Plausible Argument in Everyday Conversation

By Douglas Walton

Subjects: Communication
Series: SUNY series in Communication Studies
Paperback : 9780791411582, 320 pages, November 1992
Hardcover : 9780791411575, 320 pages, November 1992

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Table of contents


1. Reasoning and Argument in Everyday Conversation


1. Presumptive Reasoning in Plausible Argument
2. A Case Study: The Dialogue on Tipping
3. Evaluation of the Dialogue
4. The Internal Shift to Higher Abstraction
5. Fallacies and Obstructive Tactics
6. Fallacies of Burden of Proof
7. Some Other Fallacies
8. What Is an Argument? What Is Reasoning?
9. The Use of Reasoning in Argument
10. Rethinking Argument and Reasoning


2. Presumption


1. The Target Concept of Presumption
2. Assumptions, Concessions, and Presuppositions
3. Strengths of Presumptions
4. Speech Act Conditions for Presumptions
5. Kinds of Warrants for Making a Presumption
6. General, Specific, Explicit, and Nonexplicit Presumptions
7. Presumptive Inferences
8. Presumptive Conditionals Clarified
9. Traditional Accounts of Secundum Quid and Related Fallacies
10. Analysis of the Secundum Quid Fallacy


3. Dialogue


1. The Nature of Dialogue
2. Turn Taking in Dialogue
3. Types of Dialogue
4. Discussion and Inquiry
5. Critical Discussion
6. The Nature of Burden of Proof
7. The Basis of Argument
8. A Classification of Types of Dialogue
9. Dialectical Shifts
10. Mixed Dialogues


4. Eristic Dialogue


1. Plato and Aristotle on Eristic Dialgoue
2. Eristic Dialogue: A Pragma-Dialectical Analysis
3. Differences Between Debate and Quarrel
4. Organized Group Quarrels
5. Propaganda
6. Valuable Functions of the Quarrel
7. Shift to the Quarrel by Bias Ad Hominem Argument
8. Gradual Shift to the Quarrel
9. Frame of Mind for Argument
10. Bias


5. Argument


1. What Is Argument Taken to Be?
2. The Semantic Conception of Argument
3. Inference and Argument
4. The Speech Act Theory Approach
5. Three Uses of Argument
6. Dialogue as Meta-Argument
7. Argument Defined Pluralistically
8. The Functional Theory
9. Properties of Arguments
10. Aristotle on Reasoning and Argument


6. Reasoning


1. What Is Reasoning?
2. Circular Reasoning
3. Kinds of Reasoning
4. Practical and Discursive Reasoning
5. Practical Inference
6. Complex Practical Reasoning
7. Satisficing and Maximizing
8. Uses of Reasoning in Contexts of Dialogue
9. A Case Study
10. Summary


7. Fallacy


1. Seeming Validity
2. Sophisms and Wrong Inferences
3. Fallacies and Blunders
4. Invalid Inferences and Fallacies
5. Argumentum Ad Hominem
6. Evaluating Ad Hominem Argumentation
7. Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam
8. Argumentum Ad Verecundiam
9. Aristotle's Concept of Sophistical Refutation
10. The Functional Theory of Fallacy


8. Synthesis


1. Use of Presumptions in the Dialogue on Tipping
2. The Nature of Presumptive Reasoning
3. Secundum Quid as a Dialectical Fallacy
4. Maieutic Closure of Dialogue
5. The Task of Evaluating an Argument
6. Need for a Functional Approach






This book provides a practical and accessible way of evaluating good and bad arguments used in everyday conversations by applying normative models of dialectical (interactive) argumentation, where two parties reason together in an orderly and cooperative way. Using case studies, the author analyzes correct and incorrect uses of argumentation on controversial issues that engage the reader's interest while illustrating points in a practical way. Walton gives clear explanations of the most common errors and tricky deceptions — traditionally called "fallacies" — that can trip up an unwary arguer.

Douglas N. Walton is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.


"Walton has done an excellent job of placing argument in the context of dialogue and relating it to other concepts that are significant determinants of the adequacy of both the process by which conclusions involving disputed issues are reached and the conclusions themselves. He provides a truly comprehensive examination of what has come to be called 'practical argument. ' The book is an intellectually rich exploration of the many facets of this important topic. The author carefully articulates his reservations concerning past treatments of practical argument and then demonstrates how the view he espouses overcomes many of the deficiencies noted. " — Dennis S. Gouran, Pennsylvania State University