When, if ever, is one justified in accepting the premises of an argument? What is the proper criterion of premise acceptability? Can the criterion be theoretically or philosophically justified? This is the first book to provide a comprehensive theory of premise acceptability and it answers the questions above from an epistemological approach that the author calls common sense foundationalism. It will be eagerly sought out not just by specialists in informal logic, critical thinking, and argumentation theory but also by a (...) broader range of philosophers and those teaching rhetoric. (shrink)
An approach to argument macrostructure -- The dialectical nature of argument -- Toulmin's problematic notion of warrant -- The linked-convergent distinction, a first approximation -- Argument structure and disciplinary perspective : the linked-convergent versus multiple-co-ordinatively compound distinctions -- The linked-convergent distinction, refining the criterion -- Argument structure and enthymemes -- From analysis to evaluation.
Relevance of premises to conclusion can be explicated through Toulmin’s notion of warrant, understood as an inference rule, albeit not necessarily formal. A normative notion of relevance requires the warrant to be reliable. To determine reliability, we propose a fourfold classification of warrants into a priori, empirical, institutional, and evaluative, with further subdivisions possible. This classification has its ancestry in classical rhetoric and recent epistemology. Distinctive to each type of warrant is the mode by which such connections are intuitively discovered (...) and the grounds on which we ultimately justify them. The classification of warrants is thus epistemic. We illustrate the difference by contrasting empirical physical with institutional intuition, and argue for the advantages of this approach over Toulmin’s conception of field dependence. (shrink)
We perceive relevance by virtue of inference habits, which may be expressed as Pierce's leading principles or as Toulmin's warrants. Hence relevance in a descriptive sense is a ternary relation between two statements and a set of inference rules. For a normative sense, the warrants must be properly backed. Different types of warrant to empirical generalizations, we introduce L.J. Cohen's notion of inductive support. A to empirical generalizations, we introduce L.J. Cohen's notion of inductive support. A generalization H is supported (...) by evidence E to degree i/in iff E indicates that H passes canonical test i, where there are n canonical tests. In a canonical test, one or more relevant variables, factors which may falsify H, are varied. H passes a test if it is not falsified. The tests are cumulative. Degree of support is relative to the canonical test, and may be modeled as relative to a point in a dialectical situation. A value of a variable at which H is falsified is a rebutting value. A is normatively relevant to B with respect to W iff sup[associated generalization(W), E] = i/n and for j > i, there is a presumption that the values of j are non-rebuting. (shrink)
In a priori analogies, the analogue is constructed in imagination, sharing certain properties with the primary subject. The analogue has some further property clearly consequent on those shared properties. Ceteris paribus the primary subject has that property also. The warrant involves non-empirical, e.g., moral intuition but is also defeasible. The argument is thus neither deductive nor inductive, but an additional type. In an inductive analogy, the analogues back the warrant from below. Distinguishing these two types of arguments by analogy gives (...) epistemic evaluative factors primacy over resemblance factors in classifying arguments—a prescient insight on Govier’s part. (shrink)
Our typology is based on two ground adequacy factors, one logical and one epistemic. Logically, the step from premises to conclusion may be conclusive or only ceteris paribus. Epistemically, warrants may be backed a priori or a posteriori. Hence there are four types of arguments: conclusive a priori, defeasible a priori, defeasible a posteriori, and prima facie conclusive a posteriori. We shall give an example of each and compare our scheme with other typologies.
