This paper provides methodological tools and considers the reasons why it is difficult to address the controversial question, “Are fallacies frequent?” After preliminary remarks on the need to clarify the meaning of both ‘fallacy’ and ‘frequency,’ this paper shows that the emphasis on whether fallacies occur frequently is recent and bound to contemporary definitions that make it a necessary condition. Then, it discusses three different, debated empirical approaches that are intended to support the claim that fallacies are frequent. All of (...) them raise doubts or objections or are even controversial from a methodological point of view. Ultimately, more empirical research is needed to answer this question. (shrink)
In making analogical arguments about actions, is more similarity between the source and target cases always better? No: all things considered, more similarity is not always better, even if the similarities are all relevant. The reason is that the context of the argument, including emotional considerations, modulates the selection of the source case to service the goals of the argument. If the goals of the argument include persuasion and even modifying someone’s emotional state, increasing the overall similarity between the source (...) and target may be counterproductive. (shrink)
Our goal is to analyze the distinction between factual statements and opinions from a philosophical—specifically an epistemological—perspective. Section 1 reviews the most common criteria for drawing the distinction, which while inadequate, as explained in Section 2, still plays an important cultural and political role. In Section 3, we argue that the difference between factual statements and opinions does not involve a single criterion. Instead, the conceptual structure of the terms ‘fact’ and ‘opinion’ is analogous to that of natural kinds—terms with (...) multiple dimensions. We expect that improved theory will lead to improvements in pedagogy, decision-making, and public discourse. But these consequences are not our chief focus. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to challenge the idea that Toulmin’s main focus in The Uses of Argument is to critique formal deductive logic. I first try to challenge the argument that, on the basis of what Toulmin says about analytic arguments, it is impossible to determine exactly what they are. I will then attempt to determine the basic contours of analytic arguments. Finally, I will conclude that the concept of an analytic argument involves epistemological assumptions to which formal (...) logicians are in no way committed by the nature of their discipline. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between intellectual virtues and critical thinking, both as such and as educational ends worth pursuing. The first half of the paper examines the intersection of intellectual virtue and critical thinking. The second half addresses a recent argument to the effect that educating for intellectual virtues (in contrast to educating for critical thinking) is insufficiently action-guiding and therefore lacks a suitable pedagogy.
Disagreement has garnered attention in a variety of academic disciplines, but its counterpart agreement is deserving of much more attention than it has received. This paper begins by reviewing some of the existing literature directly discussing agreement. Inspired by these conversations, I then provide a typology of basic types of agreement followed by a more general discussion of its nature. The aim of the paper is to provide conceptual clarifications and a framework for discussing and analyzing agreement wherever it may (...) be found. (shrink)
This work is a revision of the False Dilemma Fallacy (FDF). The formalized model (FM)of this fallacy has as its centerpiece a valid disjunctive syllogism, but the disjunctive premise is presumed to be false, thus making the argument unsound. Our revised model (FM2.0) focuses on the formal structure by comparing the given vs. the real argument, which is unsound because of its invalidity. This approach we believe is more pedagogically useful and a better explanation of the fallacious nature of the (...) FDF. It extends the identity of “formal fallacy” to the FDF. The abstract is formatted in two columns. The English abstract goes on this side. (shrink)
How is intellectual virtue related to critical thinking? Can one be a critical thinker without exercising intellectual virtue? Can one be intellectually virtuous without thereby being a critical thinker? How should our answers to these questions inform the instruction of critical thinking? These were the questions informing the 2023 Charles McCracken endowed lectureships given at Michigan State University by Professors Harvey Siegel and Jason Baehr. This brief commentary introduces their respective papers, which appear in the current issue of Informal Logic.
I argue that different argumentative practices require participants to categorize themselves in different modes. Accordingly, I distinguish four types of argumentation: rational argumentation, intergroup argumentation, intragroup argumentation, and, finally, personal argumentation. An inescapable implication of my approach to deliberation is that deliberation presupposes the self-categorization of participants in the same ingroup. Deliberation does not require, however, the group to antecede the deliberation process, and a distinctive feature of successful public deliberation is its capacity to produce social identification with the deliberative (...) group. Thus, identity negotiation is an important part of deliberative processes. (shrink)
The rhetorical function of whataboutism is to redirect attention from the specific case at hand. Although commonly used as a rhetorical move, whataboutisms can appear in arguments. These tend to be weak arguments and are often instances of the tu quoque fallacy or other fallacies of relevance. In what follows, I show that arguments involving a whataboutist move can take a wide variety of forms, and in some cases, they can occur in good arguments. I end by considering how whataboutist (...) arguing in social justice contexts can be harmful to arguers and to the audiences for their arguments. (shrink)
Many have argued that it is impossible to determine criteria to identify good arguments. In this contribution, we argue that it is at least possible to identify features of objectively bad arguments. Going beyond Blair and Johnson’s ARS criteria, which state that reasons must be acceptable, relevant, and sufficient, we develop a list of eight criteria with instructions for how to apply them to assess arguments. We conclude by presenting data from two empirical studies that show how frequently students violate (...) these criteria in lab conditions and “in the wild.”. (shrink)
Simple explanations are very often inadequate and can encourage faulty inferences. We examined college students’ explanations regarding illegal immigration to determine the prevalence of single-factor explanations. The form of students’ explanations was predicted by their responses on a simple three-item forced-choice multivariable causal reasoning task in which they selected the strongest evidence against a causal claim. In a further qualitative investigation of explanations by a sample of community adults, we identified positive features among those who scored high on this multivariable (...) causal reasoning task. We consider limitations of single-factor reasoning and means of encouraging more comprehensive explanations to support claims. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to highlight an interdependence between procedural and agential norms that undermines their neat separation when appraising argumentation. Drawing on the munāẓara tradition, we carve a space for sequencing in argumentation scholarship. Focusing on the antagonist’s sequencing of critical moves, we identify each sequence’s corresponding values of argumentation: coalescence, reliability, and efficacy. These values arise through the mediation of virtues and simultaneously underpin procedural as well as agential norms. Consequently, an ambiguity between procedure and agent (...) becomes apparent. This ambiguity hints at the potential for a virtue theory of argumentation that draws on procedural norms. (shrink)