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One-Sided Arguments
A Dialectical Analysis of Bias
One-Sided Arguments
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Douglas Walton - Author
SUNY series in Logic and Language
Price: $55.50 
Hardcover - 295 pages
Release Date: August 1999
ISBN10: 0-7914-4267-5
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-4267-8

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Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 295 pages
Release Date: August 1999
ISBN10: 0-7914-4268-3
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-4268-5

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Summary

A practical manual for evaluating bias that will be useful to anyone who has to deal with arguments, whether in academic reading or writing, or in everyday conversation.

"Walton tends to write books that need to be written, and in many cases he leads the field by being the first to draw attention to a topic that has been inadequately treated or not appreciated for its importance. In this book, he reads beyond the superficial assumption that all advocacy argumentation will be problematically biased to consider that such discourses are potentially reasonable and then discuss when this might be the case. There are also some very good case studies dispersed throughout."--Christopher Tindale, Trent University

We often feel that an argument should be doubted or held as suspicious because it has a bias. But bias isn't always wrong. It is a normal phenomenon in advocacy argumentation, and in many cases it is to be expected. Yet sometimes bias can be quite harmful in argumentation. In this book, bias is defined as one-sided advocacy of a point of view in argumentation. It is shown to be harmful, or properly subject to critical condemnation, only when the dialogue exchange is supposed to be a balanced, two-sided exchange of viewpoints.

The book concedes the postmodernist premise that bias is quite normal in everyday conversational arguments, and that a finding of bias should not, by itself, constitute grounds for criticizing an argument as critically deficient or fallacious. But the book strongly disagrees with the postmodernist conclusion that no standard of rationality can be brought to bear to condemn narrowly interest-based or one-sided arguments as biased. It is argued that in some cases narrow, one-sided partisanship in an argument is justifiably a basis for negative criticism of the worth of the argument.

Douglas Walton is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Winnipeg. He is the author of many works on informal logic and argumentation, including Appeal to Pity: Argumentum ad Misericordiam, also published by SUNY Press.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

ONE: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

1. Plato and Aristotle on Dialectic
2. Twentieth-Century Logic Textbooks on Bias
3. Bacon on Idols of the Mind
4. Arnauld on Sophisms of Self-Love, Interest, and Passion
5. Watts on Prejudices of the Mind
6. Bentham on Prejudices and Interests
7. Kant on Prejudices and Provisional Judgments
8. Beardsley on Suggestion and Slanting
9. Psychologism in Logic
10. Normative Reconstruction of Argumentation

TWO: DIALECTICAL PRELIMINARIES

1. Reasoning and Argument
2. Persuasion Dialogue
3. Commitment and Maieutic Insight
4. Negotiation Dialogue
5. Inquiry
6. Deliberation
7. Information-Seeking Dialogue
8. Eristic Dialogue
9. Mixed Dialogues
10. Dialectical Shifts

THREE: THE THEORY OF BIAS

1. Initial Perceptions of Bias
2. Objectivity, Neutrality, and Impartiality
3. Point of View and Commitment
4. Position Revealed by Argumentation
5. Fairmindedness in Critical Thinking
6. Critical Doubt
7. Bias as One-Sided Argument
8. How Is Bias Detected in an Argument
9. When Is Bias Harmful?
10. Aspects of the New Theory

FOUR: INDICATORS OF BIAS IN ARGUMENTATION

1. Something to Gain
2. Selection of Arguments
3. Lip-Service Selection
4. Commitment to an Identifiable Position
5. Closure to Opposed Argumentation
6. Rigidity of Stereotyping
7. Treating Comparable Cases Differently
8. Emphasis and Hyperbole
9. Implicature and Innuendo
10. Using the Indicators

FIVE: BIASED LANGUAGE

1. Language Used in the Abortion Issue
2. Influencing the Media through Language
3. Defining 'Poverty'
4. Defining 'Pornography'
5. Biased Terminology in Scientific Research
6. Origins of Concern about Slanted Terms
7. The Fallacy of Loaded Term
8. Question-Begging Appellatives
9. Question-Begging Epithets
10. Question-Begging Definitions
11. Persuasive Definitions
12. Stevenson's and Robinson's Analyses
13. Context of Use of Arguments
14. Uses of Slanted Terms
15. Handling Persuasive Definitions

SIX: ARGUMENTS IN SALES AND ADVERTISING

1. The Standard Treatment
2. Appeal to Pity
3. Appeal to Popularity
4. Suppressed Evidence
5. Sales Dialogue
6. Forms of Advocacy
7. The Mosaic Theory
8. Infomercials
9. Can a Good Argument Be Biased?
10. Conclusions

SEVEN: TESTING ALLEGATIONS OF BIAS

1. Evidence for a Charge of Bias
2. Potential for a Charge of Bias
3. Suspicions of Unconscious Bias
4. The Last Battleground Case
5. Defending against a Criticism of Bias
6. Burden of Proof in This Case
7. Harmful Bias and Duplicity
8. Evaluation of the Case
9. Raising Critical Questions
10. How Bias Should Be Evaluated

EIGHT: BIAS IN LEGAL AND SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENTS

1. Bias in Legal and Scientific Arguments
2. Bias as Attributed to Witnesses
3. Bias as Attributed to Judges and Juries
4. Balance in a Fair Trial
5. Bias in Scientific Research
6. Biased Statistics
7. Use of Statistics by Advocacy Groups
8. Bias in Polling
9. Biased Questions
10. Postmodernist Law and Science

NINE: THE WITCH HUNT AS A STRUCTURE OF ARGUMENTATION

1. The Inquisition
2. Witchcraft Trials
3. Initial Conditions
4. Parasemotic Structure
5. Evidence
6. Nonopenness
7. Reversal of Polarity
8. Use of Loaded Questions
9. The Sequence of Argumentation in the Witch Hunt
10. Judging Cases

TEN: EXTENDING THE THEORY

1. Summary of the Dialectical Theory
2. The State of Formal Dialectic
3. Multi-Agent Systems
4. The Stronger and Weaker Notions of an Agent
5. Characteristics of a Credible Arguer
6. The Credibility Function
7. Agent and Argument Bias
8. Why Should Bias Matter?
9. Three Ways of Evaluating an Argument
10. Postmodernism and Bias

Bibliography

Index



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