10.0488 argument and evidence

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Mon, 2 Dec 1996 22:56:17 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 488.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Jim Marchand <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> (20)
Subject: Argumentation, debate, etc.

According to what angle you are taking, there are many good books on the
subject. My favorite textbook was always Austin J. Freeley, _Argumentation
and Debate_ (San Francisco: Wadsworth, 1961), undoubtedly now out of print
and date, though such things rarely change. For a philosophical approach,
try C. Perelman and L. Olbrechts-Tyteca, _Traite de l'argumentation_, 2
vols. (Paris: PUF, 1958). Dense but rewarding.
Back when I was in the teaching business, I used to give the students a
list of the medieval _argumenta_ (argumentum ad verecundiam, ad hominem, ad
captandum, etc.) and let them take apart political speeches, books, others'
articles, etc. This approach works fairly well, though the last election
would have furnished them with information overload. There is even a
netsite devoted to argumenta somewhere out there, and I posted somewhere a
list of about 50 medieval argumenta.
It is even useful to invent them; e.g., the argumentum more Luciae:
Linus and Lucy are walking along the sidewalk and he sees something lying
there. "Gack! What's that?" Lucy: "It's one of those butterflies which fly
up here each year from Brazil, etc." Linus picks it up: "It's only a potatoe
chip." Lucy: "How in the world did that get all the way up here from
Brazil?" Never give up your presuppositions.
Jim Marchand.