Identifying and Analyzing Arguments in a Text. Argumentation in (Con)Text Symposium, Jan. 4, 2007, Bergen. Evaluating Argumentation. Take the text of discourse as your evidence. Is the selected speech act an argument, a report or an explanation?
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Argumentation in (Con)Text Symposium, Jan. 4, 2007, Bergen
Reasoning can be used for differing purposes, for example in explanations and arguments. Reasoning is a process of inference in passing from certain propositions known or assumed to be true to other propositions in a sequence (Walton, 1990). Abductive reasoning is inference to the best explanation (Josephsons, 1994). Practical reasoning seeks out a prudential line of conduct for an agent in a particular situation, while theoretical reasoning seeks evidence that counts for or against the truth of a proposition (Walton, 1990).
An argument is a social and verbal means of trying to resolve, or at least contend with, a conflict or difference that has arisen between two parties engaged in a dialog (Walton, 2007). According to this definition, an argument necessarily involves a claim that is advanced by one of the parties, typically an opinion that the one party has put forward as true, and that the other party questions.
The new dialectical theory (Walton, 2004) models an explanation as a dialogue between two agents in which one agent is presumed by a second agent to understand something, and the second agent asks a question meant to enable him to come to understand it as well. The model articulates the view of Scriven (2002, p. 49): “Explanation is literally and logically the process of filling in gaps in understanding, and to do this we must start out with some understanding of something.”
Test to judge whether a given text of discourse contains an argument or an explanation.
Take the statement that is the thing to be proved or explained, and ask yourself the following question. Is it taken as an accepted fact, or something that is in doubt? If the former, it’s an explanation. If the latter, it’s an argument.
The Goal of Dialogue is Different
The purpose of an argument is to get the hearer to come to accept something that is doubtful or unsettled. The purpose of an explanation is to get him to understand something that he already accepts as a fact.
Wigmore (1931, p. 20) considered arguments of a kind that are commonly used in collecting evidence in law.
Last week the witness A had a quarrel with the defendant B, therefore A is probably biased against B.
A was found with a bloody knife in B’s house, therefore A is probably the murderer of B.Deductive, Inductive, and the 3rd Type: Abductive?
Clue: Backward Reasoning by Explanation?
Common schemes include such familiar types of argumentation as argument from sign, argument from example, argument from commitment, argument from a verbal classification, argument from position to know, argument from analogy, argument from precedent, argument from correlation to cause, practical reasoning, abductive reasoning, argument from gradualism, and the slippery slope argument. Other schemes that have been studied include argument from waste (also called sunk costs argument), argument from temporal persistence and argument from appearance. In addition to presumptive schemes, it is possible to treat deductive and inductive forms of argument as schemes.
Araucaria is a software tool for analyzing arguments. It aids a user in reconstructing and diagramming an argument using a simple point-and-click interface. The software also supports argumentation schemes, and provides a user-customizable set of schemes with which to analyze arguments. Once arguments have been analyzed they can be saved in a portable format called "AML", the Argument Markup Language, which is based on XML.
M. Scriven, The Limits of Explication’, Argumentation, 16, 2002, 47-57.
B. Verheij, Dialectical ‘Argumentation with Argumentation Schemes’, Artificial Intelligence and Law, 11, 2003, 167-195.
D. Walton, ‘What is Reasoning? What is an Argument?’, Journal of Philosophy, 87, 1990, 399-419.
D. Walton, Abductive Reasoning, Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama Press, 2004.
D. Walton, Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2006.