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What is Reasoning? What Is an Argument?

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... His challenge was to make philosophy, and in particular what was traditionally called "dialectics" and nowadays "logic," useful for practical purposes. Walton underscored very clearly that a real argument is a complex construct: first and foremost, it is a discourse (a logos using Aristotle's terminology), and thus needs to be studied starting from its goals and more importantly its relationship with its other neglected and essential components, the interlocutors (Walton 1990). An argument, on this perspective, is a unit of argumentation, blurring the artificial divide between product and process (O'Keefe 1977). ...
... Speakers, and more specifically political actors communicating publicly, use complex strategies used for leading the interlocutor to accept a viewpoint. Arguments, intended as means for addressing an actual or potential difference (at the level of opinions, factual judgments, decisions, etc.) (Walton 1990), are one of the most important tools, and characterize a fundamental aspect of the orator's style (Hansen and Walton 2013). However, as pointed out above, political discourse is heavily characterized by other tactics that include classical features of rhetorical speech, such as the use of emotions (Macagno and Walton 2019), but also classical instances of sophistical discourse, such as the use of fallacies (Walton 1987) or the redefinition of keywords (Schiappa 2003). ...
... An argument has been traditionally defined as "a reason producing belief regarding something which is in doubt" (Boethius, De Topicis Differentiis, 1180C 6-7), which "must always be more known than the question; for if things which are not known are proved by things which are known and an argument proves something which is in doubt, then what is adduced to provide belief for the question must be more known than the question" (1180C 8-11). This definition is only apparently simple (Walton 1990). In fact, it presupposes four different levels that correspond to four dimensions of dialectics, which are mirrored in both activities of argument analysis and evaluation. ...
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An argumentation profile is defined as a methodological instrument for analyzing argumentative discourse considering distinct and interrelated dimensions: the types of argument used, their quality, and the emotions triggered. Walton’s theoretical contributions are developed as a coherent analytical and multifaceted toolbox for capturing these aspects. Argumentation schemes are used to detect and quantify the types of argument. Fallacy analysis and the assessment of the implicit premises retrieved through the schemes allow evaluating arguments. Finally, the frequency of emotive words signals the most common emotions aroused. This method is illustrated through a corpus of argumentative tweets of three politicians.
... Douglas Walton (1990) showed that formal logic and informal logic are complementary rather than adversarial. This means, Johnson (2000) stated, that "formal logic deals with the syntactic and semantic aspects of arguments, whereas informal logic is more concerned with the pragmatic aspects" (p. ...
... Moreover, Walton (1990) clarified the matter stating that while formal logic has to do with syntax (forms of structure) and semantics (truth values), informal logic has to do with "the uses of argumentation in a context of dialogue, an essentially pragmatic undertaking" (pp. 418-9). ...
... An argumentation, whether it is a one way (monolectical transaction-one reasoner) or a two way (dialectical transaction-two participants reasoning together), is regarded as a process in the sense that it brings the hearer into consideration (the hearer to whom the speech is delivered). In dialectical reasoning, Walton (1990) stated, each participant reasons based on the steps of reasoning of the other participant. Stated another way, argument as a product is part of argumentation as a process. ...
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Logic is understood so far as a product perspective, either formal or informal. The topic is still, though interesting, imprecise, sketchy and problematic. Besides, the relevance of logic to linguistics has not been explained. This research focuses on dealing with logic as a product and a process. It introduces how logic is relevant to understanding language. Logic is surely not irrelevant to real human language. In this research, we coin 'logical pragmatics' to refer to "the structure of an argumentation and its parts used by the speaker for the purpose of persuasion to have an effect in the addressee and passive audience". As such, the research mainly aims at providing a definition of "logical pragmatics" as well as developing an ideal model for it. To accomplish this aim, the research studies what this approach entails and the relevance of logic and pragmatically oriented contributions to the field of argument and argumentation. The study mainly concluded that in real communication, simple logical relations become very complex and part of a wider context where we have a speaker's communicative intention, a hearer's communicative inference, and context.
... Argumentation differs in various approaches in that it refers to either an end result in the form of written or oral texts or the dialogic processes of presenting opinions supported by reasoning (Martins & Macagno, 2021). By considering arguments as elements of communicative processes in argumentation, arguments are described as functional instruments constructed by the participants in a particular debate to convince an opponent (Evagorou et al., 2012;Walton, 1990). Approaches that refer to an end result mostly build on structural description of arguments (Andrews, 2005), such as Toulmin's prominent argumentative pattern (Toulmin, 2003). ...
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This study analyzes the potential of group-based negotiation processes based on changes in reasoning and argument weighting for a socioscientific issue (SSI) in biology classes. In the corresponding pre-and post-study, students were encouraged to reason and weight arguments about the conservation of local biodiversity before and after a group-based negotiation. For this purpose, the students employed a target-mat structuring tool for compensatory reasoning and weighting in both the individual pre-and post-phases and the group phase. To identify changes in reasoning after group-based negotiation, the use of argumentative resources, i.e., fact-based and normative resources, was assessed. When the students added confirming reasons for arguments, they were more likely to use fact-based resources. When refuting the initial reasoning, the students tended to add normative resources. Furthermore , individual changes in weightings and their relationship to the group weighting were calculated. This analysis revealed that the students changed their weightings toward the group weighting. The results are discussed in terms of the potential of negotiations to cause students to revise and rethink their reasoning and weighting in addressing SSIs and the particular potential of the target-mat instructional tool for structured decision-making.
... -Dialogue-oriented -Argument is a social and verbal means of trying to resolve, or at least to contend with, a conflict or difference that has arisen or exists between two (or more) parties. An argument necessarily involves a claim that is advanced by at least one of the parties (Walton 1990). -The study of argumentation may, informally, be considered as concerned with how assertions are proposed, discussed, and resolved in the context of issues upon which several diverging opinions may be held (Bench-Capon and Dunne 2007). ...
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This paper aims at comparing and relating belief revision and argumentation as approaches to model reasoning processes. Referring to some prominent literature references in both fields, we will discuss their (implicit or explicit) assumptions on the modeled processes and hence commonalities and differences in the forms of reasoning they are suitable to deal with. The intended contribution is on one hand assessing the (not fully explored yet) relationships between two lively research fields in the broad area of defeasible reasoning and on the other hand pointing out open issues and potential directions for future research.
... What is argument?" Walton (1990) establishes a distinction between what can be defined as reasoning or inference, and argument. In his view, reasoning is "the making or granting of assumptions called premises (starting points) and the process of moving toward conclusions (end points) from these assumptions by means of warrants" (Walton 1990, p. 403); whereas argument is "a social and verbal means of trying to resolve, or at least to contend with, a conflict or difference that has arisen or exists between two (or more) parties" (Walton 1990, p. 411). ...
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Douglas Walton, perhaps the most prolific author in Argumentation theory, has been of a great influence in the fields of Informal logic, Artificial intelligence, and Law. His contributions in the field of educational research , in particular in the field of argumentation and education, are less known. This review paper aims at shedding light on those aspects of Wal-ton's theory that have received educational researchers' attention thus far, as well identifying existing lacks of consideration and open paths for future research.
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