Collections (4) : Contemporary Innovations and Structurations

1. Chaïm Perelman & Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, A Treatise on ArgumentationThe New Rhetoric, 1958

In the New Rhetoric — A Treatise on Argumentation (1958), Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca propose a sophisticated typology of arguments. Some twenty years later, in The Rhetorical Empire [L’Empire Rhétorique, 1977], Perelman takes up the essential elements of the 1958 typology, making some significant simplifications. In Juridical Logic [Logique Juridique, 1979] he presents a specific set of juridical arguments.

1.1 The typology of the Treatise

According to Conley, the Treatise contains “more than eighty different forms of argumentation, and illuminating remarks on more than sixty-five figures” (1984, p. 180-181), and contrasts these achievements with “Toulmin’s renegade logic” (ibid.).

The “forms of argumentation” are described in the third part of the Treatise, entitled “Techniques of argumentation”. They are presented as a set of “association techniques”, (Chap. 1 to 3), along with two other kinds of technique, the “dissociation technique” (Chap. 4), and the “Interaction of arguments” (Chap. 5). This latter Chapter exposes a set of disposition techniques, and discusses the relative persuasive effects of the various arrangements of arguments in a speech, that is, issues in classical “dispositio”.

1.2 The association techniques

The association techniques correspond to the classical argument schemes. They are classified under three categories:

Chap. 1. Quasi-logical arguments
Chap. 2. Arguments based on the structure of reality
Chap. 3. The relations establishing the structure of reality

“Quasi-logical arguments” (§46-59)

This category lists arguments which “lay claim to a certain power of conviction in the degree that they claim to be similar to the formal reasoning of logic or mathematics” (p. 192); this definition should be brought closer to the definition of a fallacious argument as “one that seems to be valid but is not so.” (Hamblin 1970, p. 12), S. Fallacies (1). The category covers the following argument schemes:

      • 46-49 Contradiction and incompatibility
      • 50 Identity and definition
      • 51 Analyticity, analysis and tautology
      • 52 The rule of justice
      • 53 Arguments of reciprocity
      • 54 Arguments by transitivity
      • 55 Inclusions of the part in the whole
      • 56 Division of the whole into its parts
      • 57 Arguments by comparison
      • 58 Argumentation by sacrifice
      • 59 Probabilities

In The Rhetorical Empire, the Chapter on “Quasi-Logical Arguments” essentially recapitulates the class as presented in the Treatise.

“Arguments based on the structure of reality” (§60-77)

From a linguistic point of view, he broad label “argument based on the structure of reality” may be interpreted as referring to arguments which exploit syntagmatic, or metonymic relations. This category in fact lists arguments “alleged to be in agreement with the very nature of things” (p. 191); these arguments “make use of [the structure of reality] to establish a solidarity between accepted judgments and others which one wishes to promote” (p. 261). The “causal link” and the “relation of succession” are fundamental to this category.

Arguments within this category include:

      • 61-63 “Causal link”, “Pragmatic argument”
      • 63-73 discuss arguments where the person is considered to be a causal agent, such as:
          • 64-68 “Ends and means”, among which:
          • 65 “Argument of waste”
          • 66 “The Argument of direction”
          • 68-73 “The Person and his acts”, among which:
          • 70 “Argument from authority”
          • 73 “The Group and its members”
      • 74-75 extend the notion of “relation of coexistence” to:
      • 74 “Act and essence”
      • 75 “The symbolic relation”
      • 76-77 present “more complex”, second level arguments:
      • 74 “Double hierarchy”
      • 75 “Differences of degree and of order”

The Rhetorical Empire, Chapter VIII, recapitulates the same class of arguments based on the structure of reality under different groupings:

— Relations of succession
— Relations of coexistence
— The Symbolic relation, the double hierarchy argument, argument about the differences of order.

“Relations establishing the structure of reality” §78-88

The inclusive label “Relations establishing the structure of reality” might be interpreted as referring to a set of arguments exploiting paradigmatic or metaphoric relations. This category of relations is defined on the basis of two of its prototypical members, arguments from “the particular case”, and “arguments by analogy”. The following argument schemes come under this category:

    • 78 “Argumentation by example”
    • 79 “Illustration”
    • 80-81 “Model and anti-model”
    • 82-87, On analogy
    • 87-88, On metaphor.

