The Art of Argumentation | INFJ Forum

The Art of Argumentation

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by NeverAmI, Apr 19, 2010.

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  1. NeverAmI

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    I am listening to a captivating lesson on argumentation and I am taking notes in order to ensure I understand every aspect of this lesson.

    I figured that while I am taking notes I might as well make them available to others!

    I will update this thread as I listen more to the lessons and add to my notes. Feel free to discuss as you like.
     
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  2. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    What particular style of argumentation? There are varying degrees, spanning everything from Socratic method to sophistry and propaganda.

    At present, I'm more interested in learning the art of compassion, but I'll be interested in seeing what information comes available in this thread.
     
  3. OP
    NeverAmI

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    I can't say for sure but I assume it will cover all of the above, there are 25 lectures.
     
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    NeverAmI

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    I do believe this lecture focuses on inductive reasoning, as deductive reasoning requires proof that is already certain. The argument focused in this is on matters that are not certain, deductive reasoning is not possible in the topics covered on this.

    What is Argumentation
    The argument has generally received a negative connotation in today's English speaking society. Those who seek to reason, to question why things are a certain way, seem to meet with fallacy insisting they adhere to the rules of authority through either political, religious, or some other means of hierarchy. Here are some common portrayals of the negative connotations of the argument:
    • A parent repeatedly telling their children not to argue.
    • A competition in which one only seeks victory through conquering others.
    • The argument is seen as destructive when performed by someone lower in a hierarchy.
    • The argument generally leads to a conclusion that is unpleasant or quarrelsome.
    • The result of an argument is observed as bitter or destructive of self-worth of a participant.
    Argumentation is not such, it is simply structured reasoning.
    Reason Giving - Claims are made to seek ascent in the beliefs of others in matters that are not certain.
    Reasons - Justifications we give for a claim.
    Claim - A claim is something we seek to justify that is not absolute and can include the following:
    • Value Judgements
    • Future Predictions
    • Something too vast or too big to understand fully.
    So argumentation is the practice of justifying claims.

    Alternatives to Reason Giving - Accept claims based on whim, caprice, or authority. Typically this gives a high probability of chance, happenstance, or coersion.

    To Whom is Reasoning Effective? The audience.
    What is an audience? A reader, listener, or large public. Oneself can also be considered the audience.
    What determines the success of an argument? The ascent of beliefs of the audience.
    What is the ascent of the audience? Adherence to a claim based on reasons given. Reasons, grounds, justifications, and the links between those are accepted.

    Argumentation is natural - We practice argumentation all the time. It is natural in our everyday social environments.

    Why seek to learn argumentation? We seek to learn it to become more effective and to understand the underlying principles.

    A thoughtful question: Is argumentation dead? Do we only seek to communicate with others who already accept our claims? What happens if this is the case?

    What separates a productive argument from an unproductive one? Understanding the principles of argumentation will help determine the productivity. To understand why one challenges a widely held claim or asks questions to better understand a topic helps to be more accepting of these inquiries.

    The argument is both a product (noun) and a process (verb). We make arguments and we have arguments.
     
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  5. Gaze

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    I don't think argumentation is dead. Rather, how we argue and our notions of "acceptable" reasons we give or use to support why someone should believe or accept our claims have changed. Logical reasons are not enough in today's culture, because we often don't think or act logically.

    I think the key to answering this question is think consider the differences between informal and formal logic.
     
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  6. OP
    NeverAmI

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    Is informal vs formal logic equivalent to inductive vs deductive reasoning?

    I would say the deductive is useful in generating claims, but the inferences based off those claims are in support of conclusions or results that are not known with certainty which would indicate inductive reasoning.

    Edit: Come to think of it, the introductory lecture did cover inductive vs deductive reasoning, the uses and traits of each and the application of the use. I should generate some notes on that and include those.
     
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  7. Gaze

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    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Informal Logic
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-informal/

     
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    #7 Gaze, Apr 19, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
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  8. Satya

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    Excellent. I'm certain to learn something new from this thread then.
     
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    NeverAmI

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    Ok, so I am sure my core understanding of formal versus informal logic will expand as this continues. To me it has always seemed natural to apply logic to everyday conversations and ideas.

    Then again, to me people aren't illogical. We are all logical, we have inferences, we do what we believe is best for any particular circumstance. The only reason we seem to think others are illogical is because we don't share common frames of reference. People can often be ignorant to certain data due to preconceived ideas or biases.

    Your empirical subset of conclusions will never match mine completely. What you have learned through repitition over time will never match mine completely. These sets of conclusions and repititions help to set up biases which influence us whether we realize it or not. Perhaps I give too much emphasis to the rationality of all species but to me there is a logical explanation for how our minds work, we just haven't found that all-encompassing framework yet.

