ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ A Formal Model Of Conductive Reasoning

Abstract: I propose a formal model of representation and numerical evaluation of conductive arguments. Such arguments consist not only of pro-premises supporting a claim, but also of contra-premises denying this claim. Offering a simple and intuitive alternative to accounts developed in the area of computational models of argument, the proposed model recognizes internal structure of arguments, allows infinitely many degrees of acceptability, reflects the cumulative nature of convergent reasoning, and enables to interpret attack relation.

Keywords: argument evaluation, argument structure, attack relation, conductive reasoning, logical force of argument, rebuttal.

1. Introduction
According to Wellman’s original definition (1971) the conclusion of any conductive argument is drawn inconclusively from its premises. Moreover, the premises and the conclusion are about one and the same individual case, i.e. the conclusion is drawn without appeal to any other case. Wellman also gave three leading examples of conductive arguments, which determine three patterns of conduction:

(1) You ought to help him for he has been very kind to you.
(2) You ought to take your son to the movie because you promised, and you have nothing better to do this afternoon.
(3) Although your lawn needs cutting, you want to take your son to the movies because the picture is ideal for children and will be gone by tomorrow.

Wellman’s definition was an object of many interesting views, opinions and interpretations, mostly surveyed in (Blair & Johnson 2011). However, we do not discuss this issue here, but we simply follow these authors who, as Walton & Gordon (2013), focus on the third pattern and propose to take conductive arguments to be the same as pro-contra arguments. Such arguments, except of a normal pro-premise or premises (The picture is ideal for children; It will be gone by tomorrow), have also a con-premise or premises (Your lawn needs cutting).

In the next two chapters we analyze conductive arguments from the logical point of view. The conduction is regarded here as one act of reasoning, in which a conclusion is drawn by the same time from both types of premises. In Chapter 2 we describe the structure and in Chapter 3 – a method of evaluation of conductive arguments. This method is based on the model of argument proposed in (Selinger 2014). In Chapter 4 we introduce a dialectical component of the analysis. Namely, by means of our model, we discuss definition of attack relation holding between arguments. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Think Twice: Fallacies And Dual-Process Accounts Of Reasoning

Abstract: This paper presents some ideas of how to conceptualize thinking errors from a cognitive point of view. First, it describes the basic ideas of dual-process theories, as they are discussed in cognitive psychology. Next, it traces the sources of thinking errors within a dual-process framework and shows how these ideas might be useful to explain the occurrence of traditional fallacies. Finally, it demonstrates how this account captures thinking errors beyond the traditional paradigm of fallacies.

Keywords: fallacies, thinking errors, dual process theories, cognitive processes

1. Introduction
The last three decades have seen a rapid growth of research on fallacies in argumentation theory, on the one hand, and on heuristics and biases in cognitive psychology, on the other hand. Although the domains of these two lines of research strongly overlap, there are only scarce attempts to integrate insights from cognitive psychology into argumentation theory and vice versa (Jackson, 1995; Mercier & Sperber, 2011; O’Keefe, 1995; Walton, 2010). This paper contributes an idea on how to theorize about traditional fallacies on the basis of dual-process accounts of cognition.

2. Dual-process accounts of cognition
The basic idea of dual process theories is that there are at least two different types of cognitive processes or cognitive systems (Evans & Stanovich, 2013; Kahneman, 2011; Stanovich, 2011). System 1 consists of cognitive processes that are fast, automatic and effortless. System 1 is driven by intuitions, associations, stereotypes, and emotions. Here are some examples: When you associate the picture of the Eiffel Tower with ‘Paris’, when you give the result of ‘1+1’, or when you are driving on an empty highway, then System 1 is at work. System 2, in contrast, consists of processes that are rather slow, controlled and effortful. System 2 is able to think critically, to follow rules, to analyse exceptions, and to make sense of abstract ideas. Some examples include: backing into a parking space, calculating the result of ‘24×37’, and finding a guy with glasses, red-and-white striped shirt, and a bobble hat in a highly detailed panorama illustration. These processes take effort and concentration. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Changes In The Use Of The Question When Teaching To Argue In Sciences

Abtract : This study shows the changes identified in the type of questions used by an elementary school teacher, who participated in a process of critical reflection on the teaching of argumentation in science class. In this study, three classes were recorded (before, during and after the process), and after discourse analysis realized to information collected, the results show how the teacher understands the importance of combining different kinds of questions: descriptive, causal and evaluative, questions.

Keywords: Argumentation, reflective critical process, science education,

1. Introduction
The importance of argumentation in the science class is supported by numerous studies. On the one hand, some research shows that students involved in argumentative activities can better understand how science is produced and validated (Driver et al. 2000, Osborne et al. 2004), while improving their communication skills (Kuhn & Udell, 2003). These findings justify giving a priority to discourse practices and, specifically, argumentative processes in school settings. On the other hand, despite the fact that there are many studies highlighting how teachers’ thinking influences classroom practices (Benarroch & Marin, 2011; Ireland, Watters, Brownlee & Lupton, 2011; Gunstone et al, 1993; Lebak & Tinsley, 2010 , Milner, Sondergeld, Demir, Johnson & Czerniak, 2012; Porlan et al., 2010, Smart & Marsall, 2012), few studies try to identify how teachers promote classroom argumentation and understand how the teachers’ thinking, related to what it is supposed to be argued in science, influences the way to promote classroom argumentation.

