The question, “What norms are appropriate for the evaluation of the probative merits of visual arguments?” underlies the investigation of this paper. The notions of argument and of multimodal visual argument employed in the study are explained. Then four multimodal visual arguments are analyzed and their probative merits assessed. It turns out to be possible to judge these qualities using the same criteria that apply to verbally expressed arguments. Since the sample is small and not claimed to be representative, this (...) finding can at best be regarded as suggestive for the probative assessment of multimodal visual arguments in general. (shrink)
Do not define argument by its use to persuade. for other uses of arguments exist. An argument is a proposition and a reason for it. and argumentation is an interchange involving two or more parties resulting in the assertion of one or more arguments coupled with anticipated or actual critical responses. A logically good argument has grounds adeq uate for the purposes at hand (true, probable, plausible, acceptable to the audience) and the grounds provide adequate support for the conclusion. The (...) norms for good logic in arguments are different from the norms for the good use of arguments. (shrink)
The paper's thesis is that dialogue is not an adequate model for all types of argument. The position of Walton is taken as the contrary view. The paper provides a set of descriptions of dialogues in which arguments feature in the order of the increasing complexity of the argument presentation at each turn of the dialogue, and argues that when arguments of great complexity are traded, the exchanges between arguers are turns of a dialogue only in an extended or metaphorical (...) sense. It argues that many of the properties of engaged back-and-forth exchanges of paradigmatic argument dialogues are not found in âsoloâ arguments, and that at least some of the norms appropriate to the former type of argument, such as some of the pragma-dialectical rules of van Eemeren and Grootendorst's model, do not apply to the latter. (shrink)
In this paper, we will consider the neuro-cognitive systems involved in mediating morality. Five main claims will be made. First, that there are multiple, partially separable neuro-cognitive architectures that mediate specific aspects of morality: social convention, care-based morality, disgust-based morality and fairness/justice. Second, that all aspects of morality, including social convention, involve affect. Third, that the neural system particularly important for social convention, given its role in mediating anger and responding to angry expressions, is ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Fourth, that the (...) neural systems particularly important for care-based morality are the amygdala and medial orbital frontal cortex. Fifth, that while Theory of Mind is not a prerequisite for the development of affect-based 'automatic moral attitudes', it is critically involved in many aspects of moral reasoning. (shrink)
In Jonathan Adler argued that conductive arguments, as they are commonly characterized, are impossible—that no such argument can exist. This striking contention threatens to undermine a topic of argumentation theory originated by Trudy Govier based on Carl Wellman and revisited by the papers in “Conductive argument, An overlooked type of defeasible reasoning”. I here argue that Adler’s dismissal of conductive arguments relies on a misreading of the term ‘non-conclusive’ used in the characterization of this type of reasoning and argument, and (...) that as a result, his refutation fails. However, Adler’s critique raises other questions about conductive arguments that have to be answered. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to advance the theory of argument or inference schemes by suggesting answers to questions raised by Walton's Argumentation Schemes for Presumptive Reasoning (1996), specifically on: the relation between argument and reasoning; distinguishing deductive from presumptive schemes, the origin of schemes and the probative force of their use; and the motivation and justification for their associated critical questions.
In Logical Self-Defense , Johnson and I introduced the criteria of acceptability, relevance and sufficiency as appropriate for the evaluation of arguments in the sense of reasons offered in support of a claim. These three criteria have been widely adopted, but each has been subjected to a number of criticisms; and also 30 years of research have intervened. How do these criteria stand up today? In this paper I argue that they still have a place in argument analysis and evaluation, (...) but in much-modified roles. (shrink)
In this overview article, we first explain what we take informal logic to be, discussing misconceptions and distinguishing our conception of it from competing ones; second, we briefly catalogue recent informal logic research, under 14 headings; third, we suggest four broad areas of problems and questions for future research; fourth, we describe current scholarly resources for informal logic; fifth, we discuss three implications of informal logic for philosophy in particular, and take note ofpractical consequences of a more general sort.
In “Are conductive arguments possible?” Jonathan Adler argued that conductive argu-ments are not possible because they are committed to two incompatible propositions: C is reached without nullifying the counter-considerations; C is accepted is true, which issues in belief, so C is detached from these premises. This paper offers an analysis and an assessment of Adler’s case for his thesis.
