Enthymemes are traditionally defined as arguments in which some elements are left unstated. It is an empirical fact that enthymemes are both enormously frequent and appropriately understood in everyday argumentation. Why is it so? We outline an answer that dispenses with the so called "principle of charity", which is the standard notion underlying most works on enthymemes. In contrast, we suggest that a different force drives enthymematic argumentation—namely, parsimony, i.e. the tendency to optimize resource consumption, in light of the agent's (...) goals. On this view, the frequent use of enthymemes does not indicate sub-optimal performance of arguers, requiring appeals to charity for their redemption. On the contrary, it is seen as a highly adaptive argumentation strategy, given the need of everyday reasoners to optimize their cognitive resources. Considerations of parsimony also affect enthymeme reconstruction, i.e. the process by which the interpreter makes sense of the speaker's enthymemes. Far from being driven by any pro-social cooperative instinct, interpretative efforts are aimed at extracting valuable information at reasonable costs from available sources. Thus, there is a tension between parsimony and charity, insofar as the former is a non-social constraint for self-regulation of one's behaviour, whereas the latter implies a pro-social attitude. We will argue that some versions of charity are untenable for enthymeme interpretation, while others are compatible with the view defended here, but still require parsimony to expose the ultimate reasons upon which a presumption of fair treatment in enthymeme reconstruction is founded. (shrink)
One of our purposes here is to expose something of the elementary logical structure of abductive reasoning, and to do so in a way that helps orient theorists to the various tasks that a logic of abduction should concern itself with. We are mindful of criticisms that have been levelled against the very idea of a logic of abduction; so we think it prudent to proceed with a certain diffidence. That our own account of abduction is itself abductive is methodological (...) expression of this diffidence. A second objective is to test our conception of abduction's logical structure against some of the more promising going accounts of abductive reasoning. We offer our various suggestions in a benignly advisory way. The primary targets of our advice is ourselves, meant as guides to work we have yet to complete or, in some instances, start. It is possible that our colleagues in the abduction research communities will find our counsel to be of some interest. But we repeat that our first concern is to try to get ourselves straight about what a logic of abduction should encompass. (shrink)
In a world plagued by disagreement and conflict one might expect that the exact sciences of logic and mathematics would provide a safe harbor. In fact these disciplines are rife with internal divisions between different, often incompatible, systems. Do these disagreements admit of resolution? Can such resolution be achieved without disturbing assumptions that the theorems of logic and mathematics state objective truths about the real world? In this original and historically rich book John Woods explores apparently intractable disagreements in logic (...) and the foundations of mathematics and sets out conflict resolution strategies that evade or disarm these stalemates. An important sub-theme of the book is the extent to which pluralism in logic and the philosophy of mathematics undermines realist assumptions. This book makes an important contribution to such areas of philosophy as logic, philosophy of language and argumentation theory. It will also be of interest to mathematicians and computer scientists. (shrink)
In all three of its manifestations, —abusive, circumstantial and tu quoque—the role of the ad hominem is to raise a doubt about the opposite party’s casemaking bona-fides.Provided that it is both presumptive and provisional, drawing such a conclusion is not a logical mistake, hence not a fallacy on the traditional conception of it. More remarkable is the role of the ad hominem retort in seeking the reassurance of one’s opponent when, on the face of it, reassurance is precisely what he (...) would seem to be ill-placed to give. Brief concluding remarks are given over to an examination of rival approaches to the ad hominem, especially those in which it is conceived of as a dialectical error. (shrink)
An agent-centered, goal-directed, resource-bound logic of human reasoning would do well to note that individual cognitive agency is typified by the comparative scantness of available cognitive resourcess ignorance-preserving character. My principal purpose here is to tie abduction’s scarce-resource adjustment capacity to its ignorance preservation.