Many in the informal logic tradition distinguish convergent from linked argument structure. The pragma-dialectical tradition distinguishes multiple from co-ordinatively compound argumentation. Although these two distinctions may appear to coincide, constituting only a terminological difference, we argue that they are distinct, indeed expressing different disciplinary perspectives on argumentation. From a logical point of view, where the primary evaluative issue concerns sufficient strength of support, the unit of analysis is the individual argument, the particular premises put forward to support a given conclusion. (...) Structure is internal to this unit. From a dialectical point of view, where the focus concerns how well a critical discussion comes to a reasoned conclusion of some disputed question, the argumentation need not constitute a single unit of argument. The unit of dialectical analysis will be the entire argumentation made up of these several arguments. The multiple/co-ordinatively compound distinction is dialectical, while the linked/convergent distinction is logical. Keeping these two pairs of distinctions separate allows us to see certain attempts to characterize convergent versus linked arguments as rather characterizing multiple versus co-ordinatively compound arguments, in particular attempts of Thomas, Nolt, and Yanal, and to resolve straightforwardly conflicts, tensions, or anomalies in their accounts. Walton's preferred Suspension/Insufficient Proof test to identify linked argument structure correctly identifies co-ordinatively compound structure. His objection to using the concept of relevance to explicate the distinction between linked and convergent structure within co-ordinatively compound argumentation can be met through explicating relevance in terms of inference licenses. His counterexample to the Suspension/No Support test for identifying linked structure which this approach supports can itself be straightforwardly dealt with when the test is explicated through inference licenses. (shrink)
Building on the work of Sproule, Fahnestock and Secor, and Kruger, we present a specific typology of statements. In particular, we distinguish broadly logically determinate statements, descriptions, interpretations, and evaluations. We generate this typology through a series of dichotomous divisions of statements. We divide statements first into the broadly logically determinate versus contingent, the contingent into the evaluational versus natural, and the natural into the extensional versus intensional. We show that the rationales for these distinctions are well motivated and philosophically (...) important. In particular, we argue that identifying the type of a statement is relevant to showing whether or not the sources vouching for it render the statement epistemically acceptable. (shrink)
We argue that Cohen’s concept of inductive or ampliative probability facilitates proper explication of sufficient strength for non-demonstrative arguments conforming to the Toulmin model. The data and claims of such arguments are singular statements. We may epistemically classify the warrants of such arguments as empirical (either physical or personal), institutional, or evaluative. Backing evidence and rebutting considerations vary with the epistemic type of warrant, but in each case the notion of ampliative probability for arguments with warrants of that type can (...) be characterized. We may then use ampliative probability to define sufficient strength and related notions for Toulmin arguments. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: We critically examine Bermejo-Luque’s account of the logical dimension of argumentation and its logical or semantic evaluation. Our considerations concern her views on inference claims, validity, logical normativity, warrants, necessity, warrants and the justification of inferences, ontological versus epistemic modal qualifiers, ontological versus epistemic probability, and ontological versus conditional probability.RESUMEN: Examinamos críticamente el análisis que Bermejo-Luque propone de la dimensión lógica de la argumentación y de su evaluación lógica o semántica. Nuestras objeciones ser refieren a sus tesis sobre las (...) afirmaciones inferenciales, la validez, la normatividad lógica, los garantes, los garantes de necesidad y la justificación de las inferencias, los calificadores ontológicos frente a los epistémico-modales, la probabilidad epistémica frente a la ontológica y la probabilidad condicional frente a la ontológica. (shrink)
We argue that informal logic is epistemological. Two central questions concern premise acceptability and connection adequacy. Both may be explicated in tenns of justification, a central epistemological concept. That some premises are basic parallels a foundationalist account of basic beliefs and epistemic support. Some epistemological accounts of these concepts may advance the analysis of premise acceptability and connection adequacy. Infonnallogic has implications for other aspects of philosophy. If causal interpretations are acceptable premises and thus justified, does the world have a (...) causal structure? If evaluative premises are acceptable, i.e., justified, is value an objective feature of the world? (shrink)
In this paper, we want to explore the connection between premises' being acceptable and their being in some sense justified. The equivalence of premise acceptability and justification seems intuitively correct. But to argue for such a connection, we need to analyze the concepts of acceptability and justification. Such an analysis also seems necessary if this equivalence is to advance our understanding of premise acceptability. Following L. J. Cohen, we may say S believes that p when S is disposed to feel (...) it true that p, while S accepts that p when S takes that p as a premise for further deliberation or action. Reasons for belief are reasons for acceptance, and epistemological (as opposed to pragmatic) reasons for acceptance are reason for belief. Following William P. Alston, we may explicate being a justifying reason for belief through the notion of an adequate ground on which the belief is based. In turn, adequacy of ground means that the mechanism grounding the belief is reliable. Given these notions, we may define a concept of justification in terms of presumptive adequacy. (shrink)
Is truth a condition of premise adequacy? We may distinguish objective and subjective argument correctness. Objective correctness means true premises rendering the conclusion true or probable. Subjective correctness means acceptable pr emises rendering the conclusion acceptable. Acceptability depends on evidence available and so is internalist. Objective and subjective correctness of the premises is ordinarily distinct. For connection adequacy, objective rightness and subjective righ tness coincide. We recognize entailment or rendering probably a priori. Logic is thus internalist. Logic needs an internalist (...) notion of acceptability for premise evaluation to fall within its purview, although it need not deny the objective sens e of rightness. (shrink)
We critically examine Bermejo-Luque’s account of the logical dimension of argumentation and its logical or semantic evaluation. Our considerations concern her views on inference claims, validity, logical normativity, warrants, necessity, warrants and the justification of inferences, ontological versus epistemic modal qualifiers, ontological versus epistemic probability, and ontological versus conditional probability.
