Discount Indicators

Discount Indicators

It is very common for passages containing arguments also to contain claims that are neither premises nor conclusions but instead send a signal that another claimed should be de-emphasized or discounted. Here’s an example where the phrase “Even though” is added to suggest that the cost of the sofa should be de-emphasized:

Couch

Couch

Even though that sofa is very expensive, we should buy it anyway because we need one and this one is already here in the apartment we are going to rent.

The claim “The sofa is very expensive” normally would be taken as a reason not to buy the sofa. That claim is discounted with the phrase, “Even though.” That phrase is called a “discount indicator.”

A discount claim is not a premise.

Discount indicators point to relevant factors that would normally count against the conclusion being drawn; the discount claim is there to reject the factor or de-emphasize it. Discounting often increases the psychological persuasiveness of the argument because it shows that the arguer has paid attention to all the relevant factors.

The following terms are frequently used as discount indicators:

even though

I realize that…, but

in spite of the fact that

while it may be true that