    Sorry, just kinda went off on a tangent there.
     
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  10. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    So where are those lectures? :)

    Unfortunately argumentation is very culture-dependent. This undermines the whole importance of arguing. Reviewing history, people had to argue at great lengths things we now consider obvious. And we still have to do that, when we meet very different cultures. Arguing for the sake of arguing doesn't really improve the state of understanding, but it leaves that impression. Usually, there is another way, which doesn't involve the bottomless traps of formal argumentation - i.e., providing access to data, that the other human(s) didn't have.

    When people argue too much, it's usually due to severe cognitive differences. Or, in other words, just a more complex version of a color-blind, blind and regular-sighted person arguing about colors. By the way, have you ever wondered - what if some color-"blind" people actually see the "right" colors, and all the other people see the wrong colors? ;) We take lots of things for granted, based on majority usually.
     
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  11. Gaze

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    It's less about personal views of logic than the nature of logic. Yes, we apply logic everyday but there are different kinds of logic. The fact that we have a logic or reason for thinking and doing what we do doesn't mean it's logical.


    We don't always consciously construct our understanding from good or valid reasoning. Much of how and what we think is misguided and illogical, which is why we have argumentation and debate. In some cases, our beliefs are based on weak arguments or faulty reasoning, but because we're not accepting, unaware, or uncritical, we accept it as truth, and use it as a "logical" justification for what we believe.
     
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    #11 Gaze, Apr 19, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  12. OP
    NeverAmI

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    http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/CourseDescLong2.aspx?cid=4294

    I would argue that those who make these common mistakes do not understand the core principles of argumentation which, in turn, results in an unproductive/ineffective process of argument.

    As we will find from the principles in this lecture, argumentation involves both parties taking the risk of influence. It also requires both parties to hold opposing views and to have the desire to reach a common understanding. If both parties do not match this criteria, then by the definition of this lecture, those parties are not arguing. From a personal standpoint I would define that as a conflict rather than an argument.

    If the parties agree to disagree, one party sees the topic as trivial, or one party is unwilling to take the risk of being influenced, then an argument is truly not taking place.
     
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  13. OP
    NeverAmI

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    The process is still logical. The arguments used are not necessarily sound or cogent due to weak inferences or untrue premises, but it is still a logical process.

    One person may touch fire and find that it hurts and is unpleasant. Therefore that person could conclude that fire should be avoided at all costs.

    Touching fire causes pain.
    Pain should be avoided
    Therefore fire should always be avoided.

    However, another can create a different conclusion based on further data.

    Touching fire causes pain.
    Pain should be avoided.
    Fire can be used to cook meat.
    Cooked meat is tasty.
    Therefore fire should sometimes be avoided.

    Self reflection and argumentation with oneself can create more robust solutions. However, argumentation can also create unsound or invalid conclusions, that is a risk we take and it is another reason that understanding the principles of argumentation is so important. At one point the second person may have had the same conclusion as the first, but through the questioning of his conclusion he was able to reach a broader, more robust conclusion.

    "Is fire really always bad? Are there any practical uses for fire? I found this data that suggests otherwise, is that true?"

    Of course, religion and common societal beliefs can sometimes shut down self-reflection and consistent self-quesitoning which could be seen to limit the ability to advance to new inferences.

    As a balance I also find that some people make the inference that all spiritual and religious pursuits are bad. I do not believe that to be true. Any good proponent of religion will tell you that you must find your own way. You must create your own inferences and self-reflections as to why religion or spirituality is good. Well, truly it is always your own inferences that you accept unless you are somehow coerced into belief.
     
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  14. OP
    NeverAmI

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    I hope I am not infringing on copyrights by posting notes I have taken from this lecture.

    I wouldn't think I am. Anyone?
     
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  15. OP
    NeverAmI

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    The building blocks of the Argument.





    The argument contains subsets of each of these three categories:
    • Rhetoric
    • Logic
    • Dialectic
    Rhetoric - How knowledge is conveyed.

    Aristotle defined rhetoric as "The faculty or skill of discovering the available means of persuasion in any given case."

    Argumentation deals with rhetoric in the understanding of how people are influenced by reasons given. Rhetoric focuses on the audience, understand their dispositions, their role of choices, and that the influence of others is non-coercive.

    Logic - Encompasses all structures of reasoning.

    Dialectic - The process of discovering and testing knowledge through questions and answers. The socratic method is a form of dialectic in which questions are asked in order to guide the listener into discovering knowledge for themselves. The courtroom also focuses heavily on dialectic methods through cross examination.

