Is argumentation essentially adversarial? The concept of a devil's advocate—a cooperative arguer who assumes the role of an opponent for the sake of the argument—serves as a lens to bring into clearer focus the ways that adversarial arguers can be virtuous and adversariality itself can contribute to argumentation's goals. It also shows the different ways arguments can be adversarial and the different ways that argumentation can be said to be "essentially" adversarial.
Virtue argumentation theory provides the best framework for accommodating the notion of an argument that is “fully satisfying” in a robust and integrated sense. The process of explicating the notion of fully satisfying arguments requires expanding the concept of arguers to include all of an argument’s participants, including judges, juries, and interested spectators. And that, in turn, requires expanding the concept of an argument itself to include its entire context.
The claim that argumentation has no proper role in either philosophy or education, and especially not in philosophical education, flies in the face of both conventional wisdom and traditional pedagogy. There is, however, something to be said for it because it is really only provocative against a certain philosophical backdrop. Our understanding of the concept "argument" is both reflected by and molded by the specific metaphor that argument-is-war, something with winners and losers, offensive and defensive moments, and an essentially adversarial (...) structure. Such arguments may be suitable for teaching a philosophy, but not for teaching philosophy. Surely, education and philosophy do not need to be conceived as having an adversarial essence-if indeed they are thought to have any essence at all. Accordingly, philosophy and education need more pragmatic goals than even Pierce's idealized notion of truth as the end of inquiry, e.g., the simple furtherance of inquiry. For this, new metaphors for framing and understanding the concept of argumentation are needed, and some suggestions in that direction will be considered. (shrink)
One result of successful argumentation – able arguers presenting cogent arguments to competent audiences – is a transfer of credibility from premises to conclusions. From a purely logical perspective, neither dubious premises nor fallacious inference should lower the credibility of the target conclusion. Nevertheless, some arguments do backfire this way. Dialectical and rhetorical considerations come into play. Three inter-related conclusions emerge from a catalogue of hapless arguers and backfiring arguments. First, there are advantages to paying attention to arguers and their (...) contexts, rather than focusing narrowly on their arguments, in order to understand what can go wrong in argumentation. Traditional fallacy identification, with its exclusive attention to faulty inferences, is inadequate to explain the full range of argumentative failures. Second, the notion of an Ideal Arguer can be defined by contrast with her less than ideal peers to serve as a useful tool in argument evaluation. And third, not all of the ways that arguers raise doubts about their conclusions are pathological. On the contrary, some ways that doubts are raised concerning our intended conclusions are an integral part of ideal argumentative practice. (shrink)
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 (...) theorists. We hope it is neither too late for an introduction to the field nor too soon for some retrospective assessment of where things stand. (shrink)
Technology has made argumentation rampant. We can argue whenever we want. With social media venues for every interest, we can also argue about whatever we want. To some extent, we can select our opponents and audiences to argue with whomever we want. And we can argue however we want, whether in carefully reasoned, article-length expositions, real-time exchanges, or 140-character polemics. The concepts of arguing, arguing well, and even being an arguer have evolved with this new multiplicity and diversity; theory needs (...) to catch up to the new reality. Successful strategies for traditional contexts may be counterproductive in new ones; classical argumentative virtues may be liabilities in new situations. There are new complications to the theorist’s standard questions—What is an argument? and Who is an arguer?—while new ones move into the spotlight—Should we argue at all? and If so, why? Agent-based virtue argumentation theory provides a unifying framework for this radical plurality by coordinated redefinitions of the concepts of good arguers and good arguments. It remains true that good arguers contribute to good arguments, and good arguments satisfy good arguers, but the new diversity strains the old unity. Ironically, a unifying factor is provided by examining those paragons of bad arguers, argument trolls whose contributions to arguments are not very good, not really contributions, and, ultimately, not genuine argumentation. (shrink)
Virtue epistemology was modeled on virtue ethics theories to transfer their ethical insights to epistemology. VE has had great success: broadening our perspective, providing new answers to traditional questions, and raising exciting new questions. I offer a new argument for VE based on the concept of cognitive achievements, a broader notion than purely epistemic achievements. The argument is then extended to cognitive transformations, especially the cognitive transformations brought about by argumentation.
This paper explores the outlines of a framework for evaluating arguments. Among the factors to take into account are the strength of the arguers' inferences, the level of their engagement with objections raised by other interlocutors, and their effectiveness in rationally persuading their target audiences. Some connections among these can be understood only in the context of meta-argumentation and meta-rationality. The Principle of Meta-Rationality (PMR)--that reasoning rationally includes reasoning about rationality-is used to explain why it can be rational to resist (...) dialectically satisfying arguments or accept logically flawed ones. (shrink)
This presentation seeks to understand informal logic as a set of methods for the logical evaluation of natural language arguments. Some of the methods identified are the fallacies method, deductivism, warrantism and argument schemes. A framework for comparing the adequacy of the methods is outlined consisting of the following categories: learner- and user-efficiency, subjective and objective reliability, and scope. Within this framework, it is also possible to compare informal and formal logic.
