edition of his much-used Introduction to Logic. (Goldstick 1999: 90) Even before the 1953 first edition of Copi' s text, we find the following entries in the glossary to the 1946 edition of Max Black's Critical Thinking: Sound argument. An argument whose conclusion is reached by a reli- able method. In the case of a deductive argument, an argument having true premises and a valid conclusion. (Black 1946: 387) Valid. A conclusion (or the argument of which it is a part) is valid when it is impossible for all the premises to be true while the conclusion is false. (Black 1946: 388; italics in original) Note that what Goldstick rightly calls the "objectionable appropriation" is quite conscious. Black believes, wrongly, that the conclusion of any deductively valid argument with true premisses has been reached from its premisses by a reliable method. Note however that Black, unlike Copi seven years later, al- lowed that there could be other types of sound arguments: "not all satisfac- tory, or 'good,' or 'sound' arguments are valid. A sound and fully explicit deductive argument must, however, be valid ... " (Black 1946: 36; italics in original). (By a deductive argument he means one "in which the truth of the premises guarantees (or is intended to guarantee) the truth of the conclusion without appeal to other reasons" (35-36).) The idea that a deductively valid argument with true premisses is a good argument appears in the textbook literature even earlier than 1946, in Morris R. Cohen and Ernest Nagel's influential and widely used 1934 textbook, An Introduction to Logic and Scientific Method. Cohen and Nagel, however, use the word 'proof for such an argument: It might be of some advantage to use the word 'proof for the ... proce- dure ... by which w

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