Analysing Practical Argumentation

  • Georg Brun
  • Gregor Betz
Part of the Logic, Argumentation & Reasoning book series (LARI, volume 10)


Argument analysis is a powerful tool for structuring policy deliberation and decision-making, especially when complexity and uncertainty loom large. Argument analysis seeks to determine which claims are justified or criticized by a given argumentation, how strong an argument is, on which implicit assumptions it rests, how it relates to other arguments in a controversy, and which standpoints one can reasonably adopt in view of a given state of debate. This chapter first gives an overview of the activities involved in argument analysis and discusses the various aims that guide argument analysis. It then introduces methods for reconstructing and evaluating individual arguments as well as complex argumentation and debates. In their application to decisions under great uncertainty, these methods help to identify coherent positions, to discern important points of (dis)agreement, as well as to avoid spurious consensus and oversimplification.


Practical reasoning Argument analysis Reconstruction Argument mapping Uncertainty Argumentation schemes 


  1. Bench-Capon, T. J. M., & Dunne, P. E. (2007). Argumentation in artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence, 171, 619–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Betz, G. (2010). Theorie dialektischer Strukturen. Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann.Google Scholar
  3. Betz, G. (2013). Debate dynamics: How controversy improves our beliefs. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Betz, G. (2016). Accounting for possibilities in decision making. In S. O. Hansson & G. Hirsch Hadorn (Eds.), The argumentative turn in policy analysis. Reasoning about uncertainty (pp. 135–169). Cham: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-30549-3_6.
  5. Betz, G., & Cacean, S. (2012). Ethical aspects of climate engineering. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing. doi: 10.5445/KSP/1000028245.Google Scholar
  6. Brun, G. (2014). Reconstructing arguments. Formalization and reflective equilibrium. Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy, 17, 94–129.Google Scholar
  7. Brun, G., & Hirsch Hadorn, G. (2014). Textanalyse in den Wissenschaften. Inhalte und Argumente analysieren und verstehen (2nd ed.) Zürich: vdf.Google Scholar
  8. Brun, G., & Rott, H. (2013). Interpreting enthymematic arguments using belief revision. Synthese, 190, 4041–4063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheyne, C. (2012). The asymmetry of formal logic. In M. Peliš & V. Punčochář (Eds.), The logica yearbook 2011 (pp. 49–62). London: College Publications.Google Scholar
  10. Dung, P. M. (1995). On the acceptability of arguments and its fundamental role in nonmonotonic reasoning. Logic programming and n-person games. Artificial Intelligence, 77, 321–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Elliott, K. C. (2016). Climate geoengineering. In S. O. Hansson & G. Hirsch Hadorn (Eds.), The argumentative turn in policy analysis. Reasoning about uncertainty (pp. 305–324). Cham: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-30549-3_13.
  12. Fischer, F., & Forester, J. (1993). The argumentative turn in policy analysis and planning. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fischer, F., & Gottweis, H. (2012). The argumentative turn revisited. Public policy as communicative practice. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gardiner, S. M. (2006). A core precautionary principle. The Journal of Political Philosophy, 14, 33–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hansson, S. O. (2000). Formalization in philosophy. The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 6, 162–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hansson, S. O. (2013). The ethics of risk: Ethical analysis in an uncertain world. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hansson, S. O. (2016). Evaluating the uncertainties. In S. O. Hansson & G. Hirsch Hadorn (Eds.), The argumentative turn in policy analysis. Reasoning about uncertainty (pp. 79–104). Cham: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-30549-3_4.Google Scholar
  18. Hansson, S. O., & Hirsch Hadorn, G. (2016). Introducing the argumentative turn in policy analysis. In S. O. Hansson & G. Hirsch Hadorn (Eds.), The argumentative turn in policy analysis. Reasoning about uncertainty (pp. 11–35). Cham: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-30549-3_2.
  19. Harsanyi, J. C. (1975). Can the maximin principle serve as a basis for morality? A critique of John Rawls’ theory. American Political Science Review, 69, 594–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jacquette, D. (1996). Charity and the reiteration problem for enthymemes. Informal Logic, 18, 1–15.Google Scholar
  21. Lumer, C. (2011). Argument schemes. An epistemological approach. In F. Zenker (Ed.), Argumentation. Cognition and community. Proceedings of the 9th international conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA), May 18–22, 2011. Windsor: University of Windsor. Accessed 22.07.2015.Google Scholar
  22. McNamara, P. (2010). Deontic logic. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  23. Morscher, E. (2009). Kann denn Logik Sünde sein? Die Bedeutung der modernen Logik für Theorie und Praxis des Rechts. Wien: Lit.Google Scholar
  24. Morscher, E. (2013). How to treat naturalistic fallacies. In H. Ganthaler, C. R. Menzel, & E. Morscher (Eds.), Aktuelle Probleme und Grundlagenfragen der medizinischen Ethik (pp. 203–232). St. Augustine: Academia.Google Scholar
  25. Paglieri, F., & Woods, J. (2011). Enthymematic parsimony. Synthese, 178, 461–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pollock, J. L. (1987). Defeasible reasoning. Cognitive Science, 11, 481–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rawls, John. 1999. A theory of justice (Rev. ed.). Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  28. Reinmuth, F. (2014). Hermeneutics, logic and reconstruction. Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy, 17, 152–190.Google Scholar
  29. Rescher, N. (2001). Philosophical reasoning. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  30. Rickels, W., et al. (2011). Large-scale intentional interventions into the climate system? Assessing the climate engineering debate. Scoping report conducted on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Kiel: Kiel Earth Institute. Accessed 22.07.2015.Google Scholar
  31. Sather, T. (1999). Pros and Cons. A debater’s handbook (18th ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Savage, L. J. (1954). The foundation of statistics. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  33. Schefczyk, M. (2016). Financial markets: the stabilisation task. In S. O. Hansson & G. Hirsch Hadorn (Eds.), The argumentative turn in policy analysis. Reasoning about uncertainty (pp. 265–290). Cham: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-30549-3_11.
  34. Singer, P. (1988). Ethical experts in a democracy. In D. M. Rosenthal & F. Shehadi (Eds.), Applied ethics and ethical theory (pp. 149–161). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.Google Scholar
  35. Singer, P. (2002). Animal liberation (3rd ed.). New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  36. Skyrms, B. (2000). Choice and chance. An introduction to inductive logic (4th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  37. Snoeck Henkemans, A. F. (2001). Argumentation structures. In F. H. van Eemeren (Ed.), Crucial concepts in argumentation theory (pp. 101–134). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Spohn, W. (2012). The laws of belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Steele, K. (2006). The precautionary principle: A new approach to public decision-making? Law, Probability, and Risk, 5, 19–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. van Eemeren, F. H., & Grootendorst, R. (1992). Argumentation, communication, and fallacies: A pragma-dialectical perspective. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  41. van Eemeren, F. H., & Grootendorst, R. (2004). A systematic theory of argumentation. The pragma-dialectical approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Walton, D. N. (1996). Argument structure. A pragmatic theory. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  43. Walton, D. N., Reed, C. A., & Macagno, F. (2008). Argumentation schemes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of PhilosophyKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

Personalised recommendations