Appeal to Expert Opinion: Arguments from Authority

By Douglas Walton | Go to book overview

4
FORM OF THE ARGUMENT

Now that I have roughly identified the kind of argumentation that has been broadly targeted as the area of concern with the appeal to expert opinion, the next questions to be asked are, more precisely: What type of argument is it, and does it have a general form or structure? Does it have some clearly identifiable abstract pattern or argumentation scheme that characterizes the standard correct form of its premises and conclusion? The first steps in moving toward a method of evaluating this type of argument are to identify such a form and determine whether it is a deductive, inductive, or some other recognizable type of argument.

There are two sources of hypotheses in investigating this matter. One lies in computer science, where the technology of expert systems has been remarkably successful in recent years ( Waterman 1986). This now widely used technology provides many interesting structural insights on how argumentation using appeals to an expert source works as a type of reasoning that can be programmed. As we will see, however, the current computerized expert systems may not model the kinds of appeals to (mostly human) experts we are concerned with in all respects (at least very well or completely), although some of the basic concepts that define expert systems utilization as a kind of reasoning

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Appeal to Expert Opinion: Arguments from Authority
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - THE PROBLEM OF AUTHORITY 1
  • 2 - HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 32
  • 4 - FORM OF THE ARGUMENT 91
  • 5 - DIALECTICAL ASPECTS 126
  • 6 - EXPERT TESTIMONY AS LEGAL EVIDENCE 167
  • 8 - EXPLAINING THE FALLACY 230
  • Index 273
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