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Fallacies of Ambiguity

Ambiguous Language In addition to the fallacies of relevance and presumption we examined in our previous lessons, there are several patterns of incorrect reasoning that arise from the imprecise use of language. An ambiguous word, phrase, or sentence is one that has two or more distinct meanings. The inferential relationship between the propositions included in a single argument will be sure to hold only if we are careful to employ exactly the same meaning in each of them. The fallacies of ambiguity all involve a confusion of two or more different senses.

Equivocation An equivocation trades upon the use of an ambiguous word or phrase in one of its meanings in one of the propositions of an argument but also in another of its meanings in a second proposition.

Really exciting novels are rare. But rare books are expensive. Therefore, Really exciting novels are expensive.

Here, the word "rare" is used in different ways in the two premises of the argument, so the link they seem to establish between the terms of the conclusion is spurious. In its more subtle occurrences, this fallacy can undermine the reliability of otherwise valid deductive arguments. Amphiboly An amphiboly can occur even when every term in an argument is univocal, if the grammatical construction of a sentence creates its own ambiguity.

A reckless motorist Thursday struck and injured a student who was jogging through the campus in his pickup truck. Therefore, it is unsafe to jog in your pickup truck.

In this example, the premise (actually heard on a radio broadcast) could be interpreted in different ways, creating the possibility of a fallacious inference to the conclusion. Accent The fallacy of accent arises from an ambiguity produced by a shift of spoken or written emphasis. Thus, for example:

Jorge turned in his assignment on time today. Therefore, Jorge usually turns in his assignments late.

Here the premise may be true if read without inflection, but if it is read with heavy stress on the last word seems to imply the truth of the conclusion. Composition The fallacy of composition involves an inference from the attribution of some feature to every individual member of a class (or part of a greater whole) to the possession of the same feature by the entire class (or whole).

Every course I took in college was well-organized. Therefore, my college education was well-organized.

Even if the premise is true of each and every component of my curriculum, the whole could have been a chaotic mess, so this reasoning is defective. Notice that this is distinct from the fallacy of converse accident, which improperly generalizes from an unusual specific case (as in "My philosophy course was well-organized; therefore, college courses are well-organized."). For the fallacy of composition, the crucial fact is that even when something can be truly said of each and every individual part, it does not follow that the same can be truly said of the whole class. Division Similarly, the fallacy of division involves an inference from the attribution of some feature to an entire class (or whole) to the possession of the same feature by each of its individual members (or parts).

Ocelots are now dying out. Sparky is an ocelot. Therefore, Sparky is now dying out.

Although the premise is true of the species as a whole, this unfortunate fact does not reflect poorly upon the health of any of its individual members. Again, be sure to distinguish this from the fallacy of accident, which mistakenly applies a general rule to an atypical specific case (as in "Ocelots have many health problems, and Sparky is an ocelot; therefore, Sparky is in poor health"). The essential point in the fallacy of division is that even when something can be truly said of a whole class, it does not follow that the same can be truly said of each of its individual parts.

Avoiding Fallacies Informal fallacies of all seventeen varieties can seriously interfere with our ability to arrive at the truth. Whether they are committed inadvertently in the course of an individual's own thinking or deliberately employed in an effort to manipulate others, each may persuade without providing

legitimate grounds for the truth of its conclusion. But knowing what the fallacies are affords us some protection in either case. If we can identify several of the most common patterns of incorrect reasoning, we are less likely to slip into them ourselves or to be fooled by anyone else.

Fallacies of Relevance
Informal Fallacies Assessing the legitimacy of arguments embedded in ordinary language is rather like diagnosing whether a living human being has any broken bones. Only the internal structure matters, but it is difficult to see through the layers of flesh that cover it. Soon we'll begin to develop methods, like the tools of radiology, that enable us to see the skeletal form of an argument beneath the language that expresses it. But compound fractures are usually evident to the most casual observer, and some logical defects are equally apparent. The informal fallacies considered here are patterns of reasoning that are obviously incorrect. The fallacies of relevance, for example, clearly fail to provide adequate reason for believing the truth of their conclusions. Although they are often used in attempts to persuade people by non-logical means, only the unwary, the predisposed, and the gullible are apt to be fooled by their illegitimate appeals. Many of them were identified by medieval and renaissance logicians, whose Latin names for them have passed into common use. It's worthwhile to consider the structure, offer an example, and point out the invalidity of each of them in turn.