In the Rhetorical Empire, the title “establishing the structure of reality” is not retained; its contents are grouped under two distinct chapters:

Chap. IX, Arguments by example, illustration and model
Chap. X, Analogy and metaphor

This can be construed as a waiver of the distinction between arguments “establishing” the structure of reality, and those “based on” the structure of reality.

It might, however, also be argued that this couple of concepts does not characterize causal arguments in opposition to analogical ones, but indeed applies to both argument schemes. The successful use of an argument “based on” authority, for example, presupposes that the invoked authority has been previously “established”. This distinction is especially helpful in the case of arguments from authority, definition, causality and analogy.

1.3 The dissociation techniques

The basic difference between association and dissociation techniques is that the former operate on judgments; they “establish a solidarity between accepted judgments and others which one wishes to promote” (p. 261); they correspond to argument schemes. In contrast, dissociation techniques operate on “concepts” (p. 411; my emphasis): “[they] are mainly characterized by the modifications which they introduce into notions, since they aim less at using the accepted language than at moving towards a new formulation” (p. 191-192), S. Dissociation, Distinguo; Persuasive Definition.

The two terms of the opposition association / dissociation are thus of a very different nature.

2. Toulmin, Rieke, Janik, An introduction to reasoning (1984)

Toulmin, Rieke, Janik consider nine «forms of reasoning» «most frequently to be met with in practical situations «   (1984, p. 147-155 ; p. 155).

1. analogy
2. generalization
3. sign
4. cause
5. authority
6. dilemma
7 classification
8. opposites
9. degree

In the argument from degree, « the different properties of a given thing are presumed to vary in step with one another » (id., p. 155)

Like the following one, this restricted group of argumentative schemes has a family resemblance with the classical lists derived from Cicero, S. Collections 2.

3. Kienpointner, Alltagslogik [Everyday Logic] 1992.

Kienpointner (1992, p. 231-402) synthetizes six contemporary typologies (Perelman, Olbrechts-Tyteca [1958] ; Toulmin, Rieke, Janik 1984 ; Govier 1987; Schellens 1987; van Eemeren, Kruiger 1987; Benoit, Lindsey 1987), summarized in the following table (1992, p. 246):

3.1 Rule-using argument schemes

Classificatory Schemes

Genus – Species
Part – Whole

Comparison Schemes

A fortiori

Opposition Schemes

Relative terms

Causal Schemes

Cause – Effect
Means – End

3.2 Rule-establishing argument schemes

Argumentation by example
Inductive argumentation

3.3 Other schemes

Argument by example, illustrative argumentation
Arg. by analogy
Arg. by authority

4. Douglas Walton, Chris Reed, Fabrizio Macagno, Argumentation schemes, 2008.

Walton, Reed and Macagno present an extensive and exhaustive investigation including “a user’s compendium of argumentation schemes” (2008, p. 308-346).

The schemes are consistently designated as argument schemes, with the exception of (19), (20), (21), referred to as argumentation from values, from sacrifice, from the group and its members.

The following list mentions only the main schemes; they may include subtypes.

(1) Authorities: position, expertise, testimony, number (p. 309-314)

      1. Argument from position to know
      2. Arg. from expert opinion
      3. Arg. from witness testimony
      4. Arg. from popular opinion, ad populum
      5. Arg. from popular practice.

Arguments (4) are drawn from what people generally believe, whereas arguments (5) refer to what people generally do.

(2) Example, analogy (p. 315-316)

      1. Argument from example
      2. Arg. from analogy
      3. Practical reasoning from analogy

Arguments (7) concern beliefs; arguments (8) concern ways to do things.

(3) Composition and division (p. 316-317)

      1. Argument from composition
      2. Arg. from division

(4 )Negation, opposition (p. 317-318)

      1. Arg. from opposition (contradictory, contrary, converse, incompatible)
      2. Rhetorical argument from opposition

Negation-based argumentation schemes can be logically valid or not; they are frequently not well defined.

(5) Alternative (p. 318-319)

      1. Arg. from alternatives

This scheme concludes with the elimination of a member of an alternative due to the requirement of the other member. It corresponds to a case-by-case argument between two cases.

4.6 Classification (p. 319-320)

      1. Arg. from verbal classification

“for all x, if x has property F, then x can be classified as having property G.”

Set F is included in set G.

      1. Arg. from definition to verbal classification

If an individual a is defined (categorized) as a D, and if Ds generally have property P, then a has property P.