By the standards presented in the Introduction, CMFC2 is deficient on at least one ontological ground: ‘∀’ is a syncategorematic expression and so CMFC2 is not an ideal language. To some there may be an additional difficulty: any two wffs provably equivalent in the classical sense are provably identical. We hope in sequel to present systems free of these difficulties, free either of one or the other, or perhaps both.This work was done with the aid of Canada Council Grant S74-0551-S1.
In this paper a system, RPF, of second-order relevance logic with S5 necessity is presented which contains a defined, notion of identity for propositions. A complete semantics is provided. It is shown that RPF allows for more than one necessary proposition. RPF contains primitive syntactic counterparts of the following semantic notions: (1) the reflexive, symmetrical, transitive binary alternativeness relation for S5 necessity, (2) the ternary Routley-Meyer alternativeness relation for implication, and (3) the Routley-Meyer notion of a prime intensional theory, as (...) well as defined syntactic counterparts, of the semantic notions of a possible world and the Routley-Meyer * operator. (shrink)
Suppose two persons disagree over whether an act is right, justifying their judgments by appealing to divergent higher-level moral principles. These principles function as backing and rebuttals in their argumentation. To justify these principles, we may argue either that they would be accepted in some ideal model or that they are in reflective equilibrium with our considered moral judgments. Disagreement over the model indicates difference in philosophical anthropology but does not preclude resolution through argument.
We survey the contents of Finocchiaro's papers collected in Arguments about Arguments , pointing out, where appropriate, their expected interest for readers of Philosophy of the Social Sciences. The papers include essays about argument theory and reasoning, the nature of fallacies and fallaciousness, critiques of noteworthy contributions to argumentation theory, and historical essays on scientific thinking. Key Words: arguments dialectic dialectical approach empirical logic evaluation fallacies informal logic interpretation reasoning.
Premise acceptability is conceptually connected to presumption. To say that a premise is acceptable just when there is a presumption in its favor is to give a first approximation to this connection. A number of popular principles of presumption suggest that whether there is a presumption for a premise, belief, or claim depends on the sources which vouch for it. Sources consist of internal belief-generating mechanisms and external testimony. Alvin Plantinga's notion of warrant lays down four conditions upon a source (...) for the belief which it generates to be warranted. We argue that there is a presumption for a premise, belief, or claim if and only if there is a presumption of warrant for that premise,belief or claim. This amounts to the thesis that there is a presumption for a belief from a challenger's point of view if and only if there is a presumption from that person's point of view that her cognitive faculties which have generated the belief have been functioning properly, in an appropriate cognitive environment, in accord with a segment of her design plan aimed at the truth, and that these faculties are reliable. In light of our argument for this thesis, we may legitimately claim that one way to determine that there is a presumption for a belief is to determine that there is a presumption of warrant for that belief, and thus that in determining whether there is a presumption for a belief or premise, we may consider the source. (shrink)
Acceptability is a thoroughly normative epistemic notion. If a statement is acceptable, i.e. it is proper to take it as a premise, then one is justified in accepting it. We also hold that a statement is acceptable just in case there is a presumption of warrant in its favor. We thus see acceptability connected to epistemic normativity on the one hand and to warrant on the other. But there is a distinct tension in this dual connection. The dominant tradition in (...) modern epistemology sees epistemic justification as an internalist notion. We are justified in holding a belief just in case certain conditions are fulfilled of which we have privileged access. Warrant is an externalist notion. We have no privileged access to the conditions of warrant. Is our understanding of acceptability as both normative and definable in terms of presumption of warrant philosophically coherent? We shall argue that it is a philosophically coherent notion. Presumption of warrant, unlike warrant, is an internalist notion. Our position can be characterized as an externalist internal ism. It avoids the charge brought against externalism of allowing one to be justified in accepting some claim even if one has no evidence for it. We meet the classical internalist challenge that acceptance is normatively proper only if one has done one's epistemic duty and thus one is aware of the normative propriety of the acceptance by providing a non-deontological definition of epistemic justification, and arguing that this is still a sufficiently normative notion for acceptability. (shrink)
Moral dissensus may arise first because persons may disagree over the warrants licensing inferring an evaluative conclusion from premises asserting that properties alleged evaluatively relevant hold. This results in seeing different properties as evaluatively relevant. Secondly, such properties will frequently not be descriptive but interpretive, asserting some nomic connection. Persons may disagree over what evaluatively relevant properties hold in a given case. We explore the possibilities for argumentation to resolve these two types of disagreement.