VCR Lesson 7 Presentation

Sanjana Kapur

Fill in the blank with the most appropriate word from Lesson 7.

The underlying __________ of the President's speech was that his democratic country had a moral obligation to aid developing nations with authoritarian governments.
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Saddam Hussein, former leader of Iraq

The US intervened in Iraq largely because it believes that it had a moral obligation to depose of Saddam and promote democracy there.

The Word: Premise (n.)


1. A proposition offered as a basis for argument.

2. In logic, each of the first two propositions in a syllogism.

*Note: Premise can also be used to mean property or land (i.e. "Never set foot upon my premises again). However, the word is not defined in this sense in the book.


Mitto, Mittere, Misi, Missum (L.) "To send"

Pre (L.) "Before"








*The two definitions of the term are similar enough that they have similar synonyms.

The first definition states that a premise is a general proposition underlying an argument.

The second definition is simply a much more specific form of the first definition because it explicitly discusses syllogisms and major/minor premises.

Because the second definition is a subset of the first and the two are not wholly separate definitions, they have the same synonyms.





*Because a premise an assumption about something (i.e. an argument), the antonym of an assumption would be a conclusion or observance.

While a premise is assumed to be true. an observance must be watched carefully in an experiment to determine its truth.

Also, a premise comes BEFORE an argument is made, while a conclusion comes at the and of it.


Syllogisms are logical arguments consisting of three things: a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion based on both the major and minor premise.

The major premise is a general statement, while the minor premise deals with a specific situation.

Example 1

All cats have four legs. Pepper is a cat. Pepper has four legs.

Major premise= "All cats have four legs." (This is a general statement about cats in general).

Minor premise= "Pepper is a cat." (This discusses Pepper and Pepper only).

Conclusion: "Pepper has four legs." (This was drawn based on both premises.

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Example 2

All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Socrates is mortal.

Major Premise= "All men are mortal." (This refers to all men in general).

Minor Premise: "Socrates is a man." (This refers to Socrates in particular.)

Conclusion: "Socrates is mortal." (This conclusion was drawn based upon both of the premises.

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Example 3

Reptiles do not have fur. A crocodile is a reptile. Crocodiles do not have fire.

Major Premise= "Reptiles do not have fur. " (This discusses all reptiles in general).

Minor Premise= "A crocodile is a reptile." (This is a specific fact about crocodiles, a subset of reptiles).

Conclusion= "Crocodiles do not have fur."

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Example of Non-Syllogism Premise

If you call 911 when you hear rustling downstairs at night, your action is premised on the belief that there is a thief inside your home.
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Exercise 7A

Circle the letter of the best SYNONYM for the word in bold-faced type.

7. beginning with the premise

a. assumption

b. syllogism

c. boldness

d. antithesis

e. archetype

Choose the letter of the sentence in which the word in bold-faced type is used incorrectly.

A) My support for adolescents' autonomy to make healthcare choices was premised on my belief that adolescents are intelligent and capable decision-makers.

B) Her support of workers' rights to organize was premised on the argument that civil disobedience was morally justified.

C) Her support of the Democrats was premised on her belief that the Republicans had the superior political platform.

D) Because the premise behind the theory is highly unlikely to be true, the theory itself is probably incorrect as well.

Answer: C

If the person has a premise that the Republican Party is the best political party, then she will not support the Democrats. The sentence doesn't make sense.