Douglas Walton: Argument Evaluation and Evidence
Douglas Walton’s Argument Evaluation and Evidence (2016) is an ambitious book. It explores the nature of explanation, expert opinion, knowledge and evidence. Walton makes the case that contemporary methods developed in argumentation theory can help us shed light on these difficult topics. This review summarizes the main themes of the book (Sect. 2) and offers some comments, mostly on the relationship between argumentation theory and contemporary analytic epistemology (Sect. 3).
Chapter 1 introduces basic concepts from argumentation theory. An argument consists of a set of premises and a conclusion, where the premises can support the conclusion (pro arguments) or attack it (con arguments). Arguments can be convergent (i.e. different premises support the same conclusion), divergent (i.e. the same premise supports different conclusions) or serial (i.e. the conclusion of an argument functions as the premise of another argument).
One goal of argumentation theory is to...
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