Traditionally, an enthymeme is an incomplete argument, made so by the absence of one or more of its constituent statements. An enthymeme resolution strategy is a set of procedures for finding those missing elements, thus reconstructing the enthymemes and restoring its meaning. It is widely held that a condition on the adequacy of such procedures is that statements restored to an enthymeme produce an argument that is good in some given respect in relation to which the enthymeme itself is bad. (...) In previous work, we emphasized the role of parsimony in enthymeme resolution strategies and concomitantly downplayed the role of charity . In the present paper, we take the analysis of enthymemes a step further. We will propose that if the pragmatic features that attend the phenomenon of enthymematic communication are duly heeded, the very idea of reconstructing enthymemes loses much of its rationale, and their interpretation comes to be conceived in a new light. (shrink)
Formal nonmonotonic systems try to model the phenomenon that common sense reasoners are able to “jump” in their reasoning from assumptions Δ to conclusions C without their being any deductive chain from Δ to C. Such jumps are done by various mechanisms which are strongly dependent on context and knowledge of how the actual world functions. Our aim is to motivate these jump rules as inference rules designed to optimise survival in an environment with scant resources of effort and time. (...) We begin with a general discussion and quickly move to Section 3 where we introduce five resource principles. We show that these principles lead to some well known nonmonotonic systems such as Nute’s defeasible logic. We also give several examples of practical reasoning situations to illustrate our principles. (shrink)
Consider the proposition, "Informal logic is a subdiscipline of philosophy". The best chance of showing this to be true is showing that informal logic is part of logic, which in turn is a part of philosophy. Part 1 is given over to the task of sorting out these connections. If successful, informal logic can indeed be seen as part of philosophy; but there is no question of an exclusive relationship. Part 2 is a critical appraisal of the suggestion that informal (...) logic is applied epistemology. Part 3 examines the claim that informal logic has failed to penetrate into mainstream philosophy, and suggestions for amelioration are considered. (shrink)
Much of cognitive science seeks to provide principled descriptions of various kinds and aspects of rational behaviour, especially in beings like us or AI simulacra of beings like us. For the most part, these investigators presuppose an unarticulated common sense appreciation of the rationality that such behaviour consists in. On those occasions when they undertake to bring the relevant norms to the surface and to give an account of that to which they owe their legitimacy, these investigators tend to favour (...) one or other of three approaches to the normativity question. They are the analyticity or truth-in-a-model approach; the pluralism approach; and the reffective equilibrium approach.All three of these approaches to the normativity question are seriously flawed, never mind that the first two have some substantial provenance among logicians and the third has enjoyed a flourishing philosophical career.Against these views, we propose a strong version of what might be called normatively immanent descriptivism. We attempt to elucidate its virtues and to deal with what appears to be its most central vulnerability, embodied in the plain fact that actual human behaviour is sometimes irrational. (shrink)
It is widely accepted by formal and informal logicians alike that a formal logic which, by the lights of English, gets the connectives wrong, nevertheless conspires to get entailment right—right that is, modulo English. There is a vexing problem occasioned by this semantic alienation of formal logic. It is next to impossible for formal logic to meet the expectations of realism. What, then, of informal logic?
