My main concern in this paper is with Trudy Govier’s acceptability criterion for the adequacy of the premises of an argument considered independently of whether they are “properly connected” to the conclusion. I consider arguments she makes against the view that a good argument must have true premises, and I con-tend that a theory of argument could hold both that for an argument to be a good argument its premises must be true and that for it to be a (...) good argument relative to its audience, the audience must be epistemically justified in accepting its premises as true. (shrink)
I examine a Canadian Supreme Court decision concerning the constitutionality of Canada's 1982 rape-shield legislation, and suggest how material from the decision might profitably be used in an informal-logic class in connection with the topics of relevance and conductive argument. I also consider theoretical matters related to the decision: first I develop two analyses of what I call an argument from 'unchasteness' and connect them to George Bowles's theory of propositional relevance; then I present Trudy Govier with a problem (...) in response to which she might revise her account of a conductive argument in a way I describe. (shrink)
Douglas Walton has done extensive and valuable work on the concepts of presumption and practical reasoning. However, Walton’s attempt to model practical reasoning as presumptive is misguided. The notions of “inference” and of the burden of proof shifting back and forth between proponent and respondent are misleading and lead to counterintuitive consequences. Because the issue in practical reasoning is a proposal, not a proposition, there are, in the standard case, several perfectly good reasons on both sides simultaneously, which implies that (...) argument appraisal necessarily contains a subjective element—a fact argumentation theory needs to conceptualize. (shrink)
Did the world change on September 11, 2001? For those who live outside of New York or Washington, life's familiar pace persists and families and jobs resume their routines. Yet everything seems different because of the dramatic disturbance in our sense of what our world means and how we exist within it. In A Delicate Balance , philosopher Trudy Govier writes that it is because our feelings and attitudes have altered so fundamentally that our world has changed. Govier believes (...) that there are ethical challenges we cannot ignore. From Plato and Aristotle on courage to Kant on revenge, to 20th Century philosopher John Rawls’s views on justice, Govier mines the world of philosophy to reflect on terrorism. Govier argues that moral complexities such as victimhood, evil, power and revenge, if properly understood, can provide a basis for hope– not despair. Govier walks the reader through this shift, challenging us to construct a new sense of the world and our place within it. (shrink)
Self-trust is a necessary condition of personal autonomy and self-respect. Self-trust involves a positive sense of the motivations and competence of the trusted person; a willingness to depend on him or her; and an acceptance of vulnerability. It does not preclude trust in others. A person may be rightly said to have too much self-trust; however core self-trust is essential for functioning as an autonomous human being.
In this paper, I propose that the inquiry known as a/the theory of argument is the “invention” of Trudy Govier, using that term in its rhetorical sense, viz., the process of choosing ideas appropriate to the subject. In her (1987) paper, “Is a Theory of Argument Possible?” Govier used the idea of theory of argument to focus her discussion on problems in argument analysis and evaluation that came to light in the 1970s and 1980s. The idea of a theory (...) of argument was already there but Govier “discovered” it in the sense that she made its potential clear. (shrink)
The concept of citizenship is becoming more and more prominent in specific fields, such as psychiatry/mental health, where it is constituted as a solution to the issues of exclusion, discrimination, and poverty often endured by the mentally ill. We argue that such discourse of citizenship represents a break in the history of psychiatry and constitutes a powerful strategy to counter the effects of equally powerful psychiatric labelling. However, we call into question the emancipatory promise of a citizenship agenda. Foucault's concept (...) of governmentality is helpful in understanding the production of the citizen subject, its location within the 'art of government', as well as the ethical and political implications of citizenship in the context of mental health. (shrink)