views updated May 29 2018

21. Argumentation


Obsolete, a statement that is nonsensical or illogical.
Obsolete, a statement open to more than one interpretation; an ambiguity.
an agreement or correspondence in particular features between things otherwise dissimilar; the inference that if two things agree with each other in one or more respects, they will probably agree in yet other respects. analogous, adj.
a contradiction.
a method of argument in which the proposition to be established is emphasized through the disproving of its contradiction; reductio ad absurdum. apagogic, adj.
a person who defends, in speech or writing, a faith, doctrine, idea, or action.
circularism, circularity
reasoning or arguing in a circle.
the belief in and use of conciliation in an argument. conhciliationist, n. conciliatory, adj.
Obsolete, controversy or argument. disceptator, n.
a controversial debate or discussion; a dispute. See also 382. SPEECH . disputant, n.
Obsolete, the act of dissenting or disagreeing. dissenter, n.
a difference of opinion.
a stubborn attachment to a theory or doctrine without regard to its practicability. Also spelled doctrinairism . doctrinaire, n., adj.
1. a statement of a point of view as if it were an established fact.
2. the use of a system of ideas based upon insufficiently examined premises. dogmatist, n. dogmatic, adj.
a method of induction in which enumeration of particulars leads to the inferred generalization. epagogic, adj.
a syllogism whose premises are the conclusion of a preceding syllogism.
the practice or habit of quibbling and wrangling; sophistical reasoning. ergotize, v.
1. a participant in an argument or controversy.
2. the art of disputation. eristic, eristical, adj.
the art and study of argumentation and formal debate. forensic, adj.
a method of argument in which postulates or assumptions are made that remain to be proven or that lead the arguers to discover the proofs themselves. heuristic, adj.
1. a principle or proposition that is assumed for the sake of argument or that is taken for granted to proceed to the proof of the point in question.
2. a system or theory created to account for something that is not understood. hypothesist, hypothetist, n. hypothetic, hypothetical, adj.
1. a person who is pedantic in argument.
2. a person whose logic is less valid than he thinks.
Euclid of Megaras Socratic school of philosophy, known for the use of logical paradox and near-specious subtleties.
a hatred of argument, debate, or reasoning. misologist, n.
the laws of logic; the science of the intellect. noetic, adj.
the use of argument intended to prevent enlightenment or to hinder the process of knowledge and wisdom. Also spelled obscuranticism . obscurantist, n. obscurant, obscurantic, adj.
deliberate interference with the progress of an argument. obstructionist, n. obstructionistic, adj.
the proposing of paradoxical opinions; speaking in paradoxes. paradoxer, n.
paralogism, paralogy, paralogia
a method or process of reasoning which contradicts logical rules or formulas, especially the use of a faulty syllogism (the formal fallacy). paralogist, n. paralogistic, adj.
Rare. related to a love of controversy and argument. philopolemist, n.
one who uses Talmudic dialectic; a subtle reasoner. pilpulistic, adj.
polemicist, polemist
a skilled debater in speech or writing. polemical, adj.
the art of dispute or argument. polemic, n., adj. polemically, n., adv.
a series of syllogisms set up systematically.
anticipating an opponents argument and answering it before it can be made. See also 174. FUTURE . proleptic, adj.
a false syllogism whose conclusion does not follow from its premises.
a nice or fine point, as in argument; a subtlety. quodlibetal, adj.
a person who likes to talk about or dispute fine points or quodlibets.
Obsolete, the act or process of refuting or disproving. redargutory, adj.
a person who decides a matter when the parties to it are in conflict; an umpire or judge.
the tendency to concentrate on a single part of an argument and to ignore or exclude all complicating factors. simplistic, adj.
1. a specious argument for displaying ingenuity in reasoning or for deceiving someone.
2. any false argument or fallacy. sophister, n. sophistic, adj.
1. Ancient Greece. a teacher of rhetoric, philosophy, etc; hence, a learned person.
2. one who is given to the specious arguments often used by the sophists.
1. the teachings and ways of teaching of the Greek sophists.
2. specious or fallacious reasoning, as was sometimes used by the sophists.
a form of reasoning in which two statements are made and a logical conclusion is drawn from them. See also 250. LOGIC . syllogistic, adj.
the state or quality of being forceful, incisive, or penetrating, as in words or an argument. trenchant, adj.
hair-splitting, as in argument; the making of overly fine points.


views updated May 17 2018


An argumentation is defined as an expression signifying the inference of one truth from another truth. Just as a term is the sign of a concept, and a proposition the sign of a judgment, so argumentation is the sign of the act of the mind known as reasoning. As a sign, it is expressed primarily in spoken words and secondarily in written words. An example of the latter would be: "Everything white reflects light, and snow is white; hence snow reflects light."

