Argumentation in Science and Philosophy: Logical, Methodological and Pragmatic Aspects

VEGA 1/0036/17

Principal investigator: Prof. PhDr. František Gahér, CSc.
Vice-principal investigator: Mgr. Lukáš Bielik, PhD.
Researchers: Prof. Mgr. Marián Zouhar, PhD., doc. PhDr. Igor Hanzel, PhD., Mgr. Vladimír Marko, PhD., Mgr. Daniela Glavaničová

Project description

The project maps theoretical approaches to the analysis and critical assesmento f the forms and functions of argumentation in scientific and philosophical discourse. The project builds on an explicit distinction between argumentation as a form of activity on the one hand, and arguments on the other. The subject of methodological inquiries in this project are their common as well as differing properties within two basic forms of discourse: the scientific and the philosophical.

The researchers shall focus on the analysis of logical, methodological and pragmatic criteria used in the identification, reconstruction and assessment of argumentation. Moreover, our research will seek to explicitly delineate, classify and systematize particular argumentation strategies (attacking the conclusion, the premises, refuting the conclusion etc.) and to classify fallacious arguments using contemporary approaches in the theory of argumentation, logic, and theories of non-deductive reasoning.

The analysis of scientific and extra-scientific discourse should provide an overview of the kinds of arguments, argumentation strategies and criteria typical for these areas.

Project goals

Inquiries into particular forms and functions of arguments are common in contemporary debates. They range from the theory argumentation through informal logic, philosophical logic (epistemic logic), applied logic (in jurisprudence, media discourse etc.), non-deductive logic (inductive, probability l.) to epistemology (theories of justification). However, it seems that these discussions lack a more systematic and synthesizing approach that would deal with the properties of argumentation as a kind of activity (realized within a certain context), as well as with the properties of arguments as products of such activity (including the properties of the components of arguments). Also missing is a heuristically effective classification of properties of argumentation, arguments and their components into logical, methodological and pragmatic ones.

In general, the goal of this project is to provide a systematic approach to the identification, analysis and assessment of arguments and argumentation based on an anaylsis of their various properties and functions within both scientific and philosophical discourse. The particular goals of the project include a revised definition and classifciation of fallacies in argumentation (based on the logical, methodological and pragmatic properties of arguments and argumentation); a clear distinction between the use of an argument towards argumentation goals (such as justifying a conclusion or proving it) from other cognitively significant goals, such as explaining, predicting etc.; the investigation of specific kinds of arguments, such as arguments from analogy, constructive and destructive dilemmas, infinite regress arguments, abductive arguments, arguments based on expert opinion etc. The project will also track the use o particular kinds of arguments (argumentation schemes), including practical arguments, in several empirical and normative disciplines (history, sociology, jurisprudence, physics) and in philosophy, with the goal of identifying the argument schemes and forms of argumentation that are typical for a particular field.