Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Practical Reasoning

Taken from Chapter 4 of 'Persuasion in Practical Argument Using Value-based Argumentation Frameworks' (2003) Trevor Bench-Capon

In practical reasoning an argument often has the following form:

Action A should be performed in circumstances C, because the performance of A in C would promote some good G.

This kind of argument can be attacked in a number of ways:
- It may be that circumstances C do not obtain; or it may be that performing A in C would not promote good G. These are similar to the way in which a factual argument can be attacked in virtue of the falsity of a premise, or because the conclusion does not follow from the premise.
- Alternatively it can be attacked because performing some action B, which would exclude A, would also promote G in C. This is like an attack using an argument with a contradictory conclusion.
- However, a practical argument like the one above can be attacked in two additional ways: It may be that G is not accepted as a good worthy of promotion, or that performing action B, which would exclude performing A, would promote a good H in C, and good H is considered more desirable than G. The first of these new attacks concerns the ends to be considered, and the second the relative weight to be given to the ends...

No comments: