Some scientists believe that small humanoid skeletons found on an Indonesian island are the remains of human beings w...

mluna on November 20, 2019

Finding the Conclusion

I usually don't have a hard time finding conclusions, and I know most conclusion indicators. However, I was wondering what advice I could get on how to find a conclusion that doesn't have a conclusion indicator?

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SamA on November 21, 2019

Hello @mluna,

Good question! I would argue that there are always going to be indicators, even without the obvious ones such as "thus" or "therefore" or "I conclude". In this case, let's look at the context.

The first sentence gives us the beliefs of some scientists. In the second sentence, the author rejects those beliefs in favor of a better explanation. When there is a dispute like this, there is a pretty good chance you are looking at a conclusion.

Another contextual indicator is that the remainder of the passage is meant to support the author's theory. Conclusions need to be backed up with evidence, and you should be able to track the argument from premises to conclusion. One of my strategies is to frame things as questions and answers. The conclusion will leave you asking, "Why?" The evidence should answer that question, revealing the structure of the argument.

Conclusion: My theory is more likely.
Premises: Because the skeletons don't fit the pattern of known growth disorders. Also, other animals on the island have evolved into smaller versions.

The phrase "more likely" is also sometimes an indicator of a conclusion, but not always. In the absence of stronger conclusion indicators, I would take a closer look at statements of likelihood, because they might be the conclusion. This is usually only if it is a subjective statement, that someone could disagree with.