A Clear Logical Argument Guaranteed

learn a universal fail-safe logical reasoning template for critical thinking, arguments, debate, persuasion, and writing
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  • Lectures 32
  • Length 4.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 2/2014 English

Course Description


As a trial and appellate attorney for nearly 40 years, my livelihood depends on constructing practical real-world winning arguments. Whether simple or complex, those arguments must be both logical and clear to my audience. And as an adjunct law professor for advanced argumentation, teaching students how to quickly and easily make such quality arguments is my mission.

In this course, I would like to share with you how to use or teach the same simple natural language logic template that I rely upon in court to ensure that any argument is both logical and clear.

I just fit the sentences of my reasoning within that logic template and out comes a logical and clear argument every time. It’s fail-safe, rigorous, robust, and nearly automatic. The type, complexity, or subject matter of the reasoning does not matter—the logic template is universal. And if the reasoning cannot be made to fit within the structure, you know that the reasoning is not logical.

Fortunately, you will NOT need to learn or teach about the typical long list of logical argument and reasoning curriculum topics. Just scratch them off your list of “need-to-know” to construct logical and clear arguments. There are just five simple steps to follow to complete the logic template.

It is academically sound as an extension of the seminal work of Professors Fred Sommers and George Englebretsen in the natural language New Syllogistic and peer-reviewed (Oxford Journal articles). And it has been field tested for years in actual litigation.

Of course, like improving any expertise, you will need to practice. But you only need to practice the same five simple steps for any argument.

To the contrary, based on traditional curriculum, studies have shown that practical logical reasoning “is often ill understood and poorly deployed even among those in the upper tiers of our educational systems.”(van Gelder, T., Bissett, M., & Cumming, G. (2004). Enhancing expertise in informal reasoning. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 58, 142–152.)

Hasn’t the time come for learning and teaching how to make logical and clear arguments to stop being so complex and difficult? We have all been working at it harder than is really needed! The right tool makes all the difference.

The focus of this course is narrow—how to easily construct practical clear logical arguments every time whether supporting your own position or attacking another position. That’s it!

While there is certainly more to critical thinking than constructing logical and clear arguments, without real competence in this one skill, the other important areas of critical thinking cannot overcome its absence.



What are the requirements?

  • If you are reading this course description, you have everything that you need.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • After engaging the lectures, asking your questions, and following the carefully designed practice process, you should be able construct clear logical reasoning based on your facts in support of any claim with ease, confidence, and rigor. To reach this goal you will learn the five steps to constructing clear logical arguments using a universally applicable logical template and the process to mastery of this skill.
  • 3.75 MCLE General or Practical Skills credits approved with the Oregon State Bar.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is appropriate and accessible for students from high school through graduate school, teachers of critical thinking and analytical writing at any level, business people, intelligence analysts, scientists, lawyers, politicians, journalists, and anyone else who needs to quickly learn to construct clearer and more convincing logical arguments. Perhaps surprisingly, there is no prerequisite knowledge or skills. Only a willingness to thoughtfully engage learning a new way of thinking about reasoning is required.
  • For attorneys there are 3.75 MCLE General or Practical Skills credits approved with the Oregon State Bar.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.



A short introduction to the course is provided.

Section 1: A Universal Argument Structure

You will first be introduced to a few basic terms (conclusion, reason, premise, and argument). Then the two elements of a "good" argument will be discussed. Finally, the nature of a correct logical structure will be explored.


You will first be introduced to the Logic-bridge universally applicable argument structure. Then the five steps to constructing a clear logical argument with the Logic-bridge are introduced.


The first of the five steps to constructing a clear logical argument with the Logic-bridge template is introduced. This step is forming categorical sentences (subject/predicate). (Any proposition can be regimented into a categorical form.)


"Start" and "Finish" are the second and third steps of the Logic-bridge. This segment explains how the line of reasoning begins with the Subject (phrase) of the conclusion and ends with the Predicate (phrase) of the conclusion.


"Linkage" is the fourth of the five steps of the Logic-bridge. This segment explains how one premise is linked to the next premise in the line of reasoning.


This segment explains how the amount of certainty (e.g., believability, acceptability, probability of being true) associated with a premise is an individual subjective decision. And the concept of the weakest link in the line of reasoning is introduced.


This segment illustrates the importance of considering the use of qualifiers in an effort to maximize the amount of certainty that is associated with any premise or assumption.


This segment explains how to add assumptions. This is the fifth and last step to constructing clear logical arguments. And this segment explains the difference between assumptions and inferentially linked premises in a line of reasoning.

Section 2: Assumption Sets

The concepts of "Assumption Sets" is introduced. These sets include Reliability (witness, expert, and instrument), Analogy, and Sample Generalization.

Section 3: Structure Variations

This segment illustrates how a line of reasoning can consist of more than one linkage between the premises.


The concepts of inference "gaps" and the risks of "inference upon inference" leading to the concern of speculation are explored.


The structure of multiple lines of reasoning (parallel and branching) is explored with examples.


Multi-level structures of argument are explored. And the use of the Outline Logic-bridge template for such structures is introduced.


Examples of argument structures with missing premises are explored.


Examples of the impact of arguments with missing assumptions is explored.

Section 4: Argument Dialogue

An example of an argument dialogue using the Logic-bridge is explored.


The limitations of the Toulmin Model of Argument are explored.

Section 5: Objections

The first of the three types of objection (Opposing) is discussed.


The second type of objection (diverting) is discussed.


The third type of objection (obstructing) is discussed.

Section 6: Flow of Certainty

The changes in levels of certainty during an argument dialogue are illustrated.

Section 7: Practice Resources

The process for effective practice in constructing clear logical arguments is illustrated.

Section 8: Argument Reconstruction

An example of the process of argument reconstruction is explored.


An example of the process of argument reconstruction is explored.


An example of the process of argument reconstruction is explored.


An example of the process of argument reconstruction is explored.


An example of the process of argument reconstruction is explored.


An example of the process of argument reconstruction is explored.


An example of the process of argument reconstruction is explored.

Section 9: Inference Mode
5 pages

The theoretical foundation of the Logic-bridge is explained. OPTIONAL LECTURE

Section 10: Argument Mapping
Inadequacies of Typical (tree-like) Argument Diagramming (Mapping) OPTIONAL

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Instructor Biography

Joseph A. Laronge, Trial / Appellate Attorney and Adjunct Law School Professor

Joseph has been a trial and appellate attorney for nearly 40 years. His trials have included complex valuation cases involving companies such as Delta Airlines, Union Pacific Railroad, Hewlett-Packard, and other large transportation companies, utilities, and major industrial corporations. He has also practiced in the areas of law enforcement, criminal defense, and general practice.

Periodically, he balances his litigation work teaching Advanced Argumentation and Legal Research & Writing as an Adjunct Law School Professor (Lewis & Clark Law School and Willamette University Law School).

He has also been an Associate of Austhink (see: www.austhinkconsulting.com), specialists in the use of argument mapping and other techniques of visual deliberation to improve reasoning.

Finally, he is a published author in two peer-reviewed Oxford Journals (The Journal of Logic & Computation and Law, Probability & Risk) and presented a paper for the 13th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and the Law (ICAIL 2011) AI & Evidential Inference Workshop.

In his mission to develop new tools and theoretical concepts for making and learning to construct clear logical practical arguments easier and fail-safe, he has enormously benefited from the support and encouragement of leaders in the Argumentation field such as Professors Tim van Gelder, Peter Tillers, Douglas Walton, David Hitchcock, and John Woods.

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