Appeal to Force (argumentum ad baculum) In the appeal to force, someone in a position of power threatens to bring down unfortunate consequences upon anyone who dares to disagree with a proffered proposition. Although it is rarely developed so explicitly, a fallacy of this type might propose:

If you do not agree with my political opinions, you will receive a grade of F for this course. I believe that Herbert Hoover was the greatest President of the United States. Therefore, Herbert Hoover was the greatest President of the United States.

It should be clear that even if all of the premises were true, the conclusion could neverthelss be false. Since that is possible, arguments of this form are plainly invalid. While this might be an effective way to get you to agree (or at least to pretend to agree) with my position, it offers no grounds for believing it to be true. Appeal to Pity (argumentum ad misericordiam) Turning this on its head, an appeal to pity tries to win acceptance by pointing out the unfortunate consequences that will otherwise fall upon the speaker and others, for whom we would then feel sorry.

I am a single parent, solely responsible for the financial support of my children. If you give me this traffic ticket, I will lose my license and be unable to drive to work. If I cannot work, my children and I will become homeless and may starve to death. Therefore, you should not give me this traffic ticket.

Again, the conclusion may be false (that is, perhaps I should be given the ticket) even if the premises are all true, so the argument is fallacious. Appeal to Emotion (argumentum ad populum) In a more general fashion, the appeal to emotion relies upon emotively charged language to arouse strong feelings that may lead an audience to accept its conclusion:

As all clear-thinking residents of our fine state have already realized, the Governor's plan for financing public education is nothing but the bloody-fanged wolf of socialism cleverly disguised in the harmless sheep's clothing of concern for children. Therefore, the Governor's plan is bad public policy.

The problem here is that although the flowery language of the premise might arouse strong feelings in many members of its intended audience, the widespread occurrence of those feelings has nothing to do with the truth of the conclusion.

Appeal to Authority (argumentum ad verecundiam) Each of the next three fallacies involve the mistaken supposition that there is some connection between the truth of a proposition and some feature of the person who asserts or denies it. In an appeal to authority, the opinion of someone famous or accomplished in another area of expertise is supposed to guarantee the truth of a conclusion. Thus, for example:

Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan believes that spiders are insects. Therefore, spiders are insects.

As a pattern of reasoning, this is clearly mistaken: no proposition must be true because some individual (however talented or successful) happens to believe it. Even in areas where they have some special knowledge or skill, expert authorities could be mistaken; we may accept their testimony as inductive evidence but never as deductive proof of the truth of a conclusion. Personality is irrelevant to truth. Ad Hominem Argument The mirror-image of the appeal to authority is the ad hominem argument, in which we are encouraged to reject a proposition because it is the stated opinion of someone regarded as disreputable in some way. This can happen in several different ways, but all involve the claim that the proposition must be false because of who believes it to be true:

Harold maintains that the legal age for drinking beer should be 18 instead of 21. But we all know that Harold . . . o . . . dresses funny and smells bad. or o . . . is 19 years old and would like to drink legally or o . . . believes that the legal age for voting should be 21, not 18 or o . . . doesn't understand the law any better than the rest of us. Therefore, the legal age for drinking beer should be 21 instead of 18.

In any of its varieties, the ad hominem fallacy asks us to adopt a position on the truth of a conclusion for no better reason than that someone believes its opposite. But the proposition that person believes can be true (and the intended conclusion false) even if the person is unsavory or has a stake in the issue or holds inconsistent beliefs or shares a common flaw with us. Again, personality is irrelevant to truth. Appeal to Ignorance (argumentum ad ignoratiam) An appeal to ignorance proposes that we accept the truth of a proposition unless an opponent can prove otherwise. Thus, for example:

No one has conclusively proven that there is no intelligent life on the moons of Jupiter. Therefore, there is intelligent life on the moons of Jupiter.

But, of course, the absence of evidence against a proposition is not enough to secure its truth. What we don't know could nevertheless be so.

Irrelevant Conclusion (ignoratio elenchi) Finally, the fallacy of the irrelevant conclusion tries to establish the truth of a proposition by offering an argument that actually provides support for an entirely different conclusion.

