Full course description
In this sequel to SKI2049 Argumentation I, we will zoom in on the structure of arguments. In the first part of the skills training we will take the step to a strictly formal, almost mathematical approach, to argument analysis and explore basic sentential logic. Sentential logic introduces a simple set of rules and procedures that allow us to test whether an argument is formally valid, i.e. if its structure is correct independent of its content. To test for the validity of an argument in this way, the structure of English sentences will be separated from their content by translating the sentences into symbols; afterwards formal rules will be applied (by using truth tables and semantic tableaus) to check whether an argument logically works or not.
While the first part of the skills training concentrates on skills related to logical reasoning, the second part aims to demonstrate how such skills can be used even if a strictly formal way of argument analysis is not applicable. This is done by introducing the Toulmin model of argumentation. This model goes beyond the basic distinction of premises and conclusions as constituent parts of arguments by distinguishing different functions premises can fulfill. The Toulmin model is more flexible than argumentative analysis based on formal logic, but also more specific than the tools introduced in Argumentation I. Therefore it can be a powerful tool for specific and sophisticated argumentative analysis. Such analyses will be conducted during the course, first on small, simplified academic arguments and afterwards on a larger scale, analyzing an academic paper. Finally, in the final assignment, students are asked to apply the Toulmin model to design an argument themselves.
Argumentation II is the sequel to Argumentation I. In this respect the main objective of Argumentation II is to further develop the skills of argument analysis and design. The particular focus of this skills training will be on the structure of arguments. At the end of the course students should be able to:
- Formally evaluate the validity of arguments by applying the basic methods of sentential logic.
- Identify and assess the different functions different parts of an argument fulfill according to the Toulmin model.
- Build and present arguments of their own according to the Toulmin model.
SKI2049 Argumentation I.