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Conductive Arguments in Ethical Deliberation. University of Windsor, Memorial Hall 105, May 1, 2010, 10:50 am. CRRAR SYMPOSIUM ON CONDUCTIVE ARGUMENTS. Douglas Walton: University of Windsor Assumption Chair in Argumentation Studies Distinguished Research Fellow of CRRAR

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conductive arguments in ethical deliberation

Conductive Arguments in Ethical Deliberation

University of Windsor, Memorial Hall 105, May 1, 2010, 10:50 am.

CRRAR SYMPOSIUM ON CONDUCTIVE ARGUMENTS

Douglas Walton: University of Windsor

Assumption Chair in Argumentation Studies

Distinguished Research Fellow of CRRAR

Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation & Rhetoric

looking for examples
Looking for Examples
  • In Challenge and Response (1971, 51-83) Wellman gave only brief examples of conductive reasoning.
  • However, he gave us some longer examples in his textbook Morals and Ethics (1975).
  • In this book he examines arguments on both sides of ethical disputes that were highly controversial at the time, including civil disobedience, premarital sex, and capital punishment.
  • It is through his handling of these ethical problems what we see better what conductive reasoning is all about, in my opinion.
morals and ethics 1975 308
Morals and Ethics (1975, 308)
  • Suppose, for example, that a professor is trying to decide whether to cheat on his income tax. Although his regular salary is reported to the Internal Revenue Service, he also has a modest amount of unreported income from giving lectures and acting as a consultant. It would be easy enough to refrain from listing this marginal income and pay a tax on the regular salary only.
  • How does the professor know whether it would be right for him to cheat on his income tax? He must weigh the reasons for cheating against the reasons for not cheating.
  • PRO He really needs the money he would pay in extra taxes in order to keep up his payments on his large mortgage; it is unlikely that he would be detected and punished for his act; and he really does believe that the military spending for which much of his tax money would be used is wrong.
  • CONTRA On the other hand, if he were detected, the result would be disgrace and punishment; he does receive many benefits from his government, benefits made possible by the taxes of the general public; and he strongly approves of many welfare programs that are supported by tax funds.
key list of pro and contra
Key List of Pro and Contra
  • P1. He really needs the money he would pay in extra taxes in order to keep up his payments on his large mortgage.
  • P2. It is un­likely that he would be detected and punished for his act.
  • P3. He really does believe that the military spending for which much of his tax money would be used is wrong.
  • C1. If he were detected, the result would be dis­grace and punishment.
  • C2. He does receive many benefits from his government, made possible by the taxes of the general public.
  • C3. He strongly approves of many welfare programs that are supported by tax funds.
scheme for practical reasoning
Scheme for Practical Reasoning
  • Major Premise:I have a goal G.
  • Minor Premise: Carrying out this action A is a means to realize G.
  • Conclusion:Therefore, I ought (practically speaking) to carry out this action A.
the role of enthymemes
The Role of Enthymemes
  • The question is where the implicit premises in the chain of practical reasoning came from.
  • One was the premise in order to use something like money for some ultimate end, you first of all have to get the money, or at least obtain control over how to use it.
  • To answer this question we have bring in case-based reasoning, and learn a little about how it uses common knowledge to fill in gaps in a chain of reasoning.
  • According to the theory of (Walton, 2008), enthymemes are based on an arguer’s commitment and on common knowledge.
  • Govier and Freeman recognize common knowledge as important in reasoning and so do many AI researchers.
new scheme for argument from negative consequences
New Scheme for Argument from Negative Consequences
  • Major Premise: If A is brought about, consequences will plausibly occur.
  • Minor Premise: These consequences are negative.
  • Conclusion: A should not be brought about.
proleptic argumentation
Proleptic Argumentation
  • The explicit assertion that it is unlikely that the professor would be detected and punished for his act is a proleptic move put forward to rebut a potential argument from negative consequences.
  • The proleptic argument can be expressed as follows: it may be true that if he were detected, the result would be disgrace and punishment, but if it is unlikely that he would be detected, it is also unlikely that the result would be disgrace and punishment.
scheme for argument from negative values
Scheme for Argument from Negative Values
  • Major Premise: If value V is negative, it goes against commitment to goal G.
  • Minor Premise:Value V is negative.
  • Conclusion:V is a reason for retracting commitment to goal G.
disgrace and punishment
Disgrace and Punishment
  • The terms ‘disgrace’ and ‘punishment’ express negative values.
  • So does the term ‘cheating’ for that matter.
  • This is the problem of “what we hide in words”. The use of a word expressing positive or negative values by emotive terms conceals implicit arguments.
  • The use of such terms is often associated with Stevenson’s theory of emotive ethics.
  • The problem is that many people in everyday argumentation do not realize there is an argument there to be challenged.
  • Argument from classification is combined with argument from values.
argument from verbal classification
Argument from Verbal Classification
  • MAJOR PREMISE: If some particular thing a can be classified as falling under verbal category C, then a has property F (in virtue of such a classification).
  • MINOR PREMISE: a can be classified as falling under verbal category C.
  • CONCLUSION: a has property F.
how to weigh arguments wellman
How to Weigh Arguments (Wellman)
  • What we can and must do is to think through the various arguments and feel their logical force, or lack of it.
  • The logical force of an argument is its psychological force after criticism.
  • In weighing an argument, what counts is the persuasion it exerts after formulating it as clearly as possible and considering objections.
  • We come to know which act is right by subjecting all the pro and con arguments to this sort of criticism.
how to weigh arguments walton
How to Weigh Arguments (Walton)
  • Burdens of proof and standards of proof, along with argument weights, determine how to evaluate the argumentation in a dialog.
  • The burden and standard of proof are set at the opening stage, and depend on the type of dialog.
  • In the argumentation stage, each side presents reasons supporting its view and attacks the opposed view by raising critical questions and rebuttals.
  • The burdens and standards are then applied at the closing stage to determine which side won or lost the dialog.