Traditional just war theory maintains that the two types of rules that govern justice in times of war, jus ad bellum (justice of war) and jus in bello (justice in war), are logically independent of one another. Call this the independence thesis. According to this thesis, a war that satisfies the ad bellum rules does not guarantee that the in bello rules will be satisfied; and a war that violates the ad bellum rules does not guarantee that the in bello (...) rules will be violated. A controversial implication of this is that it’s possible for soldiers to undergo acts that are instrumental in bringing about victory in an unjust war and yet do nothing morally wrong. Some authors – call them purists – claim that this cannot be correct. Participating in an unjust war is by itself morally wrong. Yitzhak Benbaji has given what is to my mind the strongest defense of the independence thesis. In this paper I critically examine Benbaji’s argument and conclude that it is not persuasive. My argument against Benbaji incorporates the concept of honor in the military. I seek to show, in part, that if the recent literature is correct concerning both the nature of honor and the importance of instilling it in soldiers, then Benbaji hasn’t given the purist a compelling reason to give up her view. (shrink)
A nation commits mitigated aggression by threatening to kill the citizens of a victim nation if and only if they do not submit to being ruled in a non-egregiously oppressive way. Such aggression primarily threatens a nation’s common way of life . According to David Rodin, a war against mitigated aggression is automatically disproportionate, as the right of lethal self-defense only extends to protecting against being killed or enslaved. Two strategies have been adopted in response to Rodin. The first strategy (...) grants that CWL is insufficiently valuable to lethally defend, however, other considerations can satisfy the proportionality requirement. I argue that this strategy is not persuasive. The second strategy argues for the sufficient value of CWL. This, however, fails to answer the forceful ‘benign dictator’ objection. I respond to this objection by grounding the proportionality of a defensive war in the value of what Phillip Pettit calls ‘anti-power’. (shrink)
Premissary relevance is a property of arguments understood as speech act complexes. It is explicable in terms of the idea of a premise's lending support to a conclusion. Premissary relevance is a function of premises belonging to a set which authoritatively warrants an inference to a conclusion. An authoritative inference warrant will have associated with it a conditional proposition which is true— that is to say, which can be justified. The study of the Aristotelian doctrine of topoi or argument schemes (...) may contribute to the task of identifying authoritative warrants. (shrink)
I argue that argumentation is not to be identified with (attempted) rational persuasion, because although rational persuasion appears to consist of arguments, some uses of arguments are not attempts at rational persuasion. However, the use of arguments in argumentative communication to try to persuade is one kind of attempt at rational persuasion. What makes it rational is that its informing ideal is to persuade on the basis of adequate grounds, grounds that make it reasonable and rational to accept the claim (...) at issue. (shrink)
In a recent article, Xiaofei Liu seeks to defend, from the standpoint of consequentialism, the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing: DDA. While there are various conceptions of DDA, Liu understands it as the view that it is more difficult to justify doing harm than allowing harm. Liu argues that a typical harm doing involves the production of one more evil and one less good than a typical harm allowing. Thus, prima facie, it takes a greater amount of good to justify (...) doing a certain harm than it does to justify allowing that same harm. In this reply, I argue that Liu fails to show, from within a consequentialist framework, that there is an asymmetry between the evils produced by doing and allowing harm. I conclude with some brief remarks on what may establish such an asymmetry. (shrink)
Many just war theorists (call them traditionalists) claim that just as people have a right to personal self-defense, so nations have a right to national-defense against an aggressive military invasion. David Rodin claims that the traditionalist is unable to justify most defensive wars against aggression. For most aggressive states only commit conditional aggression in that they threaten to kill or maim the citizens of the nation they are invading only if those citizens resist the occupation. Most wars, then, claimed to (...) be justified by the traditionalist fail to meet the proportionality criterion. Thus, a just war, for Rodin, is best conceived of as a punitive war of law enforcement, not as a war of national-defense. I argue that Rodin does not have a case against the traditionalist. If national-defense is a disproportionate response to conditional aggression, then punitive war is a disproportionate response as well. Furthermore, the belief that punitive war is a proportionate response to conditional aggression underscores the traditionalist’s view that self-determination, cultural identity and the like are of sufficient value to defend by means of lethal force. I end the paper by very briefly sketching an account, different from that of Rodin’s, of how individual nations can be justified in waging wars of law enforcement. (shrink)
Helen Frowe has recently objected to Michael Tooley’s famous Moral Symmetry Principle, which is meant to show that in themselves killing and letting die are morally equivalent. I argue that her objection is not compelling but a more compelling objection is available. Specifically, Tooley’s rebuttal of a proposed counter-example to his Moral Symmetry Principle has two problematic implications. First, it undercuts the very principle itself. If we reject the proposed counter-example, then any instance of the Moral Symmetry Principle will actually (...) demonstrate the moral in-equivalence of killing and letting die. Second, it commits us to the view, which Tooley wishes to avoid, that we are just as obligated to refrain from doing wrong as we are to prevent others from doing the same. I conclude with a brief discussion of a more general concern regarding Tooley’s basic strategy. My focus here is quite narrow. My claims, if plausible, only show that the Moral Symmetry Principle is unsound and thus cannot serve as a basis for the view that killing and letting die are morally equivalent. (shrink)
Informal logic began in the 1970s as a critique of then-current theoretical assumptions in the teaching of argument analysis and evaluation in philosophy departments in the U.S. and Canada. The last 35 years have seen significant developments in informal logic and critical thinking theory. The paper is a pilot study of the influence of these advances in theory on what is taught in courses on argument analysis and critical thinking in U.S. and Canadian philosophy departments. Its finding, provisional and much-qualified, (...) is that the theoretical developments and refinements have had limited impact on instruction in leading philosophy departments. (shrink)
The paper aims to provide an analysis and critique of Carl Wellman’s account of conduction presented in Challenge and Response and Morals and Ethics. It considers several issues, including: reason-ing vs. argument, the definition vs. the three patterns of conduction, pro and con arguments as dialogues, their assessment, the concept of validity, applications beyond moral arguments, argument type vs. as crite-rion of evaluation.