      1. Arg. from vagueness of a verbal classification
      2. Arg. from arbitrariness of a verbal classification

Schemes 16. and 17. conclude with the rejection of an argument as “too vague” or “too arbitrarily defined” in some aspects. These cases can also be seen as an application of Grice’s Cooperation Principle.

(7) Persons, values, actions and sacrifice (p. 321-327)

      1. Argument from interaction of act and person
      2. Arg. from values
      3. Arg. from sacrifice
      4. Arg. from the group and its members

These schemes consider a group whose members are supposed to share quality Q, and attribute this quality to any member of the group. A member of a racist association can legitimately be supposed to be racist.

Not all characteristics of its members can be composed and attributed to the group as such; a large set is not necessarily composed of large elements.

      1. Practical reasoning
      2. Two-person practical reasoning

If one pursues an end, then one must accept the means and steps necessary to attain it.

      1. Argument from waste
      2. Arg. from sunk costs

Pages 10-11 (id.) consider as synonyms the labels argument from waste, (with reference to Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca), and argument from sunk costs. Nonetheless, they are discussed here as two separate entries.

(8) Ignorance (p. 327-328)

      1. Arg. from ignorance
      2. Epistemic argument from ignorance

This argument covers the case “if it were true, the newspapers would certainly speak of it” (id., p. 99)

(9) Cause, effect; abduction; consequence (p. 328-333)

      1. Argument from cause to effect
      2. Arg. from correlation to cause
      3. Argument from sign
      4. Abductive argumentation scheme
      5. Argument from evidence to a hypothesis
      6. Arg. from consequences
      7. Pragmatic argument from alternatives

Scheme (34) is a special case of (33), the choice is between doing/not doing something and suffering/not suffering negative consequences.

(10) Arguments from threat, fear, danger (p. 333-335)

      1. Argument from threat
      2. Arg. from fear appeal
      3. Arg. from danger appeal

Schemes (35), (36), (37) schematize different strategies of fear.

      1. Arg. from need for help
      2. Arg. from distress

(11) Commitments, ethos, ad hominem (p. 335-339)

40. Arg. from commitment
41. Ethotic argument
42. Generic ad hominem
Pragmatic inconsistency
44. Argument from inconsistent commitment
45. Circumstantial ad hominem

Scheme (44) draws a distinction between committed and not really so.

Schemes (43) and (45) express forms of contradictions between personal commitments and actions.

      1. Argument from bias
      2. Bias ad hominem

Schemes (46) and (47) are closely related. According to (46), argument from bias: “L is biased, so the conclusions are suspect”. According to (47), “bias ad hominem”: “L is biased, so I do not trust him”. Biases are relative to a domain, but it is convenient to consider that the whole personality is biased; L has a “false mind”.

(12) Gradualism; slippery slope (p. 339-341)

      1. Argument from gradualism

The comments (id. p. 114-115), show that this scheme can be likened to the slippery slope forms, (49) to (53). It expresses the sorite paradox, also mentioned in (52): “If you remove a grain from a pile of grains, you always have a heap; if you remove another grain, you still have a heap … up to what extent?

      1. Slippery slope argument
      2. Precedent slippery slope argument

The slippery slope argument is used to reject an exceptional treatment, on the ground that this exception would open a line of precedents leading to something unacceptable.

      1. Sorites slippery slope argument
      2. Verbal slippery slope argument

The slippery slope principle is used to reject the assignment of a property to an object because this property is transmitted by contiguity up to an object that obviously does not or should not possess it. This is a variety of argument to the absurd, based on a demonstration by recurrence.

      1. Full slippery slope argument

(13) Rules, exceptions, precedent (p. 342-345)

      1. Argument for constitutive-rule claim

Scheme (54) relates to rules of language (synonymy) and to principles of categorization in institutionally codified languages (“D counts as W”).

      1. Arg. from rules
      2. Arg. for an exceptional case
      3. Arg. from precedent
      4. Arg. from plea for excuse

Confronted with an exceptional case, one can waive the usual rule (56) or change it (57). Excuses and extenuating circumstances can suspend the rule.

(14) Perception, memory (345-346)

      1. Arg. from perception
      2. Arg. from memory

Scheme (59), (60) argue that one can reasonably believe in a given fact on the basis of the perception or memory of this fact.