Fallacies and Argument Appraisal presents an introduction to the nature, identification, and causes of fallacious reasoning, along with key questions for evaluation. Drawing from the latest work on fallacies as well as some of the standard ideas that have remained relevant since Aristotle, Christopher Tindale investigates central cases of major fallacies in order to understand what has gone wrong and how this has occurred. Dispensing with the approach that simply assigns labels and brief descriptions of fallacies, Tindale provides fuller treatments (...) that recognize the dialectical and rhetorical contexts in which fallacies arise. This volume analyzes major fallacies through accessible, everyday examples. Critical questions are developed for each fallacy to help the student identify them and provide considered evaluations. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the structure and the defeasibility conditions of argument from analogy, addressing the issues of determining the nature of the comparison underlying the analogy and the types of inferences justifying the conclusion. In the dialectical tradition, different forms of similarity were distinguished and related to the possible inferences that can be drawn from them. The kinds of similarity can be divided into four categories, depending on whether they represent fundamental semantic features of the (...) terms of the comparison or non-semantic ones, indicating possible characteristics of the referents. Such distinct types of similarity characterize different kinds of analogical arguments, all based on a similar general structure, in which a common genus is abstracted. Depending on the nature of the abstracted common feature, different rules of inference will apply, guaranteeing the attribution of the analogical predicate to the genus and to the primary subject. This analysis of similarity and the relationship thereof with the rules of inference allows a deeper investigation of the defeasibility conditions. (shrink)
This paper discusses some of the ways recent models have brought rhetoric into argumentation theory. In particular, it explores the rationale for and role of rhetoric in the strategic maneuvering project of pragma-dialectics and compares it with the author’s own implementation of rhetorical features. A case is made for considering the active ways audiences influence the strategies of arguers and for seeing the role of rhetoric in argumentation as both fundamental and reasonable on its own terms.
In any field, we might expect different features relevant to its understanding and development to receive attention at different times, depending on the stage of that field’s growth and the interests that occupy theorists and even the history of the theorists themselves. In the relatively young life of argumentation theory, at least as it has formed a body of issues with identified research questions, attention has almost naturally been focused on the central concern of the field—arguments. Focus is also given (...) to the nature of arguers and the position of the evaluator, who is often seen as possessing a “God’s-eye view” (Hamblin 1970). Less attention, however, has been paid in the philosophical literature to the .. (shrink)
Plausible (eikotic) reasoning known from ancient Greek (late Academic) skeptical philosophy is shown to be a clear notion that can be analyzed by argumentation methods, and that is important for argumentation studies. It is shown how there is a continuous thread running from the Sophists to the skeptical philosopher Carneades, through remarks of Locke and Bentham on the subject, to recent research in artificial intelligence. Eleven characteristics of plausible reasoning are specified by analyzing key examples of it recognized as important (...) in ancient Greek skeptical philosophy using an artificial intelligence model called the Carneades Argumentation System (CAS). By applying CAS to ancient examples it is shown how plausible reasoning is especially useful for gaining a better understanding of evidential reasoning in law, and argued that it can also be applied to everyday argumentation. Our analysis of the snake and rope example of Carneades is also used to point out some ways CAS needs to be extended if it is to more fully model the views of this ancient philosopher on argumentation. (shrink)
Leading invasion biologists sometimes dismiss critics and criticisms of their field by invoking “the straw man” fallacy. Critics of invasion biology are also labelled as a small group of “naysayers” or “contrarians”, who are sometimes engaging in “science denialism”. Such unfortunate labels can be seen as a way to possibly suppress legitimate debates and dismiss or minimize reasonable concerns about some aspects of invasion biology, including the uncertainties about the geographic origins and complex environmental impacts of species, and the control (...) programs against species perceived as “invasive”. In assessing the quality of the debate in this area, we examine the validity of the use of various strategies, including the “straw man” concept, and explore a range of potential logical fallacies present in some recent prominent discussions about invasion biology and so-called “invasive” species. The goal is to add some clarity to the concepts involved, point out some problematic issues, and improve the quality of the debates as the discussions move forward. (shrink)
In 1958, Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca published Traité de l'argumentation: La nouvelle rhétorique, the culmination of many years study. A seminal work in philosophy and rhetoric, it aimed to bring classical Aristotelian rhetoric into the modern era and present a model of argumentation that promoted action and reasonableness. One distinctive feature of the dense account found in this work is the claim that the success of argumentation can in part be measured by the responses of the audience for which (...) it is intended. By that standard, the project of the new rhetoric appears unsuccessful, because the audience for whom Perelman (and Olbrechts-Tyteca) expressly wrote was the audience least captivated by .. (shrink)
This paper discusses the fundamental sense in which the components of an argument should be relevant to the intended audience. In particular, the evidence advanced should be relevant to the facts and assumptions that are manifest in the cognitive environment of the audience. A version of Sperber and Wilson's concept of the cognitive environment is applied to argumentative concerns, and from this certain features of audience-relevance are explored: that the relevance of a premise can vary with the audience; that irrelevant (...) premises can be made relevant; that evidence can be relevant by degrees; and that this notion of relevance will assist the argumentation analyst in the identification and assessment of hidden premises. (shrink)
Ralph Johnson's Manifest Rationality (2000) is a major contribution to the field of informal logic, but the concept of argument that is central to its project suffers from a tension between the components that comprise it. This paper explores and addresses that tension by examining the implications of each of five aspects of the definition of ‘argument’.