While deductive validity provides the limiting upper bound for evaluating the strength and quality of inferences, by itself it is an inadequate tool for evaluating arguments, arguing, and argumentation. Similar remarks can be made about rhetorical success and dialectical closure. Then what would count as ideal argumentation? In this paper we introduce the concept of cognitive compathy to point in the direction of one way to answer that question. It is a feature of our argumentation rather than my argument or (...) your argument. In that respect, compathy is like the harmonies achieved by an accomplished choir, the spontaneous coordination of athletic teamwork, or the experience of improvising jazz musicians when they are all in the flow together. It is a characteristic of arguments, not a virtue that can be attributed to individual arguers. It makes argumentation more than just the sum of its individual parts. The concept of cognitive compathy is brought into focus by locating it at the confluence of two lines of thought. First, we work up to the concept of compathy by contrasting it with empathy and sympathy in the context of emotions, which is then transplanted into epistemic, cognitive, and argumentative soil. Second, the concept is analytically linked to ideal argumentation by way of authenticity in communication. In the final section, we explore the extent to which argumentative virtues are conducive to producing compathetic argumentation, but reach the unhappy conclusion that the extra value of compathetic argumentation also transcends the evaluative reach of virtue argumentation theory. (shrink)
For all its problems, there is still much to be gleaned from the argument-is-war paradigm. Much of the conceptual vocabulary that we use to talk about wars is commonly applied to arguments. Other concepts in the war-cluster can also be readily adapted to arguments. Some parts, of course, do not seem to apply so easily, if at all. Of most interest here are those war-concepts that have not been deployed in thinking about arguments but really should be because of the (...) light they can shed on argumentation. In particular, the concepts, principles, and lessons from Just War theory provide a valuable lens for looking at arguments. We can theorize about Just and Unjust Arguments. Ultimately, however, the analogy between arguments and wars breaks down. There is a strong presumption against wars. There can be no such generic presumption against arguments. The argument against argument is always context-specific. Thus, wars need to be justified in ways that arguments do not. Conversely, sometimes it can be the failure to argue that needs to be justified, again, in ways that a failure to go to war would not. Even so, self-defense justifications, the special justifications for pre-emptive attacks, and the possible need for humanitarian interventions can all be appropriately imported into the discourse of argumentation. (shrink)
According to the semantics in Wittgenstein's Tractatus, a picture and what is pictured must have the same logical form. However necessary that may be, it cannot suffice to make one fact a picture of another. The grounds for the pictorial relation, it is argued, must be found in the transcendental will. Following a suggestion by Ramsey, the semantic resources of the Tractatus are used to construct a new interpretation of propositions as equivalence classes of facts. The nature of the involvement (...) of the will helps explain why ethics and logic are alike ineffable. (shrink)
Steven m cahn, In the june 1987 issue of "analysis", Asks how a principled divesture of stocks is possible. Selling stock requires a buyer, So no net reduction of objectionable economic behavior results. Is divestiture merely self-Righteous cleansing of one's own hands? not necessarily. It is argued that divesture as a means to influence corporate behavior, And not just as a means to a clean portfolio, Can be justified.
There is more to mathematics than proofs; there are also arguments, which means that mathematicians are human arguers complete with their biases. Among those biases is a preference for beauty, It is a bias insofar as it is a deaprture from objectivity, but it is benign, accounting for the popularity of Cantor's "Paradise" of non-denumerable infinities as a travel destination for mathematicians and the relatively little interest in Robinson's infinitesimals.
Although Michael Yong-Set's proposal to approach argumentation theory from a ludological perspective is not yet sufficiently developed to warrant adopting it, there is enough to warrant exploring it further – which is all the reception it needs at this point.
With the possible exception of completely formal exercises in logic, philosophy is thoroughly metaphorical and largely conditional. Moreover, the purposes served by metaphors and conditionals in it are similar. Metaphors ask us to imagine the world in a new way, while conditionals may ask to imagine a new world. Yet some conditionals and metaphors are incompatible. There are limits to how metaphors can occur in conditionals, and how conditionals can themselves be metaphors. Specifically, only certain kinds of metaphors can be (...) accommodated in the antecedents of conditionals, and even then only within a restricted class of conditionals. This paper focuses on the linguistic tension between metaphors and conditionals. I argue that this echoes a tension at the heart of philosophy between two modes of philosophizing: a speculative-revisionary mode that is metaphorical and an analytic-explanatory mode that is conditional. The tasks are generally complementary so that the difference can be ignored with impunity. However, if we do not respect that difference, we may find ourselves analyzing metaphors and seeing logical analyses as metaphorical, and thus missing the point on both fronts. (shrink)
A complex network of reciprocal relations connect arguments and stories. Arguments can occur in stories and stories can be parts of arguments. Further, stories can themselves be arguments. Whether a text or exchange serves as an argument partly depe nds on how we read it, i.e., on the story we tell about it and how well we argue for that story, but the circle is not as vicious as it appears. Or at least, that is the story we present and (...) the argument we tell in this dialogue revisiting the ancient ar gument between the poets and the philosophers. (shrink)
Paul Boghossian’s recent book, Fear of Knowledge offers an extended argument against some forms of contemporary anti-realism and, by implication, an argument for realism. The intended audience is philosophers with metaphysical and epistemological interests, argumentation theorists might be most engaged by it because while the book is flawed as an argument, it makes a positive contribution when read as a discourse about argument. The main flaw is the uncharitable readings of Kuhn, Rorty, and Later Wittgenstein that can drive even wannabe (...) realists to their defense. The great contribution is delving deeply into the foundations of reason and rationality without getting caught in circularity, paradox, or regress. (shrink)
It is a virtue of virtue theory approaches to argumentation that they integrate many of the different factors that make arguments good arguments. The insights of virtue argumentation are brought to bear on a variety of versions of the requirement that good arguments must have good premises, concluding that a sincerity condition serves better than truth or assertability conditions, despite apparently counterintuitive consequences for arguments involving heterogeneous coalitions.