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Arguments that Backfire

In D. Hitchcock & D. Farr (eds.), The Uses of Argument. OSSA. pp. 58-65 (2005)

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  1. Open-Mindedness as a Critical Virtue.Jack Kwong - 2016 - Topoi 35 (2):403-411.
    This paper proposes to examine Daniel Cohen’s recent attempt to apply virtues to argumentation theory, with special attention given to his explication of how open-mindedness can be regarded as an argumentational or critical virtue. It is argued that his analysis involves a contentious claim about open-mindedness as an epistemic virtue, which generates a tension for agents who are simultaneously both an arguer and a knower (or who strive to be both). I contend that this tension can be eased or resolved (...)
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  • Intellectual Humility, Confidence, and Argumentation.Ian Kidd - 2016 - Topoi 35 (2):395-402.
    In this paper, I explore the relationship of virtue, argumentation, and philosophical conduct by considering the role of the specific virtue of intellectual humility in the practice of philosophical argumentation. I have three aims: first, to sketch an account of this virtue; second, to argue that it can be cultivated by engaging in argumentation with others; and third, to problematize this claim by drawing upon recent data from social psychology. My claim is that philosophical argumentation can be conducive to the (...)
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  • Fallacy and Argumentational Vice.Andrew Aberdein - 2013 - In Dima Mohammed & Marcin Lewinski (eds.), Virtues of argumentation: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA), May 22–25, 2013. OSSA.
    If good argument is virtuous, then fallacies are vicious. Yet fallacies cannot just be identified with vices, since vices are dispositional properties of agents whereas fallacies are types of argument. Rather, if the normativity of good argumentation is explicable in terms of virtues, we should expect the wrongness of fallacies to be explicable in terms of vices. This approach is defended through case studies of several fallacies, with particular emphasis on the ad hominem.
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  • Argumentative Virtues as Conduits for Reason’s Causal Efficacy: Why the Practice of Giving Reasons Requires That We Practice Hearing Reasons.Daniel H. Cohen - 2019 - Topoi 38 (4):711-718.
    Psychological and neuroscientific data suggest that a great deal, perhaps even most, of our reasoning turns out to be rationalizing. The reasons we give for our positions are seldom either the real reasons or the effective causes of why we have those positions. We are not as rational as we like to think. A second, no less disheartening observation is that while we may be very effective when it comes to giving reasons, we are not that good at getting reasons. (...)
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  • Mathematics and Argumentation.Andrew Aberdein - 2008 - Foundations of Science 14 (1-2):1-8.
    Some authors have begun to appeal directly to studies of argumentation in their analyses of mathematical practice. These include researchers from an impressively diverse range of disciplines: not only philosophy of mathematics and argumentation theory, but also psychology, education, and computer science. This introduction provides some background to their work.
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  • Virtue in Argument.Andrew Aberdein - 2010 - Argumentation 24 (2):165-179.
    Virtue theories have become influential in ethics and epistemology. This paper argues for a similar approach to argumentation. Several potential obstacles to virtue theories in general, and to this new application in particular, are considered and rejected. A first attempt is made at a survey of argumentational virtues, and finally it is argued that the dialectical nature of argumentation makes it particularly suited for virtue theoretic analysis.
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  • Courageous Arguments and Deep Disagreements.Andrew Aberdein - forthcoming - Topoi:1-8.
    Deep disagreements are characteristically resistant to rational resolution. This paper explores the contribution a virtue theoretic approach to argumentation can make towards settling the practical matter of what to do when confronted with apparent deep disagreement, with particular attention to the virtue of courage.
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  • Biases and Fallacies.Vasco Correia - 2011 - Cogency: Journal of Reasoning and Argumentation 3 (1):107-126.
    This paper focuses on the effects of motivational biases on the way people reason and debate in everyday life. Unlike heuristics and cognitive biases, motivational biases are typically caused by the influence of a desire or an emotion on the cognitive processes involved in judgmental and inferential reasoning. In line with the ‘motivational’ account of irrationality, I argue that these biases are the cause of a number of fallacies that ordinary arguers commit unintentionally, particularly when the commitment to a given (...)
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  • Peer Disagreement and the Bridge Principle.Marc-Kevin Daoust - forthcoming - Topoi:1-11.
    One explanation of rational peer disagreement is that agents find themselves in an epistemically permissive situation. In fact, some authors have suggested that, while evidence could be impermissive at the intrapersonal level, it is permissive at the interpersonal level. In this paper, I challenge such a claim. I will argue that, at least in cases of rational disagreement under full disclosure, there cannot be more interpersonal epistemically permissive situations than there are intrapersonal epistemically permissive situations. In other words, with respect (...)
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  • Argumentation, Decision and Rationality.Fabio Paglieri - unknown
    From a decision theoretic perspective, arguments stem from decisions made by arguers. Despite some promising results, this approach remains underdeveloped in argumentation theories, mostly because it is assumed to be merely descriptive. This assumption is mistaken: considering arguments as the product of decisions brings into play various normative models of rational choice. The challenge is rather to reconcile strategic rationality with other normative constraints relevant for argumentation, such as inferential validity and dialectical appropriateness.
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  • Culture Sensitive Arguments.Manfred Kraus - unknown
    Arguments which in their premises or warrants touch basic norms and values of a cultural community can be defined as culture sensitive. The paper will demonstrate how insensitivity to the cultural backgrounds of audiences may spoil an argument, and identify which kinds of arguments prove particularly open to cultural sensitivity. It will define the areas on which cultural communities may differ and determine how this bears on problems of globalization and political correctness.
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  • Attacking Character: Ad Hominem Argument and Virtue Epistemology.Heather Battaly - 2010 - Informal Logic 30 (4):361-390.
