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Understanding Arguments

Article · January 1995

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FIFTH E D I T I O N

UNDERSTANDING ARGUMENTS
An Introduction to Informal Logic

Robert J. Fogelin
Dartmouth College

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Dartmouth College

DUOC OIA HA ; l 6 l 1|
C A I HOC C
TRUNGTAMTriS

Harcourt Brace College Publishers


Fort Worth Philadelphia San Diego New York Orlando Austin San Antonio
Toronto Montreal London Sydney Tokyo
CONTENTS

PREFACE. . vu

PART O N E The Analysis of Argument i


Chapter One THE WEB OF LANGUAGE 3
Language and Argument 4
Language and Convention 4
Levels of Language 5
Linguistic Acts 5
Speech Acts 6
Performatives 7
Kinds of Speech Acts 10
Making Statements 11
Speech-Ad Rules 12
Conversational Acts 15
Conversational Rules 17
Conversational Implication 19
The Pervasiveness of Conversational Implicatimi 20
Violating Ccmversatianal Rules 21
Conversational Implication and Rhetorical Devices 23
Deception 27
An Overview 29

Chapter Two THE LANGUAGE OF ARGUMENT 31


T h e Basic Structure of Arguments 32
If . . . T h e n 34
Arguments in Standard Form 35
Validity, Truth, and Soundness 36
Validity 36
Trudi 37
Soundness 37
A Problem and Some Solutions 40
Assuring 41
Guarding 42
Discounting 43
Argumentative Performatives 45
Evaluative Language 47
Persuasive Definitions 51
Euphemism and Spin Doctoring 52
Figurative Language 55
Contents

Chapter Three THE ART OF CLOSE ANALYSIS 57

Chapter Four DEEP ANALYSIS 91


Getting Down to Basics 92
Clarifying Crucial Terms 94
Dissecting the Argument 94
Arranging Subarguments 96
Suppressed Premises 98
Shared Facts 98
Linguistic Principles 101
Other Kinds of Suppressed Premises 102
The Use of Suppressed Premises 102
The Method of Reconstruction 104
Digging Deeper 105
Advanced Section: Capital Punishment 107
Conclusion 113

Chapter Fine THE FORMAL ANALYSIS OF ARGUMENTS:


PROPOSITIONAL LOGIC 115
Validity and the Formal Analysis of Arguments 116
Propositional Logic 116
Conjunction 116
Validity for Conjunction 120
Disjunction 123
Negation 124
How Truth-Functional Connectives Work 125
Testing for Validity 127
Some Further Connectives 131
Summary « 133
Conditionals 134
Truth Tables for Conditionals 135
Logical Language and Everyday Language 140
Other Conditionals in Ordinary Language 144
Necessary and Sufficient Conditions 148
Problems in Distinguishing Sufficient Conditions from
Necessary Conditions 150

Chapter Six THE FORMAL ANALYSIS OF ARGUMENTS:


CATEGORICAL LOGIC 155
Beyond Propositional Logic 156
Categorical Propositions 156
The Four Basic Categorical Forms 159
Contents XJ

Translation into die Basic Categorical Forms 161


Contradictories 164
Existential Commitment 165
Validity for Arguments Containing Categorical Propositions 166
Immediate Inferences 168
The Theory of the Syllogism 171
Venn Diagrams for Syllogisms 173
The Validity of Syllogisms 173
Problems in Applying the Theory of the Syllogism 178
Appendix A: The Classical Theory 179
The Classical Square of Opposition 182
Contradictories 183
Contraries 183
Subcontraries 184
Subalterns 184
The Classical Theory of Immediate Inference 186
The Classical Theory of Syllogisms 187
Appendix B: Immediate Inferences with Complementary Classes 189
Obvcrsion 190
Contraposition 192
Appendix C: A System of Rules for Evaluating Syllogisms 195
Quality 196
Quantity 196
Distribution 196
The Rules 197

Chapter Seven T H E FORMAL ANALYSIS OF ARGUMENTS:


QJJANTIFICATIONAL L O G I C 201
Combining Two Branches of Logic 202
The Introduction of Quantifiers 202
Limited Domains 205
More-Elaborate A, E, I, and O Propositions 206
Relations and Multiple Quantifiers 208
Scope Fallacies 211
Validity for Arguments with Quantifiers 212
Rudimentary Quantificational Logic 212
Instantiations of Quantified Propositions 213
Universal Instantiation 214
Existential Generalization 217
Universal Generalization 218
Existential Instantiation 221
Contents

