This paper criticizes the pragma-dialectical conception of a fallacy, according to which a fallacy is an argumentative speech act which violates one or more of the rules of 'rational discussion'. That conception is found to be neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for committing a fallacy. It is also found wanting in several other respects.
This paper is a critical assessment of argumentum ad baculum, or appeal to force. Its principal contention is that, contrary to common opinion, there is no general fallacy of ad baculum. Most real-life ad baculums are, in fact, fairly strong. A basic logical form for reconstructed ad baculums is proposed, and a number of heterodoxical conclusions are also advanced and argued for. They include that ad baculum is not necessarily a prudential argument, that ad baculum need not involve force, violence, (...) or threats, and that one can argue ad baculum to oneself. The starting point of the paper, however, is a critical evaluation of three ad baculums from the exercise sets of Irving Copi's well-known Introduction to Logic. (shrink)
This paper is a critical examination of the so-called slippery slope argument for the conservative position on abortion. The argument was discussed in the philosophic literature some time back, but has since fallen into disfavor. The argument is first exposed and a general objection to it is advanced, then rebutted. Rosalind Hursthouse's more detailed and stronger objection is next aired, but also found less than convincing. In the course of discussing her objection, the correct form of the argument is identified, (...) and it's noted that rejection of the argument requires finding fault with its inductive premise. That, in turn, requires either (a) identifying and defending a cutoff point other than conception, or (b) not identifying a cutoff point but directly attacking the argument's conclusion. As far as (a) is concerned, all except one alternative cutoff point have severe problems that have been well discussed in the literature. The one that doesn't, the appearance of the ‘primitive streak’, is examined in detailed, but ultimately rejected. As for (b), five different grounds for rejecting the conclusion are identified and discussed, but none is found plausible. Variations on the slippery slope argument, concerning different conclusions that it may have, are then distinguished, related to each other, and critically discussed, and the paper ends with some cautionary remarks about the defense of the argument tendered. (shrink)
One form of argument from analogy is identified and Stephen Barker's remarks about a second kind of argument from analogy, non-inductive (and non-deductive) argument from analogy, are used as a springboard to identify a second form. That form is then refined, explained, exemplified, and related to the first form. It is argued that there is a spectrum of different forms of argument from analogy, with the two forms identified being end points on the spectrum. Except in terms of form, however, (...) there is no reason to speak of two different kinds of argument from analogy. (shrink)
With his clear and accessible prose, impeccable scholarship, and balanced Judgment, Roland Teske, SJ, has been an influential and important voice in Medieval philosophy for more than thirty years. This volume, in his honour, brings together more than a dozen essays on central metaphysical and theological themes in Augustine and other medieval thinkers. The authors, listed below, are noted scholars who draw upon Teskes work, reflect on it, go beyond it, and at times even disagree with it, but always in (...) a spirit of respectful co-operation, and always with the aim of getting at the truth. Essays on Augustine contributed by Gerald Bonner, Charles Brittain, Joseph Koterski, SJ, Joseph T. Lienhard, SJ, David Vincent Meconi, SJ, Ann A. Pang-White, Frederick Van Fleteren, Dorothea Weber, and James Wetzel. Essays on Bernard of Clairvaux, William of Auvergne, and other medieval themes contributed by John P. Doyle, William Harmless, SJ, John A. Laumakis, Edward P. Mahoney, and Philipp W. Rosemann. (shrink)
This, the latest volume in The Douglas Walton Encyclopedia of Argumentation—well, it's starting to look like that, anyway—is primarily concerned with four purported fallacies that involve an appeal to emotion: ad populum, ad misericordiam, ad baculum, and ad hominem. In very rough outline, the layout of the book is this. After some preliminary remarks about the four fallacies in the first chapter, and some remarks about the theoretical framework he will be working with in the second, Walton devotes a chapter (...) apiece to each of the four in the order indicated above. A seventh chapter focuses on “borderline cases,” in which more than one of the so-called fallacies is involved, and an eighth summarizes and refines the findings of earlier chapters. As is obvious, The Place of Emotion is well organized; and, as would be a safe inference for anyone acquainted with any of Walton's work, it is written in a readily accessible and unpretentious style: a plain style, in the best sense of the term. Walton has something to say, and it's virtually impossible to miss it—and that independently of the fact that this book, like a number of his others, is somewhat repetitive. The Place of Emotion is one of those rare books that a specialist in a field would find of interest, but that could also be taught in an undergraduate course. (shrink)