In this paper I review a number of Govier’s criticisms of the standard view of logic at the time she was developing her views about the nature of logic as it applies to the critique of arguments in natural language and the development of ways to teach skills in such critique. I argue that the concept of informal logic has emerged at least in part from those criticisms and Govier’s positive alternatives.
We question whether empathy is mediated by a unitary circuit. We argue that recent neuroimaging data indicate dissociable neural responses for different facial expressions as well as for representing others' mental states (Theory of Mind, TOM). We also argue that the general empathy disorder considered characteristic of autism and psychopathy is not general but specific for each disorder.
This paper argues for the importance of the distinction between internal and external negation over expressions for belief. The common fallacy is to confuse statement like (1) and (2): (1) John believes that the school is not closed on Tuesday; (2) John does not believe that the school is closed on Tuesday. The fallacy has ramifications in teaching, reasoning, and argumentation. Analysis of the fallacy and suggestions for teaching are offered.
There’s a widespread intuition that if the only way an innocent person can stop her villainous attacker from killing her is to kill him instead, then she is morally permitted to do so. But why is it that she is permitted to employ lethal force on an aggressor if that is what is required to save her life? My primary goal in this paper is to defend David Rodin's fairly recent and under-recognized account of self-defense that answers this question. There (...) are roughly two kinds of non-consequentialist accounts of self-defense:'forced-choice' accounts and 'rights-based' accounts. I first examine what I take to be the most plausible 'forced-choice' account of self-defense and I argue that it is unable to withstand two recent criticisms. I then proceed to adjudicate between two prominent 'rights-based' accounts of self-defense: call them the Thomson/Uniacke account and the Rodinian account. Any rights-based account of self-defense must explain how it is that X, who villainously tries to kill Y, forfeits his right to life. I argue both that Thomson/Uniacke's explanation cannot account for the clear permissibility of killing a certain kind of aggressor in self-defense, and that the attempts that could be made to account for this permissibility are either ad-hoc or permit the killing of persons that are morally on par with innocent bystanders. I point out how Thomson/Uniacke can evade the seeming difficulties that I raise by only permitting lethal defensive force against culpable aggressors. But allowing defensive force to be employed only on the culpable goes against one of their central tenets. I then discuss the Rodinian account, how it evades the criticisms I raise, as well as its other virtues. I conclude that while it has difficulties of its own, it is the more plausible one to adopt. (shrink)
This paper is a commentary on the articles by William Rehg and Robert Asen in this issue of Informal Logic. It compares the subject matter of the two papers, offers an interpretation of and commentary on each paper separately, then discusses their overlapping problematic: the importance of public sphere argumentation.
Are there any logical norms for argument evaluation besides soundness and inductive strength? The paper will look at several concepts or models introduced over the years, including those of Wisdom, Toulmin, Wellman, Rescher, defeasible reasoning proponents and Walton to consider whether there is common ground among them that supplies an alternative to deductive validity and inductive strength.
The United States is at a crossroad in its treatment of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, which deals with reorganization of bankrupt organizations. It is vital that the issues surrounding the debate be properly framed. This paper attempts to do just that by reviewing the evolution of bankruptcy law, assessing the impact of Chapter 11 leniency on societal stakeholders, considering bankruptcy as a strategic option, and addressing the ethical and societal issues that arise from the use of Chapter 11 (...) to avoid massive litigation or to abrogate labor contracts. Serious threats to the underlying fibers of the American system of enterprise are exposed and an assessment of these threats is offered. (shrink)