The force of argument: Reason, belief, consensus
Marcin Selinger, Bartłomiej Skowron (Eds.)

Special Issue of the journal Problems of the Science of Science – Quarterly
(Zagadnienia Naukoznawstwa)

Volume 52, Issue 3 (209), 2016

The Polish-language special issue of Zagadnienia Naukoznawstwa (Problems of the Science of Science – Quarterly) is devoted to the 13th ArgDiaP Conference “The force of argument: reason, belief, consensus”. The conference took place in Wroclaw, on 20-21 November 2015, and was part of an integral discussion on the program concerning the principles of the Polish School of Argumentation which was initiated, in Warsaw in 2013, at the 11th meeting of the ArgDiaP meetings series. The article “The Polish School of Argumentation: A manifesto” resulting from the Warsaw meeting constituted the framework for the conference held in Wroclaw. The special issue contains one article co-edited by the conference participants, two articles written by the invited lecturers and the four papers highest rated by the reviewers.

Table of contents
All papers are in Polish language and they are released under Open Access.

Detailed description

Research on the strength of arguments may be carried out on at least three methodological levels. Namely, the strength of argument in itself can be examined, i.e. the objective and logical strength with no reference to how arguments affect their users. Then, it might be said, that strong arguments belong to someone who is right (logical level). The strength of argument can also be studied with reference to the cognition that an argument can provide. Here, a strong argument is the one that can convince the recipient (psychological level). Finally, the strength of argument can be studied with reference to the cognition which an argument can provide, but relating to yet something else, that is, to a certain general goal represented by the idea of agreement between the participants in a discussion. A strong argument here is the one that allows us to reach a consensus (socio-ethical level). The articles published in this issue are devoted to the strength of arguments considered at all the above mentioned levels.

The work on the co-edited article was coordinated by Krzysztof Szymanek. Its purpose is to carry out the curriculum adopted in the Manifesto. The paper refers directly to the topic of the conference and contains the results of the questionnaire regarding the strength of arguments, summation of the panel debate which was saved as an OVA+ app description, and the analysis of the expert discourse methodology used in the research.

By taking the process of argumentation as a type of action, Janusz Czelakowski shows his original results concerning the theory of action. He focuses on the so-called rules of action and non-monotonic reasoning. His work might also be characterized as an attempt to build a formal ontology of action including a formal ontology of the argumentation process.

On the basis of the achievements of Jerzy Wróblewski, Andrzej Grabowski analyzes one of the most important presumptions that is used while interpreting legal texts, which is the presumption of ordinary language (meaning). He also specifies the formal structure of argument from the presumption of ordinary language. Answering the question regarding the strength of this argument, he points out its weak and local conclusiveness.

Michał Araszkiewicz considers the utility of the contemporary argumentation theory to analyze dogmatic legal reasoning. In particular, he justifies the usefulness of argumentation schemes and underlines the importance of analyzing large databases with the help of network tools.

Katarzyna BudzynskaBarbara Konat and Marcin Koszowy work on classical issues concerning the rational soundness of arguments (logos) and the reliability of an arguing person (ethos). They use modern methods of analyzing large language databases with the help of corpus methods and computational linguistics. It is worth emphasizing the use of original, philosophical tools including Inference Anchoring Theory.

Jolanta Rytel presents the results of her research involving interviews with Warsaw school students. By referring to the extensive, empirical data she seeks references to the functional and structural aspects of the words “argument” and “counterargument”, which were defined by the students. It turns out that children, while growing up, appeal less and less to the persuasive function of arguments, and they more and more frequently point out the structural relations that hold between premises and the conclusions of arguments.

Krzysztof Wieczorek deals with the problem of supplementing arguments with their missing parts, i.e. “hidden” premises and unspoken conclusions. He discusses, in particular, so-called deductivism. After rejecting this view, he concludes that the most profitable method seems to be the use of argumentation schemes and supplementing arguments until they reach a form suggested by one of the schemes that are classified in the literature.

All articles in Polish together with their summaries in English are available here.