A. Popular conceptions of argumentation as unpleasant and quarrelsome need to be set aside, due to its contemporary English usage.
B. Arguing is effective reasoning, or reason giving. This is done in order to accomplish one of the following;
- Reasons are justifications or support for claims or beliefs that we endorse. This justification of claims is an important middle step to gain audience assent.
- Rationality is the ability to engage in reason giving.
- The alternative to reason giving is to accept or reject claims on whim or command. Among other fallacies that can arise, these claims can be liable to subjective bias.
- Arguments are not offered in a vacuum. Instead, to an active partner that enjoys a comparatively similar sense of logic.
- Success ultimately depends on the assent and agreement of an audience, or at least its majority.
- Assent is based on audience acceptance of the reasoning, via logical deduction from the premises you laid out.
- Hence argumentation is one way in which we attempt to persuade.
II. Argumentation is a common but imperiled activity.
A. So. Argumentation is the practice of giving reasons to justify claims, seeking the assent of audience. It is sometimes thought that, because everyone does it, argumentation does not require careful study.
- Argumentation indeed is pervasive in daily life. WE DO IT ALL THE TIME!
- It occurs everywhere from informal encounters between people to the formally structured debate.
- People increasingly interact only with those who agree with them.
- Differences of opinion are treated as unbridgeable.
- The result is to weaken opportunities for compromise, deliberation, and mutual understanding.
- Argumentation is the antidote.
III. Argumentation is both a product and a process.
- Messages are both explicit and implicit.
- They are capable of being cast into language.
- They are capable of analysis and appraisal.
- Argumentation is an interaction in which people maintain what they think are mutually exclusive positions, and they seek to resolve their disagreement.
- They seek to convince each other, but at the same time they are open to influence themselves.
- We study how they go about convincing others and how their efforts might be more productive.
A. From rhetoric we derive our concern with the audience.
- Today, rhetoric often has negative connotations, including insincerity, vacuity, bombast, and ornamentation.
- The classical understanding of rhetoric is the study of how messages influence people; it focuses on the development and communication of knowledge between speakers and listeners.
- “Thinking rhetorically” means reasoning with audience predispositions in mind.
- Today, logic is often mistakenly seen as encompassing only formal symbolic and mathematical reasoning.
- Informal logic, from which argumentation borrows, is grounded in ordinary language and describes reasoning patterns that lack the certainty of mathematics.
- Today, dialectic is often understood as the grand sweep of opposing historical forces, such as the clash between capitalism and communism.
- In fact, the term refers to a process of discovering and testing knowledge through questions and answers.
- Although Plato’s dialogues are the models of dialectic, any conversation that is a critical discussion will qualify.
A. Any attempt to influence other people raises ethical issues.
- It is a limitation on freedom of choice.
- It is the application of superior to inferior force.
- It does not influence people against their will but seeks their free assent.
- Without influence, the conditions of society and community are not possible.
- Argumentation respects different ways of thinking and reasoning.
A. We will try to accomplish several goals.
- We will learn a vocabulary that helps us to recognize and describe argumentation.
- We will become aware of the significance of choice and will broaden our understanding of the choices available to arguers.
- We will develop standards for appraising arguments and explaining what will make them better.
- We will examine a variety of historical and contemporary arguments as examples.
- We should improve our abilities both as analysts and as makers of arguments.
- We will begin by reviewing the assumptions underlying argumentation and the historical development of the field.
- We then will explore strategies and tactics of argument construction, attack, and defense.
- We will consider the components of argument in more detail and consider how they work.
- We will investigate the concept of validity and consider fallacies in argumentation.
- Finally, we will investigate how argumentation functions in society—in the personal, technical, and public spheres.