All children should have ample attention from their parents. Parents who work full-time cannot give ample attention to their children. Therefore, mothers should not work full-time.

Here the premises might support some conclusion about working parents generally, but do not secure the truth of a conclusion focussed on women alone and not on men. Although clearly fallacious, this procedure may succeed in distracting its audience from the point that is really at issue.

Chapter 6 Logical Fallacies II Fallacy of Insufficient Evidence

Fallacy of Insufficient Evidence Mistakes of an argument may come in different forms. But if we fail to provide sufficient evidents or reasoning to support your claim, the fallacy should be named as Fallacy of

Insufficient Evidence. Altogether, there are 9 different types of fallacy that relates to insufficient evidence. However, the most prominent here is Inappropriate Appeal to Authority, which is divided to 8 different sub types: 1. Inappropriate Appeal to Authority - It happens when an arguer cites a witness or authority who, there is good chances that, is unreliable. It happens when: a. The source is not a genuine authority on the subject at issue E.g. My dentist told me that rosemary and thyme can be used to treat cancer. I believe this must be true! Explanation: A dentist is not a specialized doctor that knows cure for cancer. He is not that competent to declare such statement. b. The source is biased or has some other reason to lie or mislead E.g. Halim, the husband of Tina stated that his wife did not steal anyrhing from the Mydin Superstore. Even though the CCTV at the crime scene show that she put something into her purse, I cant believe that a good man like Halim would lie to protect his wife. I think Tina is innocent. Explanation: Halim have more than one reason to lie: Tina is his wife so he had to lie to save his face. Halim can also be an accomplish to the theft. Needless to say, Halims action is clearly biased c. The accuracy of the sources observation is questionable E.g. After snorting 1 gram of heroin all by himself, Thomas swore that he had an hour long conversation with the long dead founder of Malacca state, Parameswara. Ive never known Thomas to lie. So, I think we should believe him. Explanation: Enough said. What can possibly a guy tell when he is on heroin high? Downright gibberish! His testimony wont even be accepted in court! d. The source cited is known to be generally unreliable E.g. The handout given by the Mestika Syahdu cult members stated that the world will end on the 21st August this year. They claim that when the 3 northern stars of Umbala line up in a parallel way, the end of the world is very near. This occurence will happen exactly on that date. We should be prepared for the tragedy.

Explanation: An internet source, a report, an article, or maybe a handout given by the Mestika Syahdu cult members can be regarded as highly unreliable and hard to proof. We can always differentiate a reputable source to the other by looking at its past records, consistency and evidents given in facts and figures. Its hard to believe a word from a cult member am I right? e. The source has not been cited correctly or the cited claim has been taken out of context. E.g. It states in the Holy Koran that we should practice free sex. Due to this reason, I believe that we should practice free sex. Explanation: Just for a mental note, there are absolutely no religious book that states free sex is a good practice. Clearly, this citation is not made accurately. Thus, this claim is fallacious. f. The source claim conflicts with expert opinion E.g. Syeikh Jamil, a renowned ulama of Turkmenistan, claims that pig meat can be eaten by Muslims. I believe we should subscribe to his point of view. Explanation: An overwhelming number evidence, citation and experts of Islam are actually against Syikh Jamils claim. Therefore, it is fallacious to accept Syeikh Jamils claim simply on his authority. g. The issue is not one that can be settled by expert opinion. E.g. The Dalai Lama said that to achieve eternal solitude, one must devote oneself to the universe by meditating deeply. We should take his saying as a truth because The Dalai Lama are worshipped by millions worldwide. Explanation: Some things just can never be explained objectively. No expert consensus can be reached because of its abstractism. You can have a million definition of the word eternal solitude. Same goes to meaning of life, morality etc. Such issues cant be settled by appeals to authority. h. The claim is highly improbable on its face E.g. Uncle Sam claims that his 84 year old friend Buddy can jump across buildings. Uncle Sam is the most trustworthy person that we have come across in this neighborhood. Therefore, if he said that his 84 years old friend Buddy can jump across buildings, I, for one, will totally believe him. Explanation: Uncle Sams claim is highly improbable, that without a strong evidence that proves this ridiculous claim, it is clear, by any degree, is obviously fallacious. the rest of the fallacies of insufficient evidence will be elaborated in the next post. Bye!

