What is a deductive argument that is sound on the topic, "employees should not be fired or disciplined based on their social media posts?"

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is fairly easy to give a deductive argument for the position that workers should not be disciplined or fired on the basis of their posts on social media.  It is, however, not easy to give an argument that everyone would agree is sound.

A deductive argument is one which must necessarily be true so long as the premises on which it is based are true.  For example, you could have the following deductive argument:

  • All presidential candidates are men.
  • Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina are presidential candidates.
  • Therefore, Hilary Clinton and Carly Fiorina are men.

This is a deductive argument because the conclusion must be true if the premises are true.  Of course, the premise is not true, but this is still a deductive argument. Since the first premise is not true, this is not a sound argument.

The arguments for the position that workers should not be disciplined because of their social media posts are largely matters of opinion.  Therefore, it is hard for them to be objectively sound.  For example, we could make the following deductive argument:

  • Workers’ private lives are not grounds for discipline or termination.
  • Social media posts are part of workers’ private lives.
  • Therefore, social media posts are not grounds for discipline or termination.

The problem is that not everyone agrees with the first premise. Therefore, it may or may not be sound. Let us look at another possible deductive argument:

  • Workers may only be disciplined or fired for conduct that affects the quality of their work.
  • Workers’ social media posts do not affect the quality of their work.
  • Therefore, workers may not be disciplined or fired for social media posts.

Again, if the premises are true, this argument is sound. However, it is not objectively possible to say both premises are true.

Thus, it is very difficult to come up with a deductive argument on this topic whose premises are objectively true.

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