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2.9 No Danglers

The Rabbit and Holding Hands rules are special cases of a general principle: no danglers!

This simple argument currently has lots of danglers, in both the contention and the premises.

Two (previously hidden) co-premises have been added.  Now there are no danglers; both Rabbit and Holding Hands are observed.  For clarity, "Rabbit" lines have been omitted from the diagram.  Notice how, now,


A dangler is something that dangles, i.e., hangs loose.  A dangler is a significant word, term, phrase or concept which appears only once in a simple argument, without being "tied in" by also appearing somewhere else. 

The No Danglers rule is equivalent to the Rabbit Rule and the Holding Hands rule combined.  In theory you could forget the other two rules and just apply No Danglers.  However we find that it works most effectively to treat them separately; first apply Rabbit, then Holding Hands.

The overall effect of applying these rules is a very tightly structured argument, in which all hidden premises have been made explicit.  The No Danglers rule is a powerful tool for ensuring that we have all and only the right claims when we map a simple argument.

It is important to realize that these structure principles do not guarantee that the argument is a good one.  They help make it fully explicit; whether it provides strong evidence is another question, one we can address more easily once these rules have been applied, but which brings further considerations into play.

New Concepts

The No Danglers Rule: every significant word, phrase or concept appearing in one claim (contention or premise) of a simple argument must also appear in another claim.

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