Also, we know that the argumentation as a social practice demands that the teaching of the sciences must be focus in the importance and relevance at least of two components. First, the epistemic; the acknowledgement of the role of the argumentation in the construction of the science is taken as a central element. The second component: the social, requires offering spaces to promote debate and work in small groups to give the possibility to listen to the other and to establish their own ideas.

In this sense, the question becomes one of the possible tools to support these previous aspects: the epistemic and the social. The first one because the scientific knowledge advances when it asks questions which establish a dialogue about theory and observable phenomenon, allowing to explain, to structure and to change the condition of a theory, (Kuhn, 2010; McDonald & McRobbie, 2012; Milne 2012; Osborne, Erduran & Simon, 2004; Sardà & Sanmartí, 2000). The second one; because in order to try to rebuild scholar scientific knowledge; it is mandatory to provide classroom social interactive moments (Mercer, 1997), to foster in the students not only the interest but also the motivation to establish their own questions, problems and basic actions of the “to do science” (Márquez & Roca, 2006).

From this perspective, the research tries to identify the changes in the kinds of questions worked by an elementary school teacher who participates in a critical reflexive process about the teaching of the argumentation in the science class. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Current Trends In Educational Research On Argumentation. What Comes After Toulmin?

Abstract: Although many education researchers exclusively use Toulmin´s model, more and more scholars opt for other Informal logic tools, such as dialogue models or argumentation schemes. The present paper describes this tendency of slowly moving from Toulmin to other models and gives a narrow focus to those articles that use other argument models than Toulmin´s to analyze and assess students and/or teachers´ arguments. As a final contribution, we provide a taxonomy of argumentation tools used in educational research in relation to a number of variables such as type of task, age of participants, disciplinary subject, and main skills assessed as significant.

Keywords: argument analysis and assessment, education, skills, taxonomy, tools, Toulmin.

1. Introduction
Since the early beginning of the informal-plausible logic theories as a counter-balance to the existing formal-deductive ones, scholars from the informal logic field have made suggestions on how argumentation should be instructed, or what is important when teaching argumentation (e.g. Voss & Means, 1991; Voss, Perkins, & Segal, 1991). In its almost 50 years of existence, if we consider Kahane´s ¨Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric” (1971) as the first official informal logic manuscript as proposed by Johnson (2000), informal logic has expanded into many schools of thought, especially regarding how informal arguments should be analyzed and assessed. Among them, we distinguish the following for their applicability in education research and practice: dialogue analysis, which focuses on argument as a dialogical process taking place in a specific dialogue context in which participants make a series of “moves” forming strategic sequences or even a dialogue game (e.g. Felton & Kuhn, 2001; De Vries, Lund, & Baker, 2002; Felton, 2004; Mcalister, Ravenscroft, & Scanlon, 2004; Prakken, 2005); argumentation schemes, which is a device that aims to formalize (in the sense of giving structure to) everyday arguments mostly related to plausible reasoning (e.g. Walton, 1996; van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 2004; Walton, Reed, & Macagno, 2008; Rigotti & Morasso, 2010); and dialectics and pragmadialectics, which apply in conflict argumentative contexts where one of the opposing views is more sound or acceptable than the other(s) (e.g. Barth & Krabbe, 1982; Walton & Krabbe, 1995; van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 2004).

Notwithstanding the plethora of informal logic tools and methods of analysis and assessment proposed, there is a remarkable tendency among educational researchers to apply Toulmin´s Argumentation Pattern (TAP) as it was proposed in the late fifties (Toulmin, 1958). TAP´s main original contribution was to oppose to the mathematical standards in logic at the time. From an informal logic perspective, TAP is still considered an acceptable method, as several contemporary authors have successfully addressed questions that Toulmin´s model had provoked (see Hitchcock & Verheij, 2005, for an overview). In the field of education, some of the reasons for its predominance are the following: a) its strong connection with science and scientific reasoning (Duschl & Osborne, 2002); b) its success in coding large data protocols (Voss, 2005); and c) its easiness to use as a measurement of both teaching and learning performance (Erduran, Simon, & Osborne, 2004). On the other hand, TAP also received several criticisms, such as: a) the model concentrates on the proponent (Leitao, 2000), b) it can be difficult to structure reasoning in real time (Simon, Erduran, & Osborne, 2006), c) we should study argumentation in a more holistic and emergent manner rather than imposing an existing analytical pattern such as TAP (Sampson & Clark, 2009), and d) the scheme is restricted to short arguments and the categories impose ambiguities (Kelly, Druker, & Chen, 1998). Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Linguistic Argumentation As A Shortcut For The Empirical Study Of Argumentative Strategies

Abstract: A recent interest for the empirical observation of argumentation through institutional practices was underlined by van Eemeren (2010). Since discourses give empirical hints which inform the observer on the institutional conventionalized practices involved in the study of strategic manoeuvring, there must be ways of describing meaning which allows to account for the dynamics of this field: a study of these ways is the object of this paper.

