Argumentation Schemes for Presumptive Reasoning

By Douglas N. Walton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

Recent work in informal logic and argumentation has come to rely more and more on the idea that certain common forms of argumentation--like argument from precedent, argument from authority, argument from analogy, and so forth1--are, in some instances, "valid" or correct modes of reasoning. If so, they must have structures or "forms." But what are these forms of argument, or so-called argumentation schemes? That is the question addressed in this book.

Following the usual methods of logic, we would expect to find logical calculi, systems of propositional calculus, or the probability calculus, that would model these types of reasoning as valid or invalid. However, we will argue that this approach, at least by itself, is not the answer.2 Instead, we hope to show, these argumentation schemes can best be revealed as normatively binding kinds of reasoning when seen as moves, or speech acts in the setting of dialogue. In this pragmatic framework, two participants are reasoning together in a goal-directed, interactive, conventionalized framework called a dialogue. An argument is evaluated as good (correct, reasonable) to the extent that it contributes to the goal of the dialogue. An argument is evaluated as bad (incorrect, fallacious) to the extent that it blocks the goals of the dialogue.

According to this type of analysis, each of the types of argumentation modelled will have a distinctive argumentation scheme (structure, form) that allows it to function as a way of making a point or shifting a burden of proof in a dialogue.


NEED FOR A SYSTEMATIC STUDY

The reliance on argumentation schemes as a central component in the normative structure of argument evaluation and analysis by theorists like van Eemeren and Grootendorst ( 1984; 1992) has acutely raised the need for a more systematic study of these schemes. In particular, what is vital is to see whether or how these schemes can function--like the forms of argument in deductive logic--to test or verify that instances of them in natural language argumentation are in some sense correct or reasonable. Although the term valid does not seem to be quite the right word to use with many of these argumentation schemes, still, when they are rightly or appropriately used, it appears that they are meeting some kind of standard of correctness of use. What is important to come to know is what this standard is, for the most common and widely recognized schemes especially, and how each of the schemes can be tested against this standard.

____________________
1
See chapter 3 for an account of the types of argumentation studied.
2
See van Eemeren and Grootendorst ( 1989).

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Argumentation Schemes for Presumptive Reasoning
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Lea Titles in Argumentation ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Presumptive Reasoning 17
  • Chapter Three - the Argumentation Schemes 46
  • Chapter Four - Argument from Ignorance 111
  • Concluding Remarks 131
  • Chapter Five - Ignoring Qualifications 133
  • Chapter Six - Argument from Consequences 168
  • Author Index 212
  • Subject Index 214
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