    The recent literature on ad hominem argument contends that the speaker’s character is sometimes relevant to evaluating what she says. This effort to redeem ad hominems requires an analysis of character that explains why and how character is relevant. I argue that virtue epistemology supplies this analysis. Three sorts of ad hominems that attack the speaker’s intellectual character are legitimate. They attack a speaker’s: (1) possession of reliabilist vices; or (2) possession of responsibilist vices; or (3) failure to perform intellectually (...)
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  • In Defence of Virtue: The Legitimacy of Agent-Based Argument Appraisal.Andrew Aberdein - 2014 - Informal Logic 34 (1):77-93.
    Several authors have recently begun to apply virtue theory to argumentation. Critics of this programme have suggested that no such theory can avoid committing an ad hominem fallacy. This criticism is shown to trade unsuccessfully on an ambiguity in the definition of ad hominem. The ambiguity is resolved and a virtue-theoretic account of ad hominem reasoning is defended.
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  • The Ethics of Argumentation.Vasco Correia - 2012 - Informal Logic 32 (2):222-241.
    Normative theories of argumentation tend to assume that logical and dialectical rules suffice to ensure the rationality of argumentative discourse. Yet, in everyday debates people use arguments that seem valid in light of such rules but nonetheless biased and tendentious. This article seeks to show that the rationality of argumentation can only be fully promoted if we take into account its ethical dimension. To substantiate this claim, I review some of the empirical evidence indicating that people’s inferential reasoning is systematically (...)
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  • Ruinous Arguments: Escalation of Disagreement and the Dangers of Arguing.Fabio Paglieri - unknown
    People argue to reconcile differences of opinion, but reconciliation may fail to happen. In these cases, most theorists assume arguers are left with the same disagreement from which they started. This is too optimistic, since disagreement might instead escalate, and this may happen because of the argumentative practice, not in spite of it. These dangers depend on epistemological, pragmatic, and cultural factors, and show why arguers should be careful in picking their dialogical fights.
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  • Willingness to Inquire: The Cardinal Critical Thinking Virtue.Benjamin Hamby - unknown
    Critical thinking skills have associated critical thinking virtues, and the internal motivation to carefully examine an issue in an effort to reach a reasoned judgment, what I call the “willingness to inquire”, is the critical thinking virtue that stands behind all skilled and virtuous thinking that contributes to critical thinking. In this paper, I argue that the willingness to inquire is therefore a more primary critical thinking virtue than charity, open-mindedness, or valuing fallacious-free reasoning.
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  • Virtuous Norms for Visual Arguers.Andrew Aberdein - 2018 - Argumentation 32 (1):1-23.
    This paper proposes that virtue theories of argumentation and theories of visual argumentation can be of mutual assistance. An argument that adoption of a virtue approach provides a basis for rejecting the normative independence of visual argumentation is presented and its premisses analysed. This entails an independently valuable clarification of the contrasting normative presuppositions of the various virtue theories of argumentation. A range of different kinds of visual argument are examined, and it is argued that they may all be successfully (...)
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  • Argumentational Virtues and Incontinent Arguers.Iovan Drehe - 2016 - Topoi 35 (2):385-394.
    Argumentation virtue theory is a new field in argumentation studies. As in the case of virtue ethics and virtue epistemology, the study of virtue argumentation draws its inspiration from the works of Aristotle. First, I discuss the specifics of the argumentational virtues and suggest that they have an instrumental nature, modeled on the relation between the Aristotelian intellectual virtue of ‘practical wisdom’ and the moral virtues. Then, inspired by Aristotle’s discussion of akrasia, I suggest that a theory of fallacy in (...)
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  • On the Priority of Agent-Based Argumentative Norms.David Godden - 2016 - Topoi 35 (2):345-357.
    This paper argues against the priority of pure, virtue-based accounts of argumentative norms [VA]. Such accounts are agent-based and committed to the priority thesis: good arguments and arguing well are explained in terms of some prior notion of the virtuous arguer arguing virtuously. Two problems with the priority thesis are identified. First, the definitional problem: virtuous arguers arguing virtuously are neither sufficient nor necessary for good arguments. Second, the priority problem: the goodness of arguments is not explained virtuistically. Instead, being (...)
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  • Introduction: Virtues and Arguments.Andrew Aberdein & Daniel H. Cohen - 2016 - Topoi 35 (2):339-343.
    It has been a decade since the phrase virtue argumentation was introduced, and while it would be an exaggeration to say that it burst onto the scene, it would be just as much of an understatement to say that it has gone unnoticed. Trying to strike the virtuous mean between the extremes of hyperbole and litotes, then, we can fairly characterize it as a way of thinking about arguments and argumentation that has steadily attracted more and more attention from argumentation (...)
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  • The Vices of Argument.Andrew Aberdein - 2016 - Topoi 35 (2):413-422.
    What should a virtue theory of argumentation say about fallacious reasoning? If good arguments are virtuous, then fallacies are vicious. Yet fallacies cannot just be identified with vices, since vices are dispositional properties of agents whereas fallacies are types of argument. Rather, if the normativity of good argumentation is explicable in terms of virtues, we should expect the wrongness of bad argumentation to be explicable in terms of vices. This approach is defended through analysis of several fallacies, with particular emphasis (...)
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  • Are Fallacies Vices?Andrew Ball - 2016 - Topoi 35 (2):423-429.
    Why are some arguments fallacious? Since argumentation is an intellectual activity that can be performed better or worse, do we evaluate arguments simply in terms of their content, or does it also make sense to evaluate the arguer in light of the content put forward? From a ‘virtue’ approach, I propose understanding fallacies as having some link with intellectual vice. Drawing from recent work by Paul Grice, Linda Zagzebski, Andrew Aberdein, and Douglas Walton, this essay argues that if there is (...)
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