This paper attempts to systematically characterize critical reactions in argumentative discourse, such as objections, critical questions, rebuttals, refutations, counterarguments, and fallacy charges, in order to contribute to the dialogical approach to argumentation. We shall make use of four parameters to characterize distinct types of critical reaction. First, a critical reaction has a focus, for example on the standpoint, or on another part of an argument. Second, critical reactions appeal to some kind of norm, argumentative or other. Third, they each have (...) a particular illocutionary force, which may include that of giving strategic advice to the other. Fourth, a critical reaction occurs at a particular level of dialogue (the ground level or some meta-level). The concepts here developed shall be applied to discussions of critical reactions by Aristotle and by some contemporary authors. (shrink)
Negotiation is not only used to settle differences of interest but also to settle differences of opinion. Discussants who are unable to resolve their difference about the objective worth of a policy or action proposal may be willing to abandon their attempts to convince the other and search instead for a compromise that would, for each of them, though only a second choice yet be preferable to a lasting conflict. Our questions are: First, when is it sensible to enter into (...) negotiations and when would this be unwarranted or even fallacious? Second, what is the nature of a compromise? What does it mean to settle instead of resolve a difference of opinion, and what might be the dialectical consequences of mistaking a compromise for a substantial resolution? Our main aim is to contribute to the theory of argumentation within the context of negotiation and compromise formation and to show how arguing disputants can shift to negotiation in a dialectically virtuous way. (shrink)
Argumentation as the public exchange of reasons is widely thought to enhance deliberative interactions that generate and justify reasonable public policies. Adopting an argumentation-theoretic perspective, we survey the norms that should govern public argumentation and address some of the complexities that scholarly treatments have identified. Our focus is on norms associated with the ideals of correctness and participation as sources of a politically legitimate deliberative outcome. In principle, both ideals are mutually coherent. If the information needed for a correct deliberative (...) outcome is distributed among agents, then maximising participation increases information diversity. But both ideals can also be in tension. If participants lack competence or are prone to biases, a correct deliberative outcome requires limiting participation. The central question for public argumentation, therefore, is how to strike a balance between both ideals. Rather than advocating a preferred normative framework, our main purpose is to illustrate the complexity of this theme. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to show the pervasive, though often implicit, role of arguments in negotiation dialogue. This holds even for negotiations that start from a difference of interest such as mere bargaining through offers and counteroffers. But it certainly holds for negotiations that try to settle a difference of opinion on policy issues. It will be demonstrated how a series of offers and counteroffers in a negotiation dialogue contains a reconstructible series of implicit persuasion dialogues. The paper (...) is a sequel to van Laar and Krabbe, in which we showed that for some differences of opinion it may be reasonable to shift from persuasion dialogue, aimed at a resolution of the difference on the merits, to negotiation dialogue, aimed at compromise, whereas in the present paper we show that such a shift need not amount to the abandonment of argumentation. Our main aim in this paper as well as in the previous one is to contribute to the theory of argumentation within the context of negotiation and compromise formation. (shrink)
Some critical reactions hardly give clues to the arguer as to how to respond to them convincingly. Other critical reactions convey some or even all of the considerations that make the critic critical of the arguer’s position and direct the arguer to defuse or to at least contend with them. First, an explication of the notion of a critical reaction will be provided, zooming in on the degree of “directiveness” that a critical reaction displays. Second, it will be examined whether (...) there are normative requirements that enhance the directiveness of criticism. Does the opponent have in circumstances a dialectical obligation to provide clarifications, explanations, or even arguments? In this paper, it is hypothesized that the competitiveness inherent in critical discussion must be mitigated by making the opponent responsible for providing her counterconsiderations, if available, thus assisting the proponent in developing an argumentative strategy that defuses them. (shrink)
Criticism may degenerate into quibbling or nitpicking. How can discussants keep quibblers under control? In the paper we investigate cases in which a battle about words replaces a discussion of the matters that are actually at issue as well as cases in which a battle about minor objections replaces a discussion of the major issues. We survey some lines of discussion dealing with these situations in profiles of dialogue.
