Mapping the world's opinions

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Both IXY and maps

Identifying Arguments

Arguments are assertions made in support of a particular Position. If the Position is the "what", the Argument is the "why”. "[Position] is correct because [Argument]" Eg: Position: “Yes, Pele is the greatest footballer of all time” (because) Argument: “Pele won two World Cups”. The Argument is a summary of the reasoning from which the conclusion identified in the Position follows. Like Positions, Arguments should generally be expressed as single-clause declarative statements.

Identifying Premises

A Premise is the bare-bones logical reconstruction of the argument it refers to. The point of rendering an argument in this bare-boned form, without the ‘flab’ of the full argument, is to expose the logic on which the argument is founded.

At their simplest, premises take the format:
Premise 1 + Premise 2 = Conclusion 1
Eg. P1: Socrates is a Man; P2: All men are mortal; C1: Socrates is mortal.

A Premise is simply a statement that could be true or false; the Conclusion follows from a valid rule of inference (X = Y; all Y = Z; therefore X = Z).

A Premise may take the form of:
- a direct assertion of a definition (eg. “God is all-powerful”)
- a statement of evidence (eg. “Men are mortal”)
- a statement of value (“a child’s life is more valuable than anything else”)

Identifying Proponents

Proponents are public individuals, institutions or bodies that have articulated their support for a given Argument and Position.

Proponents are the starting point of all Questions. Proponents’ views must be clearly articulated in a quotable context - audio, text or video - with a reference to that quotation. Proponents need not be internally consistent (Rene Descartes may declare Orange the most beautiful colour on Wednesday, and declare Blue the best on Thursday), but they must have made the Argument or taken the Position they are being shown to support explicitly and consciously. The context of their words should always be taken into account.

In some Maps, Proponents are people or bodies that have made the strongest case for the importance of a particular argument, but not necessarily made it to the exclusion of all other arguments. In the example, “Map: the causes of the First World War”, few people would argue for a single cause. Proponents in this instance should simply be those who have most forcefully and convincingly made the argument about a particular cause.