Fallacies of insufficiency are cases where insufficient evidence is provided in support of a claim. Probably most common fallacies fall within this category.

Limited sampling
Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant noodles, died at the age of 96. He said he ate instant noodles everyday. So instant noodles cannot be bad for your health. A black cat crossed my path this morning, and I got into a traffic accident this afternoon. Black cats are really unlucky.

In both cases the observations are relevant to the conclusion, but a lot more data is needed to support the conclusion, e.g. Studies show that many other people who eat instant noodles live longer, and those who encounter black cats are more likely to suffer from accidents.

Appeal to ignorance
We have no evidence showing that he is innocent. So he must be guilty.

If someone is guilty, it would indeed be hard to find evidence showing that he is innocent. But perhaps there is no evidence to point either way, so lack of evidence is not enough to prove guilt.

Naturalistic fallacy
Many children enjoy playing video games, so we should not stop them from playing.

Many naturalistic fallacies are examples of fallacy of insufficiency. Empirical facts by themselves are not sufficient for normative conclusions, even if they are relevant.

Formal and Informal Fallacies

by Harvey Bluedorn. Copyright 1995. All rights reserved.

Logical Fallacies
A fallacy is a defect in an argument which misleads the mind. The defect may be intentional or unintentional. If the defect is intentional, we sometimes call it a sophism. Ones understanding of fallacies may be used for good in order to avoid or expose error; or it may be used for evil in order to subtly deceive.

Ethics of Fallacy Detection

Being mislead by another's reasoning may lead one to be persuaded to follow a foolish and harmful course of action. As Christians are to be as wise as serpents, so they ought to be aware of the false reasonings which are common to man ever since the initial deception by the serpent in the garden. One should sense some moral obligation to be aware of faulty reasonings in order

to protect himself from the misleadings of others, and to protect others from being mislead by himself. Above all, it is to the glory of God that we reason correctly, for without correct reasoning we cannot understand His Word, and without understanding we cannot fully and properly obey. Detection of a fallacy in another's reasoning does not necessarily imply that it is proper to point it out. One can become obnoxious and offensive if he continually picks apart what others say. There are more gracious ways to avoid errors than simply pointing them out frankly, candidly and bluntly. To be sure, there are times to be brutally honest, but such times are less frequent than practiced. One's goal should be to win another to sound reasoning, and winning another often involves more than naked reason it involves courtesy, consideration, and gentle coaxing. Also, one ought to approach such matters with humility, for fallacy is a malady so common to man that it is certain that the corrector himself is to be found at fault from time to time.

Formal Fallacies
A formal fallacy is one which involves an error in the form, arrangement or technical structure of an argument. The question in view is not whether a conclusion is true or false, but whether the form of the argument is correct or incorrect valid or invalid. The concluding statement of an argument may be objectively true, though the argument is formally invalid; or the concluding statement may be objectively false, though the argument is formally valid. Here are some examples:

Formally Valid Arguments:

1. True and Valid: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal. 2. False but Valid: All men are green. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is green.

Formally Invalid Arguments:

3. False and Invalid: Some men are green. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is green. 4. True but Invalid: Some men are mortal.

Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal. In example 2, the first statement is false, but the form or structure of the argument is correct or valid. (If all men were green; then Socrates would be also.) In examples 3 and 4, the first statement says something about some men, not about all men. One could correctly reason from this first statement that Socrates might possibly be green or mortal, but he could not correctly reason that Socrates necessarily is green or mortal. Formal fallacies are therefore invalid arguments arguments where the concluding statement does not necessarily follow from the statements preceding it. The concluding statement may actually be objectively true, but it's truth does not depend on or follow from the other statements. A change in the actual terms used in an argument may affect the actual truth value of the argument, but a change in terms will not affect the validity or invalidity of the argument. All men including Socrates are truly mortal; but all men including Socrates are not truly green. If all men were green, then Socrates would be also! But if only some men were green, then Socrates would not necessarily be green. Because the terms themselves do not affect validity, we can substitute symbols for the terms. All men are mortal. All a are b. Socrates is a man. c is a. Therefore Socrates is mortal. Therefore c is b. No matter what terms you may put in the place of a, b, and c, if all a are members of the class called b, and c is a member of the class called a, the c must necessarily be a member of the class called b. Because there are only a small number of possible relationships between the terms, these relationships can also be represented by symbols. When this is done, the whole form of an argument can be written in symbols. This is called symbolic logic, which is a special branch of the study of formal validity.