Keywords: empirical study of strategic manoeuvring, experiments in semantics, utterance meaning, sentence meaning, empirical observation of institutional practices, indirect observation, inhabited words, points of view, viewpoints semantics.

1. Introduction
Research in argumentation has acknowledged the important role of discourse in the study of argumentative strategies and manoeuvring. This acknowledgement is not recent; however, more recent is the inclusion, within the possible objects of research on argumentation, of the relationship between institutional contexts and argumentative discourse, via conventionalized institutional practices. The recent interest for the empirical observation of argumentation through institutional practices was underlined by van Eemeren (2010, p. 129) in these terms:

… the term argumentation [… also refers to] an empirical phenomenon that can be observed in a multitude of communicative practices which are recognized as such by the arguers. Because these communicative practices are generally connected with specific kinds of institutional contexts […] they have become conventionalized. Due to this context-dependency of communicative practices, the possibilities for strategic manoeuvring in argumentative discourse in such practices are in some respects determined by the institutional preconditions prevailing in the communicative practice concerned.

This new interest for an empirical approach to the relationship between institutional contexts and argumentative strategies, via communicative practices linked to institutional preconditions, opens a wide and important field of research, as van Eemeren convincingly shows it in his 2010 book.

As van Eemeren pointed out, the empirical study of this multidimensional space is possible because, among other reasons, all the terms of these relations are, at least partially, observable through discourse. Since discourse gives empirical hints to grasp the different facets of this space, it may be argued that there may be a way of describing meaning, which would allow to account, at lest partially, for the dynamics of those relations: this would provide a sort of shortcut to the description of argumentative strategies, as they are partially in-formed by the institutions. Obviously, such a shortcut lives aside an enormous part of the field opened by the abovementioned remarks. Nevertheless, for one who is ‘only’ interested in a better description of the semantics of natural languages, it offers interesting and rich perspectives.

This is what this paper is intended to show. We will also see that this shortcut is not a completely new idea in semantics: I will examine how several ideas borrowed from the paradigm of Argumentation Within Language can be adapted to an empirical study of the relationship between argumentation and the institutional constraints. Finally, I defend the idea that this shortcut is useful also for the one who is engaged in the complete study of the field: since most of what is observable in that field is discourse, it may be useful to make explicit the reasoning which compels to describe the institutional conventions the way we do. A rigorous semantic description is more than useful for this purpose.

Among the various ways of describing meaning that might meet those requirements, I emphasize the interest of several aspects of the so called “View-Point Semantics” (VPS), partially inspired by Mikhaïl Bakhtin’s work on the “inhabited” character of natural language words (see, for instance, Bakhtin (1929, p. 279), as well as by Oswald Ducrot’s work on the semantic constraints on argumentative orientation and strength (see, for instance, Ducrot (1988)). In particular, I insist on the technique it provides for, so to speak, extracting ideological and cultural preconditions from discourses, which inform the observer on the institutional conventionalized practices. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Transparency In Legal Argumentation: Adapting To A Composite Audience In Administrative Judicial Decisions

Abstract: An important topic in the debate about transparency of the administration of justice includes the communicative function of judicial decisions. This function should be conceived as the judge’s aim to have his argumentation understood (the communicative effect), as well as to have it accepted (the interactional effect). In this paper I will analyse how the judge may maneuver strategically to achieve these effects on a composite audience. The analysis focuses on the communicative activity type of administrative judicial decisions.

Keywords: administrative law, audience demand, composite audience, judicial decisions, legal argumentation, legal opinions, Role-shifting.

1. Introduction
In a recent study (Broeders, Prins and Griffioen, 2013) that was conducted by the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) it is argued that there is a need for `a more contemporary transparency of the administration of justice relative to the different ‘outside worlds’ with which it comes into contact.’ According to this study, the need for transparency has become urgent because of changes in society under the influence of globalisation, individualisation and populism. One of the topics in the debate about transparency includes the communicative function of judicial decisions.

From an argumentation theoretical perspective, the communicative function of a judicial decision should not only be conceived as the judge’s aim to have the argumentation underlying his decision understood (the communicative effect), but also to have his argumentation accepted (the interactional effect). The judge may be expected to have the intention to achieve these effects on the parties to the proceedings, his immediate addressees, as well as on a broader audience. Long before the current debate on transparency, literature on legal (argumentation) theory and on decision writing emphasized that, apart from the litigants in the case, the audience of the judge consists of members of the legal community (other judges, lawyers interested the decision), law students and the general public. In order to address such a so-called composite audience (van Eemeren, 2010) in his justification of the decision, the judge may make use of different techniques when maneuvering strategically.

A recent pilot study carried out in administrative courts in the Netherlands demonstrates that judges do at times, indeed, attempt to address a composite audience when justifying their decisions. In this contribution I will clarify which audiences may be addressed in administrative judicial decisions. Then I will analyse the way in which a judge may manoeuvre strategically to adjust his argumentation to these audiences. In view of this analysis I will start with a first attempt to characterize administrative judicial decisions as an argumentative activity type. Read more

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