Wednesday, 13 December 2006

1.1, Analysis: Differences of Opinion

Notes taken from ‘Argumentation: Analysis, Evaluation, Presentation’, by Frans van Eemeren et al.

1, Disagreement and Argumentative Discussion
Argumentative Discussion: Essentially aimed at coming to a reasonable agreement. There is, by definition, an explicit or implicit appeal to reasonableness.

2, Explicit and Implicit Differences of Opinion
Difference of Opinion: A disagreement that always involves two parties. Explicit if both the standpoint and the rejection of it are clearly expressed. In written texts, the difference of opinion often remains implicit because only one party is expressing its views.

3, Positive and Negative Standpoints
Proposition: A certain property or quality is ascribed to the person or things referred to. Can be a description of facts or events, a prediction, a judgment, or advice. A positive, negative or neutral position can be taken.

4, Standpoints and Expressions of Doubt
Standpoint: Adopted in relation to propositions of all kinds. Whether a proposition relates to a simple matter or a complex matter, it is always possible to adopt a standpoint on it. Can vary in degree of force and scope.
Expression of Doubt: A neutral position. Adopting a negative standpoint leads to the obligation to defend that negative standpoint if it is called into question, whereas merely expressing doubt does not create any such commitment.

5, Types of Difference of Opinion
Elementary Form: Single and nonmixed.
Multiple: The standpoint relates to more than one proposition.
Mixed: Opposing standpoints are adopted with respect to the same proposition.
Complex Differences of Opinion: Single mixed, multiple nonmixed, and multiple mixed. Can be broken down into two or more elementary differences of opinion.

6, Main and Subordinate Differences of Opinion
Subordinate: May arise during the discussion about the main disagreement. Comes to light gradually, so what the two parties actually disagree on becomes clear only in the course of discussion.

7, How To Recognise Standpoints and Doubt
Standpoints: Indicated by certain phrases.
Doubts: May be more difficult to recognise than a standpoint because it so often remains implicit. There are certain expressions from which doubt can be inferred.

1 comment:

adil said...


Implicit Difference of Opinion: Author anticipates that her standpoint will not be immediately accepted by everyone so goes to the trouble of giving arguments in support of it.

Scope: A proposition can apply to everyone or only to certain inviduals.

Force: An opinion can be stated with total conviction or cautiously expressed as a suggestion.

Multiple Difference of Opinion: Arises when someone brings up two or more issues at the same time.

Standpoints: “We are of the opinion that…”, “I think that…”, “If you ask me…”, “It’s a good idea to…”, “You must never…”.

Implicit Doubt: Seeing the other person frown, or perhaps putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.

Explicit Doubt: “I don’t know whether…”, “I’m not entirely sure…”, “Couldn’t it be that…”.