Premises are found in everything, from storytelling to critical thinking and philosophy.
A premise is a statement that is assumed to be correct and leads the reader to an inevitable conclusion. In other words, a premise reveals the evidence that is behind a conclusion.
But did you know that a premise can be used as a great personal development tool to help find your core beliefs?
In this article, we will discuss how understanding the premise definition can help you unlock the key to your personal success.
What Does Premise Mean?
The single most important relationship in your entire life is the relationship you have with yourself.—Jon Butcher, Author of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Quest
The term premise stems from medieval Latin, meaning ‘placed in front of,’ or ‘things mentioned before.’
A premise can be defined as a statement that is assumed correct and leads to a conclusion.
Premise definitions and examples
So, what is a premise example?
In philosophy, arguments contain premises that are offered to support the truth of a conclusion.
To define the premise, in this sense, helps to understand what defines an argument. In philosophical terms, an argument is a statement or set of statements containing premises in support of the conclusion.
This is much the same in nonfiction writing. Academics and writers use premises as the basis for their conclusions.
As premises and conclusions are the building blocks of any argument, so too can premises be useful in developing outlines for texts and debate preparation.
But this term can be used in different ways, too.
In fictional writing, the premise of a story is a short thesis that condenses the essence of the story’s natural structure. In a few short sentences, an author describes the main components of the story to create a premise, which often includes:
- The protagonist
- The setting or main theme of the story
- Obstacles or conflict facing the protagonist
By including the key components, a reader can draw a conclusion as to how the story unfolds, much like the premise definition in other areas.
In personal development, premise refers to your core or fundamental beliefs about aspects of your life. From health and fitness to career and finances, these beliefs control our behavior for positive or negative outcomes.
To better your life, it’s important to self-reflect and thinks about what’s important to you. You can find out more about transforming your life in Mindvalley’s Lifebook Quest.
What Is the Premise of an Argument?
In philosophy, a premise forms part of an argument. In this setting, an argument is a set of premises that lead to a logical conclusion.
For example, as a part of a categorical argument or syllogism, premises can be either major or minor propositions that draw to a conclusion.
Consider the following:
- Major premise: All of the clothes from that store are used
- Minor premise: These clothes are from that store
- Conclusion: Therefore, these clothes are used
The accuracy of the premises often determines the validity of an argument. While an argument can be valid if the conclusion follows the premises is based on falsehoods the conclusion will still be wrong.
The premise of an argument is the underlying truths that lead to a conclusion. When supported by facts, these premises are acceptable.
However, the premise of an argument can also be unacceptable. The argument can be defeated if the premises are easily refuted, known to be untrue, or are inconsistent with each other.
When developing premises, most especially your own, consider what is true. What are the truths that you accept but that others don’t? What beliefs are different and where is the common ground?
So, what does the premise mean? It all depends on the context.
A premise is like an assumption, with known truths leading to a rational conclusion.
From philosophy and critical thinking to writing and personal development, a premise definition can help set the stage for success.
Explore your own understanding of your personal premises to learn where your personal aspirations lie.