Tag Archives: OSSA 9

OSSA Day 3: methods of informal logic?

First session this morning: Hans Hansen's "Are there Methods of Informal Logic?" (commentary by Dan Cohen).  Great presentation, excellent commentary, and great questions.  Hansen's presentation focused on the illative (premise-conclusion) relation alone and so the idea of method is almost strictly analogous to that of deductive logic.  So, to rephrase the question, are there methods of evaluating informal illation analogous to those of formal arguments?  There seem to be several candidates, and Hansen's paper lucidly covered the alternatives.  This warranted the comment: maybe this proliferation of conceptions of informal logic is very bad PR.  

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.

OSSA Day 2: Mannequin

Interesting thing about broad topic conferences such as this is that you'll see people from all sorts of disciplines, places, approaches present papers on all sorts of topics.  This morning, for instance, I heard Emma Engdahl, Marie Gelang, and Alyssa O'Brien's "The Visual Rhetoric of Store-window Mannequinas," the title of which gives you a good idea what the paper was about.  Luckily, the presentation was accompanied by a slide show of mannequins from various times and places.  The authors noted the particular phenomenon of headless mannequins, a fact which inspired much discussion.  There are a couple of more papers on the topic of visual arguments (one, in fact, on visual negation–I hope to see that one tomorrow).