finding Implicit Assumptions and Sub-Conclusions

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Instructions: Consider the following passages. Determine if they contain arguments or not. If they do not, explain why. If the passage contains an argument, write out the premises and conclusion. Edit the extraneous material and produce a clear and concise version of each argument. Insert any implicit assumptions, and indicate any sub-conclusions.

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1. Obviously, abortion is not murder. The soul does not enter the body until the first breath is taken. Up to this point, the fetus is a biological entity only.

2. Do you really think you should continue drinking Coke? In many states in the USA the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the trunk of each of their cars to remove blood from the highway after an accident. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coke and it will be gone in two days. The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days.

My understanding:


C: Abortion is not murder.

P: The soul does not enter the body until the first breath is taken.

P: The fetus is a biological entity.

(Implicit Assumption): A fetus isn’t considered living until it has a soul (?) => I’m not sure if this is correct, or it the I.A. is when the fetus/body takes its first ‘breath’.


C: Figuring out the conclusion has been difficult for me since I’m not sure if it’s the first sentence, or if it’s somewhere else in the argument… however, I do remember reading that rhetorical questions should be taken as premises, so I’m a bit stumped on this one.

P: Coke’s coercive nature can remove blood from concrete.

P: It will dissolve meat and bone in two days.

P: The active ingredient is phosphoric acid.

P: Its pH level is 2.8.

P: It will dissolve a nail in about four days.

I need help figuring out the implicit assumptions and sub-conclusions/needing a check to see if my understanding is correct or not. I’m a lot more confident with the first argument than the second one, as the second one has a rhetorical question that’s confusing me.

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