Appfication to Immediate Inferences and Syllogisms 224


Application to Noncategorical Arguments 225
Arguments Containing Individual Constants 228
A General Rule for RQL 232
The Limits of RQL 233

Chapter E i ^ INDUCTIVE REASONING 235


Induction versus Deduction 236
Inductive Generalizations 240
Should We Accept the Premises? 240
Is the Sample Large Enough? 241
Is the Sample Biased in Other Ways? 242
Sources of Bias 243
Prejudice and Stereotypes ..'. 244
Slanted Questions 244
Informed Judgmental Heuristics 244
7 ^ Representative Heuristic 245
The Availability Heuristic 246
Is the Situation Sufficiendy Standard to Allow the Use of
Informal Judgmental Heuristics? 247
Summary 247
Statistical Syllogisms 248
Reasoning about Causes 251
Causal Generalizations 252
Testing General Causal Conditionals 253
Sufficient Conditions and Necessary Conditions 254
The Sufficient-Condition Test 254
The Necessary-Condition Test ^ 255
Rigorous Testing 257
Advanced Section: Some Elaborations 258
Negative Conditions 258
Complex Ccmdihons 259
Applying These Methods 259
.Hormality 260
Background Assumptions 260
A Detailed Example 262
Calling Tilings Causes 265
Concomitant Variation 267
Inferences to the Best Ejtplanaaon 271
Arguments from Analogy 275
Contents XJil

Chapter Mine TAKING CHANCES 283


The Language of Probability 284
A Priori Probability 284
Some Laws of Probability 286
Expected Monetary Value 290
Expected Relative Value 292
The Gambler's Fallacy 294
Regression to the Mean 295
Strange Things Happen 296
Some Puzzles Concerning Probability 297
Appendix: Answers to Probability Puzzles 301

Chapter Ten FALLACIES 303


What Is a Fallacy? 304
Fallacies of Clarity 304
Vagueness 304
Heaps 307
Conceptual Slippery-Slope Arguments 308
Fairness Slippery-Slope Arguments 310
Causal Slippery-Slope Arguments 312
Ambiguity 318
Fallacies of Ambiguity 322
Definitions 329
The Role of Definitions 331
Fallacies of Relevance 333
Arguments Ad Hominem 334
Appeals to Authority 340
More Fallacies of Relevance 344
Fallacies of Vacuity 347
CirciJar Reasoning 347
Begging the Question 348
Self-Sealers 353

Chapter Eleven OTHER USES OF ARGUMENTS 359


Refutations 360
That's Just Like Arguing 360
Counterexamples 366
Reductio ad Absurdtmi 373
Attacking Straw Men 377
System and Simplicity 379
Explanations 380
Excuses 384
Xiv Content!

P A R T T W O Areas o f A r g u m e n t a t i o n 389

Chapter Twelve LEGAL ARGUMENTS 391


Components of Legal Reasoning 392
Questions of Fact 392
Questions of Law 393
Statutes 394
The Constitution 395
Precedents 395
The Law of Discrimination 404
Plessy V. Ferguson 405
From Plessy to Brawn 408
Brown i>. Board of Education 409
From Brawn to Bakke 413
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke 415
Summary 424
Burden of Proof 425

Chapter Thirteen MORAL ARGUMENTS 433


The Problem of Abortion 434
What Is die Problem? 434
The Conservative Argument 435
Liberal Responses 437
Analogical Reasonings in Ethics 441
Weighing Factors 444
"A Defense of Abortion." Judith Jarvis Thomson 445
"Why Abortion Is Immoral," Don Marquis 458

Chapter Fourteen SciENTmc REASONING » 479


Standard Science 480
Conflicting Scientific Interpretations 481
"Dialogue Concerning the T w o World Systems-Ptolemaic and
Copcmican." Galileo Galilei 483
What Killed the Dinosaurs? 490
"An Elxtraterrestrial Impact." Walter Alvarez and Frank Asaro 491
"A Volcanic Eruption." Vincent E. Courtillot 500

Chapter Fifteen PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTS 511


"Computing .Machinery ;iiid Intelligence." A.M. Turing 512
"Minds. Brains, and Programs," John R. Searle 523

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