Develops a logical analysis of dialogue in which two or more parties attempt to advance their own interests. It includes a classification of the major types of dialogues and a discussion of several important informal fallacies.
This is an introductory guide to the basic principles of constructing good arguments and criticizing bad ones. It is nontechnical in its approach, and is based on 150 key examples, each discussed and evaluated in clear, illustrative detail. The author explains how errors, fallacies, and other key failures of argument occur. He shows how correct uses of argument are based on sound argument strategies for reasoned persuasion and critical questions for responding. Among the many subjects covered are: techniques of posing, (...) replying to, and criticizing questions, forms of valid argument, relevance, appeals to emotion, personal attack, uses and abuses of expert opinion, problems in deploying statistics, loaded terms, equivocation, and arguments from analogy. (shrink)
A new pragmatic approach, based on the latest developments in argumentation theory, analyzing appeal to expert opinion as a form of argument. Reliance on authority has always been a common recourse in argumentation, perhaps never more so than today in our highly technological society when knowledge has become so specialized—as manifested, for instance, in the frequent appearance of "expert witnesses" in courtrooms. When is an appeal to the opinion of an expert a reasonable type of argument to make, and when (...) does it become a fallacy? This book provides a method for the evaluation of these appeals in everyday argumentation. Specialized domains of knowledge such as science, medicine, law, and government policy have gradually taken over as the basis on which many of our rational decisions are made daily. Consequently, appeal to expert opinion in these areas has become a powerful type of argument. Challenging an argument based on expert scientific opinion, for example, has become as difficult as it once was to question religious authority. Walton stresses that even in cases where expert opinion is divided, the effect of it can still be so powerful that it overwhelms an individual's ability to make a decision based on personal deliberation of what is right or wrong in a given situation. The book identifies the requirements that make an appeal to expert opinion a reasonable or unreasonable argument. Walton's new pragmatic approach analyzes that appeal as a distinctive form of argument, with an accompanying set of appropriate critical questions matching the form. Throughout the book, a historical survey of the key developments in the evolution of the argument from authority, dating from the time of the ancients, is given, and new light is shed on current problems of "junk science" and battles between experts in legal argumentation. (shrink)
This is an introductory guidebook to the basic principles of how to construct good arguments and how to criticeze bad ones. It is non-technical in its approach and is based on 150 key examples, each discussed and evaluated in clear, illustrative detail. Professor Walton, a leading authority in the field of informal logic, explains how errors, fallacies, and other key failures of argument occur. He shows how correct uses of argument are based on sound strategies for reasoned persuasion and critical (...) responses. Among the many subjects covered are: forms of valid argument, relevance, appeals to emotion, personal attack, uses and abuses of expert opinion, problems in deploying statistics, loading terms, equivocation, arguments from analogy, and techniques of posing, replying to, and criticizing questions. The book will be ideally suited to courses in informal logic and in the introduction to philosophy. It will also prove valuable to studetns of pragmatics, rhetoric, and speech communication. (shrink)
This book offers a new theory of begging the question as an informal fallacy, within a pragmatic framework of reasoned dialogue as a normative theory of critical argumentation. The fallacy of begging the question is analyzed as a systematic tactic to evade fulfillment of a legitimate burden of proof by the proponent of an argument. The technique uses a circular structure of argument to block the further progress of dialogue and, in particular, the capability of the respondent to ask legitimate (...) critical questions in reply to the argument. Walton analyzes the concept of burden of proof in argument, and provides chapters on the use of argument diagramming as a technique of argument reconstruction. This powerful method of argument analysis developed therein is then applied to more than 100 case studies of circular argumentation where the charge of begging the question is or has been thought to be an appropriate criticism. Throughout this work, Walton throws light on the relationship between the problem of circular reasoning and broader issues in the critical analysis of argumentation. Ground-breaking use is made of the pragmatic theory of argument as interactive dialogue. Rules for several kinds of dialogue framework provide standards of good reasoning to validate or to refute the criticism that a particular argument begs the question. This book is directed to students and professionals in the fields of speech communication, philosophy, linguistics, logic, dispute mediation, and education. (shrink)
Douglas N. Walton considers the question of whether the conventions of informal conversation can be articulated more precisely than they are at present. Specifically, he addresses the problem of the fallacy of ad hominem argumentation as it occurs in natural settings. Can rules be formulated to determine if criticisms of apparent hypocrisy in an argument are defensible or refutable? Walton suggests that they can, and ultimately defends the thesis that ad hominem reasoning is not fallacious per se. He carries his (...) analysis to the core of action--theoretic reasoning--by examining a number of specimen arguments. As suggested by the title, the conclusion of ad hominem argument is demonstrated to be relative to the arguer's position. In the appendixes of the book, articles by Gerald McAuliffe and Gordon R. Lowe illustrate vivid and powerful cases in which Walton's contentions are put to the test. (shrink)
Walton's book is a study of several fallacies in informal logic. Focusing on question-answer dialogues, and committed to a pragmatic rather than a semantic approach, he attempts to generate criteria for evaluating good and bad questions and answers. The book contains a discussion of such well-recognized fallacies as many questions, black-or-white questions, loaded questions, circular arguments, question-begging assertions and epithets, ad hominem and tu quoque arguments, ignoratio elenchi, and replying to a question with a question. In addition, Walton develops several (...) artificial dialogue games and has an excellent discussion of burden of proof in nonlegal contexts. The discussion is for the most part nontechnical and does not presuppose any training in formal logic. It is illustrated with many (sometimes overlong) examples of fallacies drawn from real life--mostly debates in the Canadian House of Commons. . . . Walton's book breaks new ground on a number of issues. Choice This first full-length study of logical fallacies, errors, faults, illicit attacks, blunders, and other critical deficiencies in interrogation and reply has been written in the tradition of informal fallacies in logic. It is especially valuable, readable, and interesting because of the 139 case studies it presents, many of these case studies come from political debates and some from interviews, legal cross-examinations, and other sources. Walton uses these challenging examples of tricky, aggressive, argumentative, or fallacious questions to develop coherent and pragmatic guidelines for criticizing questionable questions (and in some cases their replies) on logical grounds. Among the types of problematic questions analyzed are: the traditional so-called fallacy of many questions, illustrated by the famous Have you stopped beating your wife?; black and white questions; terminologically loaded questions; and questions containing personal attacks. These and other types of problematic questions as well as evasive replies and replying to a question with a question are studied. Critical errors of reasoning are identified and analyzed by developing context-based, normative models of reasonable dialogue in which a questioner must have freedom to ask informative and probing questions, and the respondent must be constrained to give reasonably direct, not overly evasive answers. In this era of negative and evasive political campaigning, with candidates employing skillful tactics of manipulating public opinion to assure election rather than taking clear stands and seriously debating issues in an informed and sincere manner, Question-Reply Argumentation is especially relevant reading for those who take democracy seriously. The methods used reflect a significant shift from earlier semantically based theories to current pragmatic, dialogue-based models, and will be of interest to logicians and linguists. The volume's conclusions should challenge some current preconceptions. Recommended reading for courses in logic, speech communications, linguistics, philosophy of language, areas of political science relating to political discourse and debate, courses on questioning in cognitive psychology, and courses on critical thinking in education. (shrink)