Arguments from Ignorance
Arguments from Ignorance explores the situations in which the argument from ignorance (also known as the lack-of-knowledge inference, negative evidence, or default reasoning) functions as a respectable form of reasoning and those in which it is indeed fallacious. Douglas Walton draws on everyday conversations on all kinds of practical matters in which the argumentum and ignorantiam is used quite appropriately to infer conclusions. He also discusses the inappropriate use of this kind of argument, referring to various major case studies, including the Salem witchcraft trials, the McCarthy hearings, and the Alger Hiss case. This book makes an original contribution in the areas of argumentation theory and informal logic, contending that, despite its traditional classification as a fallacy, the argument from ignorance is a genuine, very common, and legitimate type of argumentation with an identifiable structure. But the book is also interdisciplinary in scope, explaining many widely interesting and controversial subjects in artificial intelligence, medical education, philosophy of science, and philosophy of law in a clear way that makes it accessible to a broad range of readers.
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The Treatment in Logic
Uses Outside Logic
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accept accused ad ignorantiam argument Alger Hiss analysis appeal to ignorance appear argu arguer argument from ignorance argument scheme argumentation stage argumentum ad ignorantiam basis burden of proof Chapter characteristic cited claim closed world assumption commitment conclusion conditional premise context of dialogue critical discussion defined dialectical disprove Eemeren and Grootendorst evaluation example expert failure given goal of dialogue guilty Hamblin hominem igno ignorantiam argument ignorantiam fallacy inference informal fallacies inherently innocent inquiry issue kind of argument knowledge base knowledge-based lack of knowledge Lockean logue ment mentum ad ignorantiam modus tollens negation negative evidence negative proof nonfallacious participant party persuasion dialogue Pierre Berton Planet X plausible practical reasoning pragmatic presumed presumptive reasoning problem profile of dialogue proponent prove question rantiam relevant respondent rules sequence of argumentation shift the burden side speech act structure tactic thesis tion type of argument type of dialogue Walton