How to decide whether to accept or reject the argument that we read in our favourite dailies and weeklies? What tools do we have for such an inquiry? Are there any boundaries that should be taken into account when composing and presenting an argument? Within the subject we seek to find answers to similar questions. It is going to unfold what remains from an article after a careful application of argumentation techniques and we are going to discuss how to bring a prima facie hardly defensible position to success. Moreover, students are going to be encouraged to participate in grand-scale debates about hot topics by using the recently learned argumentative toolkit.
- Introduction. The subject of argumentation. The concept of arguments, types of disputes. Purpose and means of the debate. Manipulating the debate. The benefits of reasoning.
- Concepts of reasoning and argument. Evaluation of arguments: strength vs. effectiveness. Statement, premise, conclusion. How to find it? The connection of the premises. Reconstruction of arguments. Circular argument. Internal, external criticism.
- The concept and general rules of rational argumentation. Standpoint rule: illegitimate change of position, straw man, shadow boxing. Burden of proof rule and its violations: evading the burden of proof, illegitimely passing the burden of proof, appealing to ignorance.
- Arguments for reasoning 2. Emotions and expertise. Appeal to emotions: appeal to pity, appeal to fear, reference to reward, appeal to public opinion, “others do the same”, reference to group pressure. Cognitive and emotional meaning. Reclassification. Errors of reasoning affecting authenticity: personification, expiration of the person, reference to the bias of the person. When personalization is not at fault. The answer to personalization. Reference to authority, reference to bad expert, one-sided reference, misinterpretation of expert, unidentifiable reference. Criticism of arguments based on authority.
- Symmetrical and asymmetrical debate. Faulty questions: dangerous and too general questions. Dangerous issues: aggressive, complex and overly assertive issues. Hypothetical questions. Direct and indirect answer, side-talk. Techniques of public response.
- Concepts of validity, strength, plausibility. Valid and invalid conclusions. Inductive arguments and their common mistakes. Data usage and errors. Analogies.
- Elementary and complex statements. Logical operations. Negation, conjunction, alternation. Conditions of justice. De Morgan rules. Disjunctive syllogism and false dilemma.
- Concept of conditional, condition of truth. Language versions of the conditional. Conditional expression with other logical operations. Modus ponens, modus tollens. Conditional reasoning errors: antecedent error, consequence assertion error. Biconditional.
Methodology of teaching
Written and oral communication.
Materials supporting learning
- Slides on the Moodle site of the subject.
The slides and notes, as well as the current dates are always avaialble in moodle: edu.gtk.bme.hu