Co-Dependent Reasons and Independent Arguments

There is one thing that you need to consider when you construct more complex argumentations: the distinction between co-dependent reasons in an argument and independent arguments for the same claim. Anytime you want to add another reason to an existing argument, you need to decide whether this reason can justify your claim independently from the reason you already have or whether this is a reason that can justify your claim only in connection with the already existing reason. In the latter case both these reasons (or more reasons) are dependent on each other, or "co-dependent."

In logically valid arguments like the one you construct in AGORA-net co-dependence becomes visible in the fact that all your reasons that depend on each other show up in one enabler. By contrast, independent arguments have always their own enabler.

For example, you might think that the argument "Peter's tomatoes will grow because he waters them regularly and they get enough sun light" should be structured as two independent arguments:

Tomatoes argument wrongly structured.

In this argument map, two independent arguments justify the claim that Peter's tomatoes will grow. However, a critical reflection on each of the two enablers should lead to the insight that the reason is not sufficient to justify the conclusion. It may be that Peter waters his tomatoes regularly, but if they do not get enough sunlight at the same time, they will die.

Considering the truth of each of these enablers as something like a universal law should show you that the argument is only convincing if it is structured as an argument with two co-dependent reasons:

Tomatoes argument correctly structured.

Both the reasons "he waters them regularly" and "they get enough sun light" need to be true to infer the conclusion. Each of them alone would not be sufficient to support the conclusion, therefore they are co-dependent. (Note: independent arguments can be added by clicking on the "add ..." under the claim which you can find when you click on the small triangle at the bottom of text boxes, whereas dependent reasons can be added by clicking on the "+" symbol under  “therefore.”)