The paper critically investigates the pragma-dialectics of van Eemeren and Grootendorst, particularly the treatment of fallacies. While the pragma-dialectieians claim that dialectics combines the logical and rhetorical approaches to argumentation, it is argued here that the perspective relies heavily on rhetorical features that have been suppressed in the account and that overlooking these features leads to significant problems in the pragma-dialectical perspective. In light of these problems, the author advocates turning attention to a rhetorical account which subsumes the logical and (...) dialectical. (shrink)
This paper discusses the ways in which a person’s character ( ethos ) and a hearer’s emotional response ( pathos ) are part of the complex judgments made about experts’ claims, along with an actual assessment of those claims ( logos ). The analysis is rooted in the work of Aristotle, but expands to consider work on emotion and cognition conducted by Thagard and Gigerenzer. It also draws on some conclusions of the general epistemology of testimony (of which expert testimony (...) is a special subset), where it is argued that we learn not just from the transmission of another’s beliefs, but from the words they speak. This shifts the onus in testimony away from the intentions of a speaker onto the judgments of an audience, capturing better its social character and reflecting our experience of receiving testimony. I conclude, however, that accepting the arguments of experts involves much more than simply believing what they say. (shrink)
The paper examines Walton‘s concept of fallacy as it develops throughthree stages of his work: from the early series of papers co-authored withJohn Woods; through a second phase of involvement with thepragma-dialectical perspective; and on to the final phase in which heoffers a distinct pragmatic theory that reaches beyond the perceived limitsof the pragma-dialectical account while still exhibiting a debt to thatperspective and the early investigations with Woods. It is observed how Walton‘s model of fallacy is established in distinction to (...) its competitors,and its various problems and successes are discussed. (shrink)
The paper investigates the `logical space of reasons' as a social space in which rational agents operate and persons in an important sense come to be. Building from an investigation of argumentative agents in Aristotle's Rhetoric, I discuss both interior and exterior criteria for personhood and propose that the latter shows how argumentation, as a principal activity of the space of reasons, results in the particular kinds of persons we recognize there as rational agents. The overall analysis is indebted to (...) Robert Brandom's centralizing of the practice of giving and receiving reasons and the suggestive ways this can be applied to the realm of argumentation. (shrink)
Events over the last decade have returned the issue of interrogational torture to one of immediate and urgent concern, as governments attempt to circumvent the constraints of the UN Convention against Torture. Philosophers still favor variants of the ‘ticking bomb’ scenario and view with suspicion, if not incomprehension, any absolutist prohibition of torture. In this paper, I reiterate and develop an absolutist position against interrogational torture, arguing that ‘ticking bomb’ scenarios are ill-considered and offer not what they purport to offer. (...) I further make the case that assumptions behind the pro-torture position, particularly based on positive consequences of interrogational torture, are by no means as clear as apparently imagined, and that such practices challenge the very foundations of our moral lives in their attacks on notions of agency and responsibility. In any such extreme choice like the ones that torture presents, we must weigh what we might gain against what we might lose, and we always lose too much. (shrink)
Built in the centre of Copenhagen, and noted for its equestrian stairway, the Rundetaarn (Round Tower), was intended as an astronomical observatory. Part of a complex of buildings that once included a university library, it affords expansive views of the city in every direction, towering above what surrounds it. The metaphor of the towering figure, who sees what others might not, whose vantage point allows him to visualize how things fit together, and who has an earned-stature of respect and authority, (...) fits another Danish stalwart, Hans Vilhelm Hansen, whose contributions to the fields of informal logic and argument theory have earned the gratitude of his colleagues, and inspired this collection of essays, written to express the appreciation of its authors and of the many, many colleagues they represent. (shrink)
Perelman’s discussion about the distinction and relation between the rational and the reason-able could be seen as an attempt to bring forward a new understanding of rationality. In light of the concep-tion of situated reason, this paper argues that Perelman’s explication of the dialectic of the rational and the reasonable highlights the balance of universality and contexuality, and could contribute a fuller conception of rationality to establishing a solid philosophical foundation for Johnson’s informal logic.
When considering the interactions between rhetoric and argumentation, readers of this journal will no doubt be reminded of the seminal work of Henry W. Johnstone Jr. (1959; 1978) who gathered both concerns together in ways that were designed to engage philosophers and persuade them of the intellectual seriousness of both enterprises. He was, of course, a principal force among those who brought Chaïm Perelman’s work to the attention of audiences in North America, and he himself entered into deep and fruitful (...) dialogues with Perelman by way of reviewing the value that rhetoric brought to argumentation and logic, as well as to philosophy generally. His interest in philosophical argumentation prompted an early .. (shrink)