This is an examination of similarities and differences between two recent models of abductive reasoning. The one is developed in Atocha Aliseda’s Abductive Reasoning: Logical Investigations into the Processes of Discovery and Evaluation (2006). The other is advanced by Dov Gabbay and the present author in their The Reach of Abduction: Insight and Trial (2005). A principal difference between the two approaches is that in the Gabbay-Woods model, but not in the Aliseda model, abductive inference is ignorance-preserving. A further differ-ence (...) is that Aliseda reconstructs the abduction relation in a semantic tableaux environment, whereas the Woods-Gabbay model, while less systematic, is more general. Of particular note is the connection between abduction and legal reasoning. (shrink)
Abduction is or subsumes a process of inference. It entertains possible hypotheses and it chooses hypotheses for further scrutiny. There is a large literature on various aspects of non-symbolic, subconscious abduction. There is also a very active research community working on the symbolic (logical) characterisation of abduction, which typically treats it as a form of hypothetico-deductive reasoning. In this paper we start to bridge the gap between the symbolic and sub-symbolic approaches to abduction. We are interested in benefiting from developments (...) made by each community. In particular, we are interested in the ability of non-symbolic systems (neural networks) to learn from experience using efficient algorithms and to perform massively parallel computations of alternative abductive explanations. At the same time, we would like to benefit from the rigour and semantic clarity of symbolic logic. We present two approaches to dealing with abduction in neural networks. One of them uses Connectionist Modal Logic and a translation of Horn clauses into modal clauses to come up with a neural network ensemble that computes abductive explanations in a top-down fashion. The other combines neural-symbolic systems and abductive logic programming and proposes a neural architecture which performs a more systematic, bottom-up computation of alternative abductive explanations. Both approaches employ standard neural network architectures which are already known to be highly effective in practical learning applications. Differently from previous work in the area, our aim is to promote the integration of reasoning and learning in a way that the neural network provides the machinery for cognitive computation, inductive learning and hypothetical reasoning, while logic provides the rigour and explanation capability to the systems, facilitating the interaction with the outside world. Although it is left as future work to determine whether the structure of one of the proposed approaches is more amenable to learning than the other, we hope to have contributed to the development of the area by approaching it from the perspective of symbolic and sub-symbolic integration. (shrink)
We consider connections between number sense—the ability to judge number—and the interpretation of natural language quantifiers. In particular, we present empirical evidence concerning the neuroanatomical underpinnings of number sense and quantifier interpretation. We show, further, that impairment of number sense in patients can result in the impairment of the ability to interpret sentences containing quantifiers. This result demonstrates that number sense supports some aspects of the language faculty.
Epistemology and informal logic have overlapping and broadly similar subject matters. A principle of methodological symmetry is: philosophical theories of sufficiently similar subject matters should engage similar methods. Suppose the best way to do epistemology is in highly formalized ways, with a large role for mathematical methods. The symmetry principle suggests this is also the best way to do the logic of the reasoning and argument, the subject matter of informal logic. A capitulation to mathematics is inimical to informal logicians, (...) yet formal methods and mathematical models are an emerging force in epistemology. What is to be done? What’s sauce for the goose of epistemology is sauce for the gander of informal logic. (shrink)
This volume serves as a detailed introduction for those new to the field as well as a rich source of new insights and potential research agendas for those already engaged with the philosophy of economics.
This chapter is offered as a contribution to the logic of down below. We attempt to demonstrate that the nature of human agency necessitates that there actually be such a logic. The ensuing sections develop the suggestion that cognition down below has a structure strikingly similar to the physical structure of quantum states. In its general form, this is not an idea that originates with the present authors. It is known that there exist mathematical models from the cognitive science of (...) cognition down below that have certain formal similarities to quantum mechanics. We want to take this idea seriously. We will propose that the subspaces of von Neumann-Birkhoff lattices are too crisp for modelling requisite cognitive aspects in relation to subsymbolic logic. Instead, we adopt an approach which relies on projections into nonorthogonal density states. The projection operator is motivated from cues which probe human memory. (shrink)
Notwithstanding their technical virtuosity and growing presence in mainstream thinking, game theoretic logics have attracted a sceptical question: "Granted that logic can be done game theoretically, but what would justify the idea that this is the preferred way to do it?'' A recent suggestion is that at least part of the desired support might be found in the Greek dialectical writings. If so, perhaps we could say that those works possess a kind of foundational significance. The relation of being foundational (...) for is interesting in its own right. In this paper, I explore its ancient applicability to relevant, paraconsistent and nonmonotonic logics, before returning to the question of its ancestral tie, or want of one, to the modern logics of games. (shrink)
