ISSA Proceedings 2002 – Expert Advice And Discourse Coupling: Context-Dependent Valdation Of Model-Based Reasoning

logo  2002-1Abstract
Expert judgements often involve a coupling of different discourses, in the sense that conclusions from one discourse are transferred to another. Results from one scientific field are brought together with results from other scientific fields, and are applied to yet another field, namely that of a practical problem at hand.
As far as significant uncertainties are involved (as is almost always the case in practical problem solving), the validation within these different discourses may be very different. Sciences differ in the way claims are validated. Even much more significant differences are involved in the transfer to practical problem solving, since accepting or rejecting assumptions depends upon the consequences of whether these assumptions will later turn out to obtain or not.
I propose to explain some very common patterns of incomplete or fallacious reasoning in expert advice, patterns that involve implicit shifts of the burden of proof, as failures to notice these differences in validation context. Furthermore, I suggest that by taking into account the possible consequences of making a certain assumption (and also the evaluation of those consequences) the quality of discussions involving expert advice can be considerably improved.

1. What is so special about expert advice?
Expert advice plays a prominent role in contemporary (western) societies. Consultation of experts has become custom for almost any significant decision beyond the personal sphere (and even in the personal sphere a host of counselors is ready to offer its services). It has been known for a long time that this dependency raises a number of questions (Benveniste,1972; Fischer,1990). Is expert advice always directed at the common good? Have experts not become an elite that has taken over much of the effective decision making power from those who should legitimately make the decisions? Has the involvement of experts not resulted in a bias towards technocracy and reductionism? Has it not reinforced forms of bureaucracy?
From the point of view of argumentation studies, involvement of expert advice also introduces specific problems. A non-expert appealing to expert opinion cannot take full responsibility for its adequacy. The non-expert is principally incapable to check every link in the expert’s reasoning chain. This “black box” aspect implies a quality control problem: on what grounds can the non-expert assume that the expert’s opinion can be trusted? As far as the matter is beyond the arguer’s cognitive competence, the non-expert arguer has to resort to some kind of source credibility argument. And this directly leads back to the general questions concerning expert advice mentioned before.
These questions concerning the reliability of expert advice have become increasingly pressing since it became clear that the quality of expert advice is not only threatened by simple inaccuracy on behalf of the expert, but also by the structures of power and influence in which the advisory process is embedded. Scandals of biased, partisan or even outright corrupted expertise seem to become more and more prominent (Rampton,Stauber,2001). Read more

ISSA Proceedings 2002 – Table of Contents

Table of Contents ISSA Proceedings 2002 – work in progress

Frans H. van Eemeren, J. Anthony Blair, Charles A. Willard (eds.) – Preface
Alan W. Aldrich – Considering Culture In The Analysis Of Arguments
R. P. Alford – Leff’s Account Of The Aristotelian Roots Of The Boethian Theory Of Dialectical Reasoning: A Contemporary Reconsideration
Ruth Amossy – The Argumentative Dimension Of Discourse
Richard Andrews – Argumentation In Education: Issues Arising From Undergraduate Students’ Work
Constantin Antonopoulos – On The Use And Misuse Of Analyticity In Arguments
Satoru Aonuma – The Constitution, Critical Rhetoric, And Public Argument: The Case Of Democratic Japan
Peter D. Asquith – Cases – Their Role In Informal Logic
Albert Atkin & John E. Richardson – Constructing The (Imagined) Antagonist In Advertising Argumentation
Txetxu Ausín & Lorenzo Peña – Arguing From Facts To Duties (And Conversely)
Kevin T. Baaske & Patricia Riley – In Defense Of The Realm: Administrative Responses To Anti-Globalization Argumentation
Michael Baker, Matthieu Quignard, Kristine Lund – UMR 5612 GRIC, Groupe de Recherches sur les Interactions Communicatives, Équipe Interaction & Cognition, C.N.R.S. & Université Lumière Lyon 2 & Marije van Amelsvoort – Department of Educational Sciences, Utrecht University – Designing – A Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Situation For Broadening And Deepening Understanding Of The Space Of Debate
Susan Balter-Reitz – She Blinded Me With Science: Material Argument In The Indianapolis Children’s Museum
Gregory Bassham  – Linked And Independent Premises: A New Analysis
Shawn Batt – The National Education Reform Debate And The Rhetoric Of The Contrarians
Sandra Bégoin-Augereau & Josiane Caron-Pargue  – Linguistic Criteria For Demarcation And Hierarchical Organization Of Episodes In A Problem Solving Task
Hilde van Belle – Two Ways Of Analysing A ‘Light Mix’ Newspaper Article
Keith Berry –  Cut-Ups, Slams And Jabs: Verbal Aggressiveness Or Politeness?
Stefano Bertea – Legal Argumentation Theory And The Concept Of Law
Barbara A. Biesecker – Technologies Of Truth And National Trauma:  Revisiting The Enola Gay Controversy
Frans A.J. Birrer – Expert Advice And Discourse Coupling: Context-Dependent Valdation Of Model-Based Reasoning
V. William Balthrop & Carole Blair – – Discursive Collisions: A Reading Of  “Ellen’s Energy Adventure”
J. Anthony Blair – The Relationships Among Logic, Dialectic And Rhetoric
George Boger – Formal Logic’s Contribution To The Study Of Fallacies
Lilit Brutian – On The Pragmatics Of Argumentative Discourse
Andrew J. Burgess – Religious Argument As Enthymeme: Aristotle, Paul, And Anselm
Ann E. Burnette & Wayne L. Kraemer – Making The Case For War: Bush’s Rhetorical Validation Of America’s Action

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