The epistemologists Biro and Siegel have raised two objections against the pragma-dialectical approach to argumentation. According to the first objection the pragma-dialectical theory is not genuinely normative. According to the second objection the rejection of justificationism by pragma-dialecticians is unwarranted: they reject justificationism prematurely and they are not consistent in accepting some arguments (‘justifications’) as sound. The first objection is based on what we regard as the misconception that the goal of resolving differences of opinion cannot provide a normative approach. (...) In response to the second objection we argue that in pragma-dialectics, the notion of argument, and related notions, are defined in a non-justificatory manner. (shrink)
We shall investigate the similarities and dissimilarities between old and new dialectic. For the ‘old dialectic’, we base our survey mainly on Aristotle’s Topics and Sophistical Refutations, whereas for the ‘new dialectic’, we turn to contemporary views on dialogical interaction, such as can, for the greater part, be found in Walton’s The New Dialectic. Three issues are taken up: types of dialogue, fallacies, and strategies. Though one should not belittle the differences in scope and outlook that obtain between the old (...) and the new dialectic, the paper will show that in many respects the old dialectic foreshadows the new dialectic. (shrink)
When is an argument to be called one-sided? When is putting forward such an argument fallacious? How can we develop a model for critical discussion, such that a fallaciously one-sided argument corresponds to a violation of a discussion rule? These issues are dealt with within ‘the limits of the dialogue model of argument’ by specifying a type of persuasion dialogue in which an arguer can offer complex arguments to anticipate particular responses by a critic.
Contemporary theory of argumentation offers many insights about the ways in which, in the context of a public controversy, arguers should ideally present their arguments and criticize those of their opponents. We also know that in practice not all works out according to the ideal patterns: numerous kinds of derailments are an object of study for argumentation theorists. But how about the use of unfairstrategiesvis-à-vis one’s opponents? What if it is not a matter of occasional derailments but of one party’s (...) systematic refusal to take other parties seriously? What if one party continually forgoes any form of critical testing and instead resorts to threats or blackmail? Can this be countered by the tools of reason? Or should one pay one’s opponent back in the same coin? To gain some grasp of these issues, we describe a number of strategies used in the public controversy about induced earthquakes in Groningen. We check whether these strategies arefair,i.e.balanced, transparent,andtolerant.We also investigate the effects of the choice for a particular kind of strategy. It appears that, in circumstances, choosing a fair strategy may be detrimental for resolving the controversy and choosing an unfair one beneficial. Following up ideas from social psychology and political science, we formulate some guidelines for the choice of strategies. At the end, we stress the importance — especially for those whose opinions carry little weight — of having a society in which the knowledge and skills needed for assessing the fairness of strategies are widespread. (shrink)
What if in discussion the critic refuses to recognize an emotionally expressed argument of her interlocutor as an argument, accusing him of having presented no argument at all. In this paper, we shall deal with this reproach, which taken literally amounts to a charge of having committed a fallacy of non-argumentation. As such it is a very strong, if not the ultimate, criticism, which even carries the risk of abandonment of the discussion and can, therefore, not be made without burdening (...) oneself with correspondingly strong obligations. We want to specify the fallacies of non-argumentation and their dialectic, i.e., the proper way to criticize them, the appropriate ways for the arguer to react to such criticism, and the appropriate ways for the critic to follow up on these reactions. Among the types of fallacy of non-argumentation, the emphasis will be on the appeal to popular sentiments. Our aim is to reach, for cases of non-argumentation, a survey of dialectical possibilities. By making the disputants themselves responsible for the place of emotion in their dialogues, we hope to contribute to a further development of the theory of dialectical obligations. (shrink)
When can exerting pressure in a public controversy promote reasonable outcomes, and when is it rather a hindrance? We show how negotiation and persuasion dialogue can be intertwined. Then, we examine in what ways one can in a public controversy exert pressure on others through sanctions or rewards. Finally, we discuss from the viewpoints of persuasion and negotiation whether and, if so, how pressure hinders the achievement of a reasonable outcome.
This paper examines arguments that take counter- considerations into account, and it does so from a dialogical point of view. According to my account, a counterconsideration is part of a critical reaction from a real or imagined opponent, and an arguer may take it into account in his argument in at least six fully responsive ways. Conductive arguments will be characterized as one of these types. In this manner, the paper aims to show how conducive, and related kinds of argument (...) can be understood dialogically. (shrink)
This paper aims at a normative account of non-deductive argumentation schemes in the spirit of Hamblin’s dialectical philosophy. First, three principles are presented that characterize Hamblin’s dialectical stance. Second, argumentation schemes, which have hardly been examined in Hamblin’s book Fallacies, shall be dealt with by applying these principles, taking an argumentation scheme from authority as the leading example. Third, a formal dialectical system, along the lines indicated by Hamblin, shall be developed that includes norms for using argumentation schemes and norms (...) for responding to arguments that are presented as instantiating acceptable argumentation schemes. (shrink)