    Ethical considerations - Attempting to influence others can lead to ethical conflicts due to intellectual force attempting to limit a party's freedom of choice. However, proper argumentation does not seek to influence others against their will. Argumentation seeks the free ascent of the audience and does not force it.


    Adding Practicality




    Think about the recent bans we had here. People attempted to argue that they had the right to force influence upon others. The moderators urged that this was not their right, which is true. Forceful use of influence is not argumentation, it is coercion. In that particular case it was through force of a claim of intellectual authority. Think about the rhetoric, or lack of rhetoric, used by some who were banned.
    • How much of the audience's current disposition was taken into account?
    • How can you attempt to influence an audience, besides through means of force, who does not wish to be influenced?
    That is not to say that their intent was not wholesome, I would not have urged the reconsideration of their bans if I had thought their true intent was to only cause harm. I believe they may have been ignorant to certain structures that correlate to positive social interactions. Then again, I could be wrong.
     
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  16. OP
    NeverAmI

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    Assumptions in Argumentation

    1. Arguments take place with the audience in mind.
      • The influence of the audience is the goal. Note that the acceptance of claims by an audience does not equate to a sound or cogent argument.
    2. Arguments take place under conditions of uncertainty
      • Certainty can be subjective, or audience dependent. Controversy is used to convey opinions of conclusions that are not certain.
      • Controversy - Genuine differences in opinion that mater to the parties involved and a resolution is sought.
        • Explicit - Controversy is clearly defined.
        • Implicit - Controversies are implied and/or ambiguous.
        • Unmixed - Only one party maintains a position in the controversy. Other party challenges the position.
        • Mixed - Both parties maintain a position on the controversy.
        • Singular - Only one claim is presented
        • Multiple - Multiple claims are presented.
    3. Arguments involve justifications of claims.
      • Claim is justified based on reasons that are acceptable to a critical listener
      • Both sides participate as critical listeners.
      • Adherence of critical listener is a substitute for certainty that is unobtainable.
      • Justification is subjective and always subject to change. The justifications can vary in degrees from plausible to highly probable.
    4. Argumentation is fundamentally a cooperative enterprise
      • Both parties share the common goal of reaching the best conclusion given the circumstances.
      • Adversarial elements are a means of achieving a common goal.
        • Reduce likelihood of omittance of data or jumping to conclusions.
        • Increases confidence in resolution.
      • Cooperate by being critical listeners.
      • All share some level of agreement.
      • Disagreement always founded on some level of 'bedrock' agreement. Unproductive arguments sometimes do not share these 'bedrock' agreements (differences in definition of terminology).
      • Share respect for other party, audience. Audience shares willingness to listen and the risk of being convinced.
    5. Argumentation entails risk.
      • Risk of being shown to be wrong
      • Risk of having to alter system of beliefs through having to consider different perspectives or elimination/modification of current beliefs.
      • All parties assume risk.
      • Those who believe they are right without doubt are not actively engaging in argument.
     
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  17. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    Agenda
    The negative connotations to arguing arise in many, if not most, situations because they either directly infer or indirectly infer contradictory, diverting, or parrallel agendas. A major component of the art of rhetoric must be the ability to obscure or hide one's agenda.

    [This post might be arguing and has an agenda.]
     
  18. OP
    NeverAmI

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    Well, your agenda is that you want to influence people to believe your claims.

    Some of your claims may be implicit, and that is why knowledge of argumentation is vital. Increasing an understanding in the principles of argumentation makes it easier to spot these implicit or ambiguous claims that might 'hide' from view.

    Rhetoric really doesn't have any need for hiding an agenda, it is about linking with the audience and seeking to influence them. That can be exploited but that doesn't mean rhetoric is based on it. Only if you are attempting to influence the audience of something they wouldn't normally accept would you need to hide your agenda.

    I believe that coercion through hidden agendas would be more apparent to anyone that understands argumentation theory.
     
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  19. Gaze

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    But the process of human reasoning is not naturally or inherently logical. It is too complicated to be defined or described as logical. Human reason may be subjected to logical critique but it isn't by nature logical in the least. Cognitive reasoning is not a direct reflection of natural law.


    Edit:
    Here's an interesting essay written on reason and logic:

    Reason and Logic
    Carlo Cellucci

    Abstract
    This paper discusses the approaches to reason, logic and their relationship by Frege, Nagel, Hanna, Cooper, it points out their limitations and outlines a naturalistic approach to the subject hopefully not subject to those limitations.



     
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    #19 Gaze, Apr 20, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
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  20. OP
    NeverAmI

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    OMG I just lost what I wrote...

    I will write it later. Good article!
     
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