If one looks to the current textbook lore for reliable taxonomic and analytical information about the petitio principii, one is met with conceptual disarray and much too much nonsense. The present writers have recently attempted to furnish the beginnings of a theoretical reconstruction of this fallacy which is at once faithful to its formidable complexity yet useful as guide for its detection and avoidance. The fact is that the petitio has had a lengthy and interesting history, and in this paper (...) we shall want to explore certain features of its development, such as it may have been. The principal origins of the concept of circular argument are to be found in Aristotle. The Aristotelian doctrine recurs with variations in the sophismata literature of the middle ages and in logic texts and manuals right up to the present day. (shrink)
A slippery slope argument is an argument to this twofold effect. First, that if a policy or practice P is permitted, then we lack the dialectical resources to demonstrate that a similar policy or practice P* is not permissible. Since P* is indeed not permissible, we should not endorse policy or practice P. At the heart of such arguments is the idea of dialectical impotence, the inability to stop the acceptance of apparently small deviations from a heretofore secure policy or (...) practice from leading to apparently large and unacceptable deviations. Using examples of analogical arguments and sorites arguments I examine this phenomenon in the context of collapsing taboos. (shrink)
Historically, the fallacies have been neglected as objects of systematic study. Yet, since Hamblin's famous criticism of the state of fallacy theory, a substantial literature has been produced. A large portion of this literature is the work of Douglas Walton and John Woods. This paper will deal directly with the criticism of that work which has been advanced by van Eemeren and Grootendorst, particularly the complaints found in their writings of 1992, concerning the disunification of the fallacies and the exemplaristic (...) approach of Woods and Walton's theories. It proposes a unification of the theories of Woods and Walton with that of van Eemeren and Grootendorst, and suggests that such a unification could be advantageous to both theories, and highly interesting for fallacy theory in general. (shrink)
This is an examination of the dialectical structure of deep disagreements about matters not open to empirical check. A dramatic case in point is the Law of Non-Contradiction . Dialetheists are notoriously of the view that, in some few cases, LNC has a true negation. The traditional position on LNC is that it is non-negotiable. The standard reason for thinking it non-negotiable is, being a first principle, there is nothing to negotiate. One of my purposes is to show that the (...) first-principle defence of LNC is inadequate. A second purpose is to argue that it flows from this inadequacy that LNC stands or falls on economic considerations, much in the spirit of Quine's pragmatism about logic generally. This is a tactical victory for dialetheists. It gives them room to make the case against LNC on cost-benefit grounds. As things presently stand, no such case can be considered decisive. But, given that costs and benefits shift with changing circumstances, it is possible that a winning case for the dialetheist may present itself in the future. Notwithstanding the rivalry between consistentists and dialetheists, they share a common opponent. This is trivialism, the doctrine that everything whatever is true. It is an ironic alliance, in as much as the dialetheist's case against the consistentist can be adapted to a defence of trivialism. How damaging this turns out to be depends on the adequacy of the reasons for the dialetheist's rejection of trivialism. My further purpose is to show that the damage is slighter than dialetheists commonly believe. (shrink)
A possible worlds treatment of the normal alethic modalities was, after classical model theory, logic’s most significant semantic achievement in the century just past. Kripke’s groundbreaking paper appeared in 1959 and, in the scant few succeeding years, its principal analytical tool, possible worlds, was adapted to serve a range of quite different-seeming purposes – from nonnormal logics, to epistemic and doxastic logics, deontic and temporal logics and, not much later, the logic of counterfactual conditionals. In short order, possible worlds acquired (...) a twofold reputation which has steadily enlarged to the present day. They were celebrated for both their mathematical power and their sheer versatility. This sets the stage for what I want to do here. I wish to explore the extent to which the supposed versatility of a possible worlds semantics is justified. In so doing, I shall confine my attention to its role in (1) logics of counterfactual conditionals, and (2) logics of belief. The question I pose is, why and on what grounds should we think that the device of possible worlds turns the semantic trick for these logics? My answer is that they do not turn the trick for them. Whereupon a further question presses for attention. If possible worlds semantics don’t work there, why does virtually everyone think that they do? Answering this second question is risky. Who am I to say why virtually everyone thinks that the possible worlds approach is more successful than I do? Who has vouchsafed me these powers? I shall try to mitigate the riskiness of my answer by contextualizing the evaluation of this approach in the following ways. First, the triumph of possible worlds occurred in the midst of a powerful general trend in logical theory, especially, in the past 60 years. In that period, logical theory became aggressively and widely pluralistic. Second, the versatility – the sheer ubiquity – of possible worlds as a tool of semantic and philosophical analysis, gives to possible worlds a kind of hegemonic standing.. (shrink)