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In Relevance in Argumentation, author Douglas Walton presents a new method for critically evaluating arguments for relevance. This method enables a critic to judge whether a move can be said to be relevant or irrelevant, and is based on case studies of argumentation in which an argument, or part of an argument, has been criticized as irrelevant. Walton's method is based on a new theory of relevance that incorporates techniques of argumentation theory, logic, and artificial intelligence. The work uses a case-study approach with numerous examples of controversial arguments, strategies of attack in argumentation, and fallacies. Walton reviews ordinary cases of irrelevance in argumentation, and uses them as a basis to advance and develop his new theory of irrelevance and relevance. The volume also presents a clear account of the technical problems in the previous attempts to define relevance, including an analysis of formal systems of relevance logic and an explanation of the Grecian notion of conversational relevance. This volume is intended for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in those fields using argumentation theory--especially philosophy, linguistics, cognitive science and communication studies, in addition to argumentation. The work also has practical use, as it applies theory directly to familiar examples of argumentation in daily and professional life. With a clear and comprehensive method for determining relevance and irrelevance, it can be convincingly applied to highly significant practical problems about relevance, including those in legal and political argumentation.
It is a longstanding if not altogether coherent tradition of logic and rhetorical studies that an argument can be incorrect or fallacious in virtue of some proposition in it being “irrelevant”. This monograph clarifies that tradition. Non-classical propositional calculi, including relevance logics and relatedness logics, are juxtaposed against conversational criticisms of irrelevance in natural argumentation, e.g. in parliamentary debates. The object is to see if there is a reasonable way of evaluating criticisms like “That's beside the point!” or “That's irrelevant!”.
Use of argumentation methods applied to legal reasoning is a relatively new field of study. The book provides a survey of the leading problems, and outlines how future research using argumentation-based methods show great promise of leading to useful solutions. The problems studied include not only these of argument evaluation and argument invention, but also analysis of specific kinds of evidence commonly used in law, like witness testimony, circumstantial evidence, forensic evidence and character evidence. New tools for analyzing these kinds of evidence are introduced.
Because developments in informal logic have been based, for the most part, on idealized and abstract models, the tools available for argument analysis are not easily adapted to the needs of everyday argumentation. In this book Douglas Walton proposes a new and practical approach to argument analysis based on his theory that different standards for argument must apply in the case of different types of dialogue. By refining and extending the existing formal classifications of dialogue, Walton shows that each dialogue type, be it inquiry, negotiation, or critical discussion, has its own set of goals. He goes on to demonstrate that an argument can best be evaluated in terms of its contribution, positive or negative, to the goals of the particular dialogue it is meant to further. In this way he illustrates how argument can be brought into the service of many types of dialogue, and thus has valuable uses that go well beyond the mere settling of disputes and differences. By reaching back to the Aristotelian roots of logic as an applied, practical discipline and by formulating a new framework of rationality for evaluating arguments, Douglas Walton restores a much-needed balance to argument analysis. This book complements and extends his Argument Structure: A Pragmatic Theory (University of Toronto Press, 1996).
In the media, in the courtroom, and in everyday confrontation, ad hominem (personal attack) arguments are easy to put forward as accusations, difficult to refute, and powerfully effective persuaders. Douglas Walton gives a clear method for analyzing and evaluating ad hominem arguments in politics, law, and everyday life.
The notion of burden of proof and its companion notion of presumption are central to argumentation studies. This book argues that we can learn a lot from how the courts have developed procedures over the years for allocating and reasoning with presumptions and burdens of proof, and from how artificial intelligence has built precise formal and computational systems to represent this kind of reasoning. The book provides a model of reasoning with burden of proof and presumption, based on analyses of many clearly explained legal and non-legal examples. The model is shown to fit cases of everyday conversational argumentation as well as argumentation in legal cases. Burden of proof determines (1) under what conditions an arguer is obliged to support a claim with an argument that backs it up and (2) how strong that argument needs to be to prove the claim in question.
A leading expert in informal logic, Douglas Walton turns his attention in this new book to how reasoning operates in trials and other legal contexts, with special emphasis on the law of evidence. The new model he develops, drawing on methods of argumentation theory that are gaining wide acceptance in computing fields like artificial intelligence, can be used to identify, analyze, and evaluate specific types of legal argument. In contrast with approaches that rely on deductive and inductive logic and rule out many common types of argument as fallacious, Walton&’s aim is to provide a more expansive view of what can be considered &"reasonable&" in legal argument when it is construed as a dynamic, rule-governed, and goal-directed conversation. This dialogical model gives new meaning to the key notions of relevance and probative weight, with the latter analyzed in terms of pragmatic criteria for what constitutes plausible evidence rather than truth.

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