A sketch of the arguments for adding the logic of evaluation to the areas of argumentation that have been partly mapped and are worth further work by workers in rhetoric, argumentation, communication, critical thinking, and informal logic. Brief coverage of: the arguments that there cannot be any legitimate logic of evaluation; of the nature of evaluation ; and of the technical apparatus of evaluation logic.
Fallacies are the ‘ideal types of improper inference’, named only because they represent a common or seductive error. Naming them facilitates identification (reducing ‘false negatives’ in argument evaluation), but increases the risk of false positives; it is essentially a cost-effectiveness issue whether to introduce a new name. Statistical fallacies include errors of elementary experimental design, but also conceptual confusions, e.g. of cause with correlation, of association with guilt, where an illicit substitution is made. The focus here is on recent nationwide (...) efforts to replace criteria of merit with correlates of success, in the evaluation of teaching. This involves a number of mistakes, including ‘precipitate decision’, confusing the normative with the descriptive, and using minimax when optimizing or maximin is appropriate, as well as various legal and ethical blunders. (shrink)
Part of logic consists in uncovering ways in which logical processes of great universality and utility are over-extended, e.g., in the misguided search for the cause of everything. It is suggested here that the search for missing premises defined as premises that make a deduction out of every argument has its own limits of sense. While often useful, it is sometimes just wrongly used by requiring that the reconstructed argument have the same categorical conclusion as the original one; and sometimes (...) inappropriately used when the argument itself does not rest upon assumptions different from itself. (shrink)
Comparative or limited-field assessments of aesthetic merit can often be fairly easily defended. This paper is concerned with the more difficult problem of supporting absolute judgments of merit about art. Most people think they have an answer to this problem and express or presuppose it when they say, “Modern art is junk,” or “The gigantic stature of Mondrian is more easily recognized when one is able to examine more than a hundred works by him in a single show,” or “I (...) know everything about art but I don’t know what to like.”. (shrink)
It is not an easy work to read, the phrasing being rather complicated, and the topics at times repetitious and intertwined; but great works do not have to be easy texts. It is the first of a proposed pair, its role being indicated by the sub-title: Problems in the Logic of Scientific Explanation. The next volume is to deal with the analysis of scientific concepts and inference. In the present work we may distinguish three groups of chapters. The first group (...) centers around certain structural concepts, particularly science, explanation and law. The second concerns problems of the physical sciences and the third is about social and biological sciences. It is entirely absurd to attempt a thorough review of the whole work in less than a work of comparable length particularly in view of the highly technical character of substantial parts of it. Another reviewer has already decided on the same grounds to restrict his attention to the second part. I shall concentrate on the first and third. I am particularly sensible that the comments which follow, when critical, are reflections of an alternative possible construal rather than objective demonstrations of error. (shrink)