A probabilistic analysis of argument cogency

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A probabilistic analysis of argument cogency. / Godden, David; Zenker, Frank.

In: Synthese, Vol. 195, No. 4, 2018, p. 1715-1740.

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Godden, David ; Zenker, Frank. / A probabilistic analysis of argument cogency. In: Synthese. 2018 ; Vol. 195, No. 4. pp. 1715-1740.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - A probabilistic analysis of argument cogency

AU - Godden, David

AU - Zenker, Frank

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - This paper offers a probabilistic treatment of the conditions for argument cogency as endorsed in informal logic: acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency (RSA). Treating a natural language argument as a reason-claim-complex, our analysis identifies content features of defeasible argument on which the RSA conditions depend, namely: (1) change in the commitment to the reason, (2) the reason’s sensitivity and selectivity to the claim, (3) one’s prior commitment to the claim, and (4) the contextually determined thresholds of acceptability for reasons and for claims. Results contrast with, and may indeed serve to correct, the informal understanding and applications of the RSA criteria concerning their conceptual (in)dependence, their function as update-thresholds, and their status as obligatory rather than permissive norms, but also show how these formal and informal normative approachs can in fact align.

AB - This paper offers a probabilistic treatment of the conditions for argument cogency as endorsed in informal logic: acceptability, relevance, and sufficiency (RSA). Treating a natural language argument as a reason-claim-complex, our analysis identifies content features of defeasible argument on which the RSA conditions depend, namely: (1) change in the commitment to the reason, (2) the reason’s sensitivity and selectivity to the claim, (3) one’s prior commitment to the claim, and (4) the contextually determined thresholds of acceptability for reasons and for claims. Results contrast with, and may indeed serve to correct, the informal understanding and applications of the RSA criteria concerning their conceptual (in)dependence, their function as update-thresholds, and their status as obligatory rather than permissive norms, but also show how these formal and informal normative approachs can in fact align.

KW - Acceptability

KW - Argument appraisal

KW - Bayes theorem

KW - Informal logic

KW - Jeffrey conditionalization

KW - Relevance

KW - Sufficiency

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85007415592&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11229-016-1299-2

DO - 10.1007/s11229-016-1299-2

M3 - Article

VL - 195

SP - 1715

EP - 1740

JO - Synthese

JF - Synthese

SN - 0039-7857

IS - 4

ER -