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HUMANITIES 125 or day-to-day life) under some circumstances. This cautious view of the possibility of scientific reasoning, 'with its nostalgic longing for the old certitudesJ is quintessentially 19905': 'Xers don't permit themselves to hope that the enveloping security of the traditional epistemology can ever be recaptured -those days are gone forever. But they continue to hope for just a little bit of justification. It remains to be seen whether such a hope can be realized in these epistemically hard times.' This book is not for beginners, but it will be very valuable, or even indispensable , to professional philosophers (not necessarily of science) and graduate students, who seek an up-to-date overview of the realism debate. Kukla's writing is clear, precise, and personable, but with a stimulatingly high density of inferences per page. This is a book that, for the serious student of the philosophy of science, will repay careful study. (KENT A. PEACOCK) Douglas Walton. The New Dialectic: Conversational Contexts ofArgument University of Toronto Press. xii, 304- $60.00, $2.4.95 In The New Dialectic Douglas Walton asserts that different standards for evaluating argument apply to different types of dialogue. Whereas evaluation has traditionally been grounded upon the knowledge-based demonstrative reasoning of formal deductive logic, which proceeds from premises that are taken to be true, Walton grounds evaluation upon opinion-based dialectical reasoning, which proceeds from- generally accepted beliefs. An informal logic that is pragmatic and contextual, he maintains, works best for evaluating arguments that arise in everyday conversational exchanges, such dialogue being a 'goal-directed conventional framework in which two speech partners reason together in an orderly way, according to the rules of politeness or normal expectations of cooperative argumentation for the type of exchange they are engaged in.' There are, of course, many different types of conversational exchange persuasion dialogue (critical discussion), information-seeking dialogue (interview, advice-solicitation, expert-consultation), negotiation dialogue (deal-making), inquiry dialogue (scientific dialogue, public inquiry), eristic dialogue (quarrel), deliberation dialogue, and so forth, each of which has its own distinctive goals and methods. Because the standard model of deductive logic is not flexible enough to subsume such differences, Walton reaches back to the Aristotelian roots of logic as an applied practical discipline and looks forward to 'a postmodem and relativistic standard of rationality which allows for rational arguments both within and outside science.' . Walton's approach has important implications for how so-called logical fallacies are viewed. His major innovation is to see a fallacy not as a general 126 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 pattern of argument that is presumed to be generically wrong but as a dialectical strategy that is right or wrong in the context of the normative standards of dialogue appropriate for a particular case. What is a nonfalladous type of argument in one context of discussion may be fallacious in another. Attacking the character of the person (argumentum ad hominem) is inappropriate when one is a scholar critiquing another scholar's scientific paper, but perfectly appropriate when one is a lawyer impeaching a witness . In the latter case, the credibility and moral character of that witness may be of the utmost relevance. Walton also makes the same point about the other major fallacies of relevance: ignoring the issue, arguing to the people, arguing to pity, appealing to threat, arguing to ignorance, asking complex questions, begging the question, arguing in a circle, arguing from authority, and misrepresenting the opponent's position. These stratagems, he convincingly establishes, are also 'susceptible to different evaluation as fallacious or nonfallacious in different contexts of dialogue.' It is impossible to summarize Walton's rich and infonnative chapterlength discussions of the six major types of dialogue he identifies. A problem emerges, however, once he begins to discuss dialectical shifts and mixed discourse, both of which complicate the agenda considerably. In some exchanges, onetype of dialogue, whether suddenlyorgraduaUy,licitIy or illicitly, shifts into another. It is hard to see how even a context-based informal logic could articulate workable criteria for determining the legitimacy of dialectical shifts, which are legion and often unpredictable in everyday conversation where mixed discourse, in which several types of dialogue merge together, is the norm...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 125-126
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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