A critic may attack an arguer personally by pointing out that the arguer’s position is pragmatically inconsistent: the arguer does not practice what he preaches. A number of authors hold that such attacks can be part of a good argumentative discussion. However, there is a difficulty in accepting this kind of contribution as potentially legitimate, for the reason that there is nothing wrong for a protagonist to have an inconsistent position, in the sense of committing himself to mutually inconsistent propositions. (...) If so, any such charge seems to be irrelevant. The questions to be answered in this essay are: what, if any, is the dialectical rationale for this type of criticism, and in what situations, if any, is this kind of charge dialectically legitimate? It will be shown that these attacks can be dialectically legitimate, in special circumstances, and that they can be seen as strategic␣manoeuvres where a party attempts to reconcile his dialectical and his rhetorical objectives. (shrink)
It furthers the dialectic when the opponent is clear about what motivates and underlies her critical stance, even if she does not adopt an opposite standpoint, but merely doubts the proponent’s opinion. Thus, there is some kind of burden of criticism. In some situations, there should an obligation for the opponent to offer explanatory counterconsiderations, if requested, whereas in others, there is no real dialectical obligation, but a mere responsibility for the opponent to cooperate by providing her motivations for being (...) critical. In this paper, it will be shown how a set of dialogue rules may encourage an opponent, in this latter type of situation, to provide her counterconsiderations, and to do so at an appropriate level of specificity. Special attention will be paid to the desired level of specificity. For example, the critic may challenge a thesis by saying “Why? Says who?,” without conveying whether she could be convinced by an argument from expert opinion, or from position to know, or from popular opinion. What are fair dialogue rules for dealing with less than fully specific criticism? (shrink)
The distinction between constitutive and regulative rules is applied to rules for critical discussion that have to do with the use of ambiguous expressions. This leads to a distinction between rule violating fallacies, by which one abandons a critical discussion, and norm violating fallacies, which are in a way admissible within a critical discussion. According to the formal model for critical discussion, proposed in this paper, fallacies of the norm violating type arc not prohibited. Instead, it provides discussants with devices (...) to discuss fallacies and fallacy criticisms. (shrink)
How does the analysis and evaluation of argumentation depend on the dialogue type in which the argumentation has been put forward? This paper focuses on argumentative bluff in eristic discussion. Argumentation cannot be presented without conveying the pretence that it is dialectically reasonable, as well as, at least to some degree, rhetorically effective. Within eristic discussion it can be profitable to engage in bluff with respect to such claims. However, it will be argued that such bluffing is dialectically inadmissible, even (...) within an eristic discussion. (shrink)
The dialectical approach to teaching critical thinking is centred on a comparative evaluation of contending arguments, so that generally the strength of an argument for a position can only be assessed in the context of this dialectic. The identification of fallacies, though important, plays only a preliminary role in the evaluation to individual arguments. Our approach to fallacy identification and analysis sees fallacies as argument patterns whose persuasive power is disproportionate to their probative value.
The use of ambiguous expressions in argumentative dialogues can lead to misunderstanding and equivocation. Such ambiguities are here called active ambiguities . However, even a normative model of persuasion dialogue ought not to ban active ambiguities altogether, one reason being that it is not always possible to determine beforehand which expressions will prove to be actively ambiguous. Thus, it is proposed that argumentative norms should enable each participant to put forward ambiguity criticisms as well as self-critical ambiguity corrections, inducing them (...) to improve their language if necessary. In order to discourage them from nitpicking and from arriving at excessively high levels of precision, the parties are also provided with devices with which to examine whether the ambiguity corrections or ambiguity criticisms have been appropriate. A formal dialectical system is proposed, in the Hamblin style, that satisfies these and some other philosophical desiderata. (shrink)
How to understand and assess arguments in which the popularity of an opinion is put forward as a reason to accept that opinion? There exist widely diverging views on how to analyse and evaluate such arguments from popularity. First, I define the concept of an argument from popularity, and show that typical appeals to the popularity of a policy are not genuine arguments from popularity. Second, I acknowledge the importance of some recent probability-based accounts according to which some arguments from (...) popularity are epistemically strong arguments, but also contend that despite these strengths such arguments have at most limited value in argumentative discussions. Finally, I show that there are at least five different ways that arguments from popularity can be fallacious, and examine what this means for an account of the Fallacy of Popularity. (shrink)
Ridicule can be used in order to create concurrence as well as to en-hance antagonism. This paper deals with ridicule that is used by a critic when he is responding to a standpoint or to a reason advanced in support of a standpoint. Ridicule profits from humor’s good repu-tation, and correctly so, even when it is used in argumentative contexts. However, ridicule can be harmful to a discussion. This paper will deal with ridicule from the perspective of strategic maneuvering between (...) the individual rhetorical objec-tive of effecting persuasion and the shared dialectical objective of resolving the dispute on its merits. In what ways can ridicule be used in strategic maneuvering and under what conditions are these uses dialectically sound? (shrink)
When interlocutors start to talk at cross purposes it becomes less likely that they will be able to resolve their differences of opinion. Still, a critic, in the confrontation stage of a discussion, should be given some room of manoeuvre for rephrasing and even for revising the arguer’s position. I will distinguish between licit and illicit applications of this form of strategic manoeuvring by stating three soundness conditions.