Informal Fallacies
Correct reasoning involves clear expression and valid form. Formal fallacies are a matter of invalid form. Informal fallacies are a matter of unclear expression. Formal fallacies deal with the logic of the technical structure, while informal fallacies deal with the logic of the meaning of language. The word "informal" does not here mean it is inferior, casual or improper. It only means that our focus is not on the form of the argument, but on the meaning of the argument. An informal fallacy involves such things as: the misuse of language words or grammar, misstatements of fact or opinion, misconceptions due to underlying presuppositions, or just plain illogical sequences of thought.

We encounter both formal and informal fallacies every day, but unlike formal fallacies, we cannot reduce informal fallacies to symbolic formulas. We can, however, compile a list of characteristic profiles of informal fallacies, and arrange them into general categories.

I. Informal Fallacies of Ambiguity

The first general category of informal fallacies we will examine is that which involves the imprecise use of language. Each language has its own "logic" the way the written symbols or the spoken symbols are arranged to convey certain meanings. When a word or an expression is used in an imprecise manner, a door is opened for a misunderstanding a fallacy. A. Equivocation A word may have more than one distinguishable meaning. An argument may be constructed around the ambiguity of the meaning of that word. If you use one meaning of the word in a premise; then another meaning of the word in another premise, or in the conclusion, you may appear to have proved something. Example: Logic teaches you how to argue. People argue entirely too much. Therefore we don't need to teach people Logic. In this "argument" the word "argue" is used in two entirely different senses. In the first line, the word "argue" is used to mean only the process of arranging propositions to flow logically from a premise to a conclusion. In the second line, the word "argue" is used to include such meanings as a heated discussion, a bitter disagreement, a contentious altercation, a dispute or a controversy. A logical argument may sometimes lead to a dispute, or it may sometimes settle a dispute; but there is no necessary connection between teaching logical argument and encouraging people to bitterly argue. Often a person does not recognize that he is using a term in two senses because the two senses are often very close yet distinguishable. A gracious way to approach someone whom you think has equivocated is to ask him to define his use of the word in each proposition. If he does not recognize any difference, you may point out the differences often subtle which you notice. If he still does not catch on, you may wish to offer an example of your own equivocation in order to humble yourself and thereby disarm any "defense" mechanism which may be kicking in and blinding him. Another possibility which you must consider is that you have invented the equivocation in your mind it is not real. If you are still satisfied that he has equivocated, you must determine whether the conversation can continue around the point, possibly returning later to the point after other things have been discussed and clarified. B. Amphibology or Semantic and Syntactic Ambiguity A variation on the above is when a word, phrase or grammatical construction is used which can be understood more than one way.

Example: Lots for sale. (Semantic Ambiguity: Allotments of land or numerous things?) Example: Laurie calls her mother when she's alone. (Syntactic Ambiguity: Who is alone, Laurie or her mother?)

A Semantic Ambiguity can be removed by defining the ambiguous word or by offering a synonym. A Syntactic Ambiguity can be removed by reconstructing the sentence. Some Amphibologies may be deliberate.

Example: "What I have written, I have written." (John 19:22)

Pilate states a fact, that he had written the inscription of condemnation on the cross; then he declares his intention, that he was not going to change the inscription.

Formal fallacy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (December 2010) It has been suggested that Fallacies of definition be merged into this article or section. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2012.

