Tag Archives: Fallacy Identification in a Dialectical Approach to Teaching Critical Thinking

Philosophy15 – Why Argument Must Be Dialectical

Over at Philosophy15, Talisse and I have a short bit on why argument must not only have the core relation between premises and conclusions, but also must have a dialectical element to it.  A familiar point for those who are regular NS readers, but worth a  quick posting.

A consequent point is that it looks like the dialectical element to argument leads to a few skeptical problems for those who think that democracy must be deliberative.  (We follow up on that in the next episode.)

OSSA Day 2: Fallacy Identification

Last session of the day, Mark Battersby and Sharon Bailin's "Fallacy Identification in a Dialectical Approach to Teaching Critical Thinking," argued for the following three points:

  • Fallacies are arguments whose rhetorical value greatly exceeds their probative value;
  • Fallacy identification plays a prima facie role in eliminating bad arguments;
  • Fallacies are not the end of critical analysis, but open the door to more comprehensive evaluation.

Very helpfully, they set their view against some other common approaches to fallacies (Rescher, Hansen, Pragma-Dialectics, Walton–should do a post on these some day).  Interesting about their definition (immediately called into question by Christoph Lumer), was the idea of "rhetorical value."  He maintained that this would exclude many cases of fallacy.  For instance, absurd arguments which have little probative power; or, relatedly, an argument with lots of probative power and little persuasive power.  Battersby stood his ground that rhetorically powerless arguments can't really be fallacious, as no one would by them.

Some good commentary by van Laar (read by Krabbe).

*edited–thanks mustache man.  I was typing this during the session, trying to be quiet.