Arguments from parallel reasoning

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Abstract

Argumentation is a co-production by a proponent and an opponent who engage in a critical examination of their difference of opinion, aiming to resolve it on the merits of both sides, or so I assume in this paper. I shall investigate the consequences of this view for a particular type of argument from analogy, called argument from parallel reasoning, that has been discussed in some detail by Woods and Hudak in 1989. Suppose, a proponent contends that we should allow camera surveillance with drones by the Amsterdam police, on account of these drones' cost-effectiveness. Suppose further, that the opponent addressed makes it clear that she acknowledges the drones' cost-effectiveness, as well as the relevance of this consideration, but that she remains, nevertheless, critical towards the proponent's thesis for worrying about intrusions on privacy. In such a case, the proponent may consider it to be expedient to put forward an argument such as: “You would consent to cameras on satellites on account of their cost-effectiveness, and despite privacy considerations. Well, reasoning from cost-effectiveness to cameras on drones, despite privacy considerations, is comparable to reasoning from cost-effectiveness to cameras on satellites, despite privacy considerations.” How are such arguments generated in dialogue, and in which circumstances, if any, is such an indirect, and possibly even superficial way of arguing correct? I shall illustrate my findings with an atypical example of an argument from analogy, put forward by John Stuart Mill, in favour of the existence of other minds.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSystematic Approaches to Argument by Analogy
EditorsH.J. Ribeiro
PublisherSpringer
Pages91-107
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-06334-8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameArgumentation Library
PublisherSpringer
Volume25

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