In philosophy, a formal fallacy is a pattern of reasoning that is always wrong. This is due to a flaw in the logical structure of the argument which renders the argument invalid. A formal fallacy is contrasted with an informal fallacy, which may have a valid logical form, but be false due to the characteristics of its premises, or its justification structure. The term fallacy is often used generally to mean an argument that is problematic for any reason, whether it is formal or informal. The presence of a formal fallacy in a deductive argument does not imply anything about the argument's premises or its conclusion. Both may actually be true, or even more probable as a result of the argument, but the deductive argument is still invalid because the conclusion does not follow from the premises in the manner described. By extension, an argument can contain a formal fallacy even if the argument is not a deductive one; for instance an inductive argument that incorrectly applies principles of probability or causality can be said to commit a formal fallacy. "Fallacious arguments usually have the deceptive appearance of being good arguments."[1] Recognizing fallacies in everyday arguments may be difficult since arguments are often

embedded in rhetorical patterns that obscure the logical connections between statements. Informal fallacies may also exploit the emotional, intellectual, or psychological weaknesses of the audience. Having the capability to recognize fallacies in arguments is one way to reduce the likelihood of such occurrences. A different approach to understanding and classifying fallacies is provided by argumentation theory. In this approach, an argument is regarded as an interactive protocol between individuals which attempts to resolve their disagreements. The protocol is regulated by certain rules of interaction and violations of these rules are fallacies. Such fallacies are used in many forms of modern communications where the intention is to influence behavior and change beliefs. Examples in the mass media today include but are not limited to propaganda, advertisements, politics, newspaper editorials and opinion-based news shows.


1 In contrast to informal fallacy 2 Common examples 3 See also 4 References 5 External links

In contrast to informal fallacy

As modus ponens, the following argument contains no formal fallacies.
1. If P then Q 2. P 3. Therefore Q

If statements 1 and 2 are true, it will absolutely follow that statement 3 is true. However, it may still be the case that statement 1 or 2 is not true. For example:
1. If a scientist makes a statement about science, it is correct. 2. Albert Einstein states that all quantum mechanics is deterministic. 3. Therefore it's true that quantum mechanics is deterministic.

In this case, statement 1 is false. The particular informal fallacy being committed in this assertion is argument from authority. By contrast, an argument with a formal fallacy could still contain all true premises:
1. If Bill Gates owns Fort Knox, then he is rich. 2. Bill Gates is rich.

3. Therefore, Bill Gates owns Fort Knox.

Though, 1 and 2 are true statements, 3 does not follow because the argument commits the formal fallacy of affirming the consequent. An argument could contain both an informal fallacy and a formal fallacy yet have a correct conclusion, for example, again affirming the consequent:
1. If a scientist makes a statement about science, it is correct. 2. It's true that quantum mechanics is deterministic. 3. Therefore a scientist has made a statement about it.

Informal fallacy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search

An informal fallacy is an argument whose stated premises fail to support its proposed conclusion.[1] The deviation in an informal fallacy often stems from a flaw in the path of reasoning that links the premises to the conclusion. In contrast to a formal fallacy, the error has to do with issues of ratiocination manifest in language used to state the propositions; the range of elements that can be symbolized by language is broader than that which the symbolism of formal logic can represent.


1 Deductive and inductive informal fallacies 2 See also 3 References 4 Further reading 5 External links

Deductive and inductive informal fallacies

Informal fallacies of deductive reasoning contain a fundamental disconnect between the premises and the conclusion that renders the argument invalid. This disconnect often stems from the presence of a hidden co-premise that, if presented, would validate the argument. Inductive informal fallacies are slightly different from their deductive counterparts, as their merit rests in the inductive strength of the premise-conclusion link rather than in the presence of hidden premises. For instance, the fallacy of hasty generalization, can be roughly stated as:
1. A is an X

2. A is also a Y 3. Therefore, all Xs are also Ys

If the populations X and Y are both too large to sample completely, then the statement is inductive. In such a case, a hasty generalization occurs when the number of Xs and Ys is insufficient to represent the respective populations. It is important to distinguish between a principle of reasoning (deductive or inductive) and the premise of an argument.
The Toulmin Model of Argumentation The Toulmin model asserts that most arguments consist of the following 6 parts:

We can also identify 3 other important parts of an argument Assumptions Counter-examples Counter-arguments Implications

The Toulmin Model

1. Claim: the position or claim being argued for; the conclusion of the argument. 2. Grounds: reasons or supporting evidence that bolster the claim. 3. Warrant: the principle, provision or chain of reasoning that connects the grounds/reason to the claim. 4. Backing: support, justification, reasons to back up the warrant. 5. Rebuttal/Reservation: exceptions to the claim; description and rebuttal of counter-examples and counter-arguments. 6. Qualification: specification of limits to claim, warrant and backing. The degree of conditionality asserted.

