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Argument: Critical Thinking, Logic and the Fallacies by John Hayden Woods
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The reason behind that limitation is twofold: first, the approach focuses on relationships between arguments and not on the internal structure of each argument, making internal relevance impossible to capture; second, the attack relationship is defined between nodes arguments , whereas a challenge of relevance is essentially an attack against an edge of the argumentation graph, in that it questions the fact that argument p has anything to do with argument q. It remains unclear, though, how this might enable to express specific criticisms of relevance, as opposed to more general attacks against the validity of a proposed relationship between two arguments.
Further work on meta-argumentation will be needed, if this method is to be used to model trust in relevance, along the lines pioneered by Villata et al. Even if many possibilities are open to the formal modelling of trust in argumentative relevance, one might remain sceptical on the technological implications of this line of research.
Do argument-based software applications really need to incorporate trust in relevance? But also because users of argumentation technologies have the need for, and thus a justified expectation of, systems able to be maximally relevant , in the sense discussed in Section 3. Imagine a user who must decide whether to take medicine X to treat illness Y , with the help of an argument-based decision support system; there are no arguments against taking medicine X in the knowledge base of the system, while it contains the following three arguments in favour of that course of action: A Clinical trials show that taking medicine X triples the life expectancy of patients with illness Y.
Therefore, you should take medicine X. B Medicine X is less painful than other available treatments for illness Y. C Medicine X is less expensive than other available treatments for illness Y. In this paper, we tried to make a case for the study of trust in argumentative relevance: after a brief survey of the literature, we proposed a distinction between external and internal relevance of arguments, and contended that trust is especially central to the latter; then we discussed several rational grounds that may justify the act of trusting in the relevance of an argument, and sketched possible formal developments for the ideas presented here, as well as their import for argumentation technologies.
While much more remains to be said on the connection between trust, relevance, and arguments, we hope to have persuaded readers that this is indeed a worthy line of inquiry, thereby luring others to join us in further exploring its ramifications. Nonetheless, we would like to close this paper with a word of caution, regarding its technological implications.
While the relevance of trust for establishing argumentative relevance pun intended is hardly in doubt, its actual implementation faces several practical difficulties. In that regard, we do not completely share Walton's optimism on the promises of heuristics as those discussed in Pearl, for the automatic assessment of relevance Walton, , pp. Walton is aware of this difficulty, but seems to see it just as a minor inconvenience, whereas we consider it a major obstacle: Ideally, if an argument really is relevant in a dialogue, it will be connected to the issue of the dialogue by a chain of argumentation.
But in reality, there may be a big gap to be filled between the argumentation in a given case and the ultimate thesis or goal at which argumentation is supposed to finally arrive. What has to be done is to try to chain the argumentation forward to see if it could really be extended to reach its supposed ultimate point. One such exception is the case of an arguer straw-manning the position of a third party, rather than that of the counterpart in the ongoing argumentative exchange.
Although similar cases are certainly worthy of further analysis, this task will not be undertaken here. Once you have an iron-clad case for p , any further argument for p becomes moot: more precisely, even if further arguments would be relevant under different circumstances i. This view is compatible with the notion of relevance favoured by Sperber and Wilson : once your point is proven beyond doubt, further reasons for it add to communicative costs without producing any benefit, thus reducing relevance.
His maxim of relevance as all the others, for that matter does not maintain that speakers will always be relevant, nor that interpreters will always assume them to be. Rather, the maxim states that understanding an utterance in this case, an argument implies taking it as an attempt successful or failed, by mistake or on purpose to be maximally relevant: even if the premises of your argument are not really relevant to its conclusion, you are presenting them to me as if they were, and you want me to understand them as such; and even if I see through your fallacious move and recognise the argument as lacking internal relevance, I still understand your intent of making me assume the opposite — otherwise I am simply failing to recognise the communicative intention behind your act.
In his own words: when I speak of the irrelevance of relevance I do not wish to be taken as implying that it is not necessary to make relevance judgments; what is irrelevant is a theory or formal analysis of relevance. The idea that such judgments need a theory behind them to make them respectable is, I believe, entirely false. On the contrary, judgments intended to have a justifying function cannot be backed by such a theory without initiating a regress.
All we want to stress is that social conventions contra Jones, are not the only root of trust in relevance. Thus, here we will discuss only the four properties of trust listed above.
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This is very different from being a legitimate premise that happens to be defeated, either because it is proved to be false, or because it is overruled by other considerations which is the notion of attack captured by abstract argumentation. But of course one could think of instances in which these priorities change: e. This does not change the main point: whenever the relevance of a premise is abysmal in comparison with that of other premises, insisting on mentioning it constitutes an annoyance for users. All remaining mistakes and omissions are our sole responsibility.
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