Informal Logic: A Pragmatic Approach / Edition 2

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Informal Logic is an introductory guidebook to the basic principles of constructing sound arguments and criticizing bad ones. Non-technical in approach, it is based on 186 examples, which Douglas Walton, a leading authority in the field of informal logic, discusses and evaluates in clear, illustrative detail. Walton explains how errors, fallacies, and other key failures of argument occur. He shows how correct uses of argument are based on sound strategies for reasoned persuasion and critical responses. Among the many subjects covered are: forms of valid argument, defeasible arguments, relevance, appeals to emotion, personal attack, straw man argument, jumping to a conclusion, uses and abuses of expert opinion, problems in drawing conclusions from polls and statistics, loaded terms, equivocation, arguments from analogy, and techniques of posing, replying to, and criticizing questions.

This new edition takes into account many developments in the field of argumentation study that have occurred since 1989, many created by the author. Drawing on these developments, Walton includes and analyzes thirty-six new topical examples and also brings in recent work on argumentation schemes.

Ideally suited for use in courses in informal logic and introduction to philosophy, this book will also be valuable to students of pragmatics, rhetoric, and speech communication.

About the Author:
Douglas Walton is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Winnipeg

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Walton here updates his fine book on informal logic/critical thinking...Probably the best work on critical thinking to date, this volume would be an excellent text for courses on informal logic...Summing up: Essential. "
- R. Puligandla, University of Toledo, Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521713801
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2008
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 366
  • Sales rank: 475,701
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Walton is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Winnipeg. The recipient of numerous fellowships, awards and honors, he is the author of over thirty books, most recently Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation, Media Argumentation, and Witness Testimony Evidence.
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Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xv
Argument as reasoned dialogue     1
Types of argumentative dialogue     3
Components of argumentative dialogue     8
Persuasion dialogue (critical discussion)     10
Negative rules of persuasion dialogue     15
Some major informal fallacies     18
The straw man fallacy     22
Argument from consequences     24
The critical perspective     34
Questions and answers in dialogue     38
Presuppositions of questions     39
Complex questions     42
Have you stopped abusing your spouse?     46
Disjunctive questions     50
Arguments from ignorance     56
Replying to a question with a question     61
Begging the question     64
Questions in polls     67
Advocacy and push polling     71
Question-answer rules in dialogue     73
Criticisms of irrelevance     78
Allegations of irrelevance     79
Global irrelevance     82
Question-answer relevance     85
Setting an agenda for a discussion     88
Red herring versus wrongconclusion     92
Varieties of criticisms of irrelevance     99
Summary     102
Appeals to emotion     106
Argumentum ad populum     107
The argument from popularity     111
Problems with appeals to popularity     114
Threatening appeals to force     117
Further ad baculum problems     124
Appeals to pity     128
Overt, pictorial appeals to pity     130
Summary     133
Valid arguments     136
Deductive validity     137
Identifying arguments     138
Validity as a semantic concept     142
Valid forms of argument     144
Invalid arguments     149
Inconsistency     152
Composition and division     156
Defeasible reasoning     159
Jumping to a conclusion     162
Summary     166
Personal attack in argumentation     170
The abusive ad hominem argument     171
The circumstantial ad hominem argument     177
The attack on an arguer's impartiality     185
Non-fallacious ad hominem arguments     190
Replying to a personal attack      194
Critical questions for an ad hominem argument     198
Important types of error to check     201
Some cases for further discussion     203
Appeals to authority     209
Reasonable appeals to authority     211
Argumentation scheme for appeal to expert opinion     215
Critical questions for the appeal to expert opinion     217
Three common errors in citing expert opinions     223
Evaluating appeals to expert opinion in written sources     225
Expert testimony in legal argumentation     229
How expert is the authority?     232
Interpreting what the expert said     237
A balanced view of argument from expert opinion     241
Inductive errors, bias, and fallacies     246
Meaningless and unknowable statistics     247
Sampling procedures     251
Insufficient and biased statistics     254
Questionable questions and definitions     256
The post hoc argument     259
Six kinds of post hoc errors     263
Bias due to defining variables     270
Post hoc criticisms as raising critical questions in an inquiry     272
Strengthening causal arguments by answering critical questions      275
Examples of drawing causal conclusions from scientific studies     279
Summary     285
Natural language argumentation     289
Ambiguity and vagueness     290
Loaded terms and question-begging language     294
Equivocation and amphiboly     300
Arguments based on analogy     305
Argumentative use of analogy     308
Criticizing arguments from analogy     312
Slippery slope arguments     315
Subtle equivocations     321
Variability of strictness of standards     325
Conclusions     328
Bibliography     333
Index     339
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