Warrants/General Strategies of Argument Warrants are chains of reasoning that connect the claim and evidence/reason. A warrant is the principle, provision or chain of reasoning that connects the grounds/reason to the claim. Warrants operate at a higher level of generality than a claim or reason, and they are not normally explicit. Example: Needle exchange programs should be abolished [claim] because they only cause more people to use drugs. [reason] The unstated warrant is: when you make risky behavior safer you encourage more people to engage in it. There are 6 main argumentative strategies via which the relationship between evidence and claim are often established. They have the acronym GASCAP.

Generalization Analogy Sign Causality Authority Principle

These strategies are used at various different levels of generality within an argument, and rarely come in neat packages - typically they are interconnected and work in combination. Common Warrants 1. Argument based on Generalization A very common form of reasoning. It assumes that what is true of a well chosen sample is likely to hold for a larger group or population, or that certain things consistent with the sample can be inferred of the group/population. 2. Argument based on Analogy Extrapolating from one situation or event based on the nature and outcome of a similar situation or event. Has links to 'case-based' and precedent-based reasoning used in legal discourse. What is important here is the extent to which relevant similarities can be established between 2 contexts. Are there sufficient, typical, accurate, relevant similarities? 3. Argument via Sign/Clue The notion that certain types of evidence are symptomatic of some wider principle or outcome. For example, smoke is often considered a sign for fire. Some people think high SAT scores are a sign a person is smart and will do well in college. 4. Causal Argument Arguing that a given occurrence or event is the result of, or is effected by, factor X. Causal reasoning is the most complex of the different forms of warrant. The big dangers with it are: 1. Mixing up correlation with causation

2. Falling into the post hoc, ergo propter hoc trap. Closely related to confusing correlation and causation, this involves inferring 'after the fact, therefore because of the fact').

5. Argument from Authority Does person X or text X constitute an authoritative source on the issue in question? What political, ideological or economic interests does the authority have? Is this the sort of issue in which a significant number of authorities are likely to agree on? 6. Argument from Principle Locating a principle that is widely regarded as valid and showing that a situation exists in which this principle applies. Evaluation: Is the principle widely accepted? Does it accurately apply to the situation in question? Are there commonly agreed on exceptions? Are there 'rival' principles that lead to a different claim? Are the practical consequences of following the principle sufficiently desirable?

Rebuttals and Main/Faulty/Return Paths Unlike many forms of writing, academic arguments will often include discussions of possible objections and counterarguments to the position being advanced. Academic arguments typically take place in disciplinary communities in which a variety of competing or divergent positions exist. When preparing to 'speak' to the community by writing an argument, writers are aware of the arguments against which they must build their claims, and of the counterarguments which are likely to emerge. Dealing with counterarguments and objections is thus a key part of the process of building arguments, refining them, interpreting and analyzing them. There are several main reasons for introducing counterarguments and objections. 1. It demonstrates that the author is aware of opposing views, and is not trying to 'sweep them under the table'. It thus is more likely to make the writer's argument seem 'balanced' or 'fair' to readers, and as a consequence be persuasive. 2. It shows that the writer is thinking carefully about the responses of readers, anticipating the objections that many readers may have. Introducing the reader to some of the positions opposed to your own, and showing how you can deal with possible objections can thus work to 'inoculate' the reader against counterarguments. 3. By contrasting one's position with the arguments or alternative hypotheses one is against, one clarifies the position that is being argued for.

When dealing with objections or counterarguments, authors tend to take one of 3 approaches. 1. Strategic concession: acknowledgment of some of the merits of a different view. In some cases, this may mean accepting or incorporating some components of an authors' argument, while rejecting other parts of it. 2. Refutation: this involves being able to show important weaknesses and shortcomings in an opponent's position that demonstrate that his/her argument ought to be rejected. 3. Demonstration of irrelevance: showing that the issue in question is to be understood such that opposing views, while perhaps valid in certain respects, do not in fact meet the criteria of relevance that you believe define the issue.

How well authors produce rebuttals and deal with counter-arguments is an important part of how we evaluate the success of an argument.