What is a Premise (with Examples)

A premise is the result of a reasoning that can be true or false and that allows to determine a conclusion. However, by use of the term, it is also used as a synonym for objective or moral principle, “Our premise is to win the soccer championship”, “Teachers educate based on the premise of social values”.

It is also a signal to infer something based on the information or arguments that are possessed. The premise and the conclusion form an argument.

Premise is a word that originates from the Latin praemissus, which means “send ahead”. Some synonyms of premise are: background, idea, hypothesis.

premise in logic

In studies of logic, the premises are the propositions or reasoning processes that support the arguments to develop a conclusion.

If the argument is true, the proposition can lead to a correct conclusion. However, propositions can be true or false, they can affirm or deny something, but they are still premises.

Example 1:

Premise 1: Children like to eat chocolate-flavored ice cream.

Premise 2: Juan is a boy.

Conclusion: Juan likes to eat chocolate flavored ice cream.

In this example, if children like chocolate flavored ice cream and Juan is a boy, it is logical that the conclusion is that Juan likes to eat chocolate ice cream.

But the conclusion can be wrong because the premise is wrong. Although Juan is a boy, he may not like chocolate ice cream, but rather vanilla. That is, the first premise is not entirely true and therefore the conclusion is not correct.

You may be interested:  7 Characteristics of Philosophy

Example 2:

Premise 1: Ana usually goes to the park on Sundays.

Premise 2: today Ana went to the park.

Conclusion: today Ana went to the park because it is Sunday.

On the other hand, the premises may be true and the conclusion may be wrong. In this example, the first premise is not unconditional, so it could be that Ana goes to the park any other day of the week without necessarily being a Sunday.

Example 3:

Premise 1: All birds have feathers and a beak.

Premise 2: Chickens have feathers and a beak.

Conclusion: Chickens are birds.

In this example premises one and two are true, for this reason the conclusion is correct. Chickens, like all other birds, have feathers and a beak.

See also the meaning of Argument.

premise in philosophy

The study of the premises goes back to the contributions made by Aristotle in ancient Greece, in which he establishes the correct way in which two premises can generate a conclusion, that is, a syllogism.

The syllogism is deductive reasoning or argument from which a conclusion is drawn from two judgments called premises. The two premises that form a syllogism are called the major premise (which contains the predicate of the conclusion) and the minor premise (which contains the subject of the conclusion).

Major premise: invertebrate animals do not have a backbone.

Minor premise: octopuses do not have backbones.

Conclusion: octopuses are invertebrate animals.

In this example, the conclusion is obtained from the reasoning of the premises that go from the general to the particular. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that octopuses, having no backbone, are invertebrates.

implicit premise

The implicit premises are those that are not mentioned or explained, but are taken for granted and can be deduced according to the arguments that are had.

Implicit premises: All children like to play. Pedro plays every day.

Conclusion: Pedro is a boy.

The arguments given in the example lead to the conclusion that Peter is a boy and therefore likes to play.

You may be interested:  Presocratic Philosophy

See also:

  • Syllogism.
  • Types of arguments.