Elements of Argumentation. Every argumentation consists of three elements: the antecedent, the conclusion, and the inference. The antecedent is the truth or truths already known as a starting point; the conclusion, sometimes called the consequent, is the truth newly arrived at; the inference, also called the illation or consequence, is the mental act involved in drawing the conclusion from the antecedent. The first two elements are found explicitly in an argumentation, while the third is indicated implicitly by a "therefore," "so," or "hence." Of the three inference is the most important element, because it gives unity and meaning to the other two, fashioning them into a logical unit. Thus, an argumentation is not merely a list of truths connected by a "therefore"; rather it signifies a growth of truth. And just as a growing organism has parts that are unified by its soul or vital principle, so argumentation has parts that are unified by the act of inference.

One difficulty in understanding argumentation comes from the inadequacy of examples. A teacher can communicate antecedent and conclusion to a student, but he cannot communicate or exemplify the inference. The act of inferring must take place in the student's mind, and there alone. As a result, examples of argumentation given in standard logic texts can be meaningless to the reader. Unless he proceeds step by step and sees the conclusion as a new truth drawn from the old, there is for him no argumentation. Inference, therefore, is not to be confused with mere succession. In argumentation one truth does not follow another; rather it follows from another. There must be a causal dependence of the conclusion on the antecedent, and precisely this is difficult to convey by means of examples.

Valid Inference. The rules or laws of argumentation are phrased as follows: (1) from a true antecedent there always follows a true conclusion; (2) from a false antecedent there sometimes follows a true conclusion; and (3) the conclusion always follows the weaker part, i.e., if the antecedent is negative or particular, the conclusion will correspondingly be negative or particular. These rules govern the inferences made in a reasoning process.

Another type of inference is found in judgment, when, from the truth or falsity of a given proposition, one infers the truth and falsity of related propositions. This is done in the matrices of symbolic logic and in the traditional square of opposition. Such a procedure is improperly called immediate inference by some writers. Mediate inference, which is said to be employed in argumentation, requires, on the other hand, that the conclusion be a new truth and not merely the rephrasing of a truth already known.

Because of the role of inference, argumentation is not said to be true or false (although obviously the conclusion can be so called), but rather argumentation is valid if it observes the necessary dependence of the conclusion on the antecedent, and invalid if it does not. Some authors speak of good and bad argumentation. Thus a geometrical proof that leads to a true conclusion through the observance of proper method is known as a good or valid argumentation.

Kinds of Argumentation. Argumentation can be divided on the basis of either its form or its matter. The division on the basis of form or structure has two principal members: argumentation that is good, and argumentation that is only apparently good. The latter is called fallacy or sophistry. Although it has the appearance, at least to the neophyte, of valid argumentation, some fault hidden in its structure or content renders it invalid.

Argumentations that are good or valid are of two types: inductive and deductive (see induction; deduction). The inductive process is one whose antecedent is less general than the conclusion; the deductive process, on the other hand, is one whose antecedent is more general than its conclusion. Both induction and deduction are equally argumentations. When arranged artificially by the logician, deduction is formulated in the syllogism. The argumentation already given as an example can be cast in syllogistic form as follows:

Everything white reflects light. But snow is white. Therefore snow reflects light.

Another division is that on the basis of matter or content. Argumentation is apodictic when the matter involved is necessary, i.e., the various terms of the antecedent cannot be related other than they are. When this obtains within the deductive process the argumentation is a demonstration. When the matter is only contingent or probable, the argumentation is dialectical (see dialectics). When the matter is such that it involves the emotions, but in a hidden way, the argumentation is rhetorical (see rhetoric). Finally, when open appeal is made to the emotions, the argumentation may be called poetic [see poetics (aristotelian)]. Thus argumentation can express a reasoning process in a variety of ways, ranging from the strictest scientific reasoning to the subtle intimations of poetry. It embraces inductive and deductive processes, and often combines both.

The universal scope of argumentation is often lost on the rationalist, who overemphasizes deduction, and on the empiricist, who stresses induction to an extreme. Neither the rationalist nor the empiricist considers rhetorical and poetical forms of argument as legitimate forms of reasoning. This is in sharp contrast to the cultural and scientific appreciation accorded this means of attaining truth by the ancient Greeks and medieval schoolmen.

See Also: logic; proof.

Bibliography: s. j. hartman, Fundamentals of Logic (St. Louis 1949). j. a. oesterle, Logic: The Art of Defining and Reasoning (2d ed. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 1963), v. e. smith, The Elements of Logic (Milwaukee 1957). e. d. simmons, The Scientific Art of Logic (Milwaukee 1961).

[e. bondi]


views updated Jun 08 2018

ar·gu·men·ta·tion / ˌärgyəmənˈtāshən/ • n. the action or process of reasoning systematically in support of an idea, action, or theory.

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