The Basic Anatomy of an Argument

Argumentsare conclusions reached by applying rules to premises.

Each underlying premise may itself be a conclusion that is supported by underlying premises.  I suppose, it would be possible to reduce each argument to a never ending series of premises turned to conclusions, but that endeavor would induce debilitating headaches.  

Every argument, decision, dispute, or declaration can be reduced to the following equation:

C = I (F/M X R/M)

In the above equation:

C = Conclusion.

I = Issue

F = Determined Facts

R = Adopted Rule

M = Methodology used to Determine the Facts or Adopt the Rule

There may be a lot of extra words that add flourish and frill to an argument, but in the end every house, from the Hut to the White House is made up of the same elements - walls, floors, doors, and roof.  The rest is ornament that may add or detract from how well you convey these premises and conclusion to your audience.

Because conclusions are the logical (one hopes) results of two or more premises, you will understand that premises make up the vast bulk of any argument.  Because a conclusion is dependent upon the premise, your best bet for articulating, defending, or attacking any argument is to fanatically focus on the disclosed facts and rules as well as force out the hidden unarticulated facts or rules that must necessarily exist to support the end-point conclusion.

Finally, Conclusions must be related to the goal you have adopted for that argument.  You want someone to believe something, do something, consider something, or merely understand something.  Make that part of your conclusion.  That should be the starting point before any argument.