In informal logic and philosophy, an argument map or argument diagram argument Article a visual representation of the structure of an argument.
Argument maps are commonly used in the context of teaching and applying critical thinking. The purpose of mapping is to uncover the logical structure of arguments, identify unstated assumptions, evaluate the support an argument offers for a conclusion, and aid understanding of debates. A number of different kinds of argument map have been proposed but the most common, which Chris Reed and Glenn Rowe called the standard diagram, consists of a tree structure with each of the reasons leading to the conclusion. According to Doug Walton and colleagues, an argument map has two basic components: «One component is a set of circled numbers arrayed as points. The other component is a set of lines or arrows joining the points. Dependent premises or co-premises, where at least one of the joined premises requires another premise before it can give support to the conclusion: An argument with this structure has been called a linked argument.
Independent premises, where the premise can support the conclusion on its own: Although independent premises may jointly make the conclusion more convincing, this is to be distinguished from situations where a premise gives no support unless it is joined to another premise. Where several premises or groups of premises lead to a final conclusion the argument might be described as convergent. Intermediate conclusions or sub-conclusions, where a claim is supported by another claim that is used in turn to support some further claim, i. In the following diagram, statement 4 is an intermediate conclusion in that it is a conclusion in relation to statement 5 but is a premise in relation to the final conclusion, i. Each of these structures can be represented by the equivalent «box and line» approach to argument maps. In the following diagram, the contention is shown at the top, and the boxes linked to it represent supporting reasons, which comprise one or more premises.
Argument maps can also represent counterarguments. A written text can be transformed into an argument map by following article sequence of steps. Separate statements by brackets and number them. Put circles around the logical indicators. Supply, in parenthesis, any logical indicators that argument left out. Set out the statements in a diagram in which arrows show the relationships between statements.
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Academic monstrosities produced by the official Nazi painters. Identify all the claims being made by the author. Rewrite them as independent statements, eliminating non-essential words. Identify which statements are premises, sub-conclusions, and the main conclusion. Provide missing, implied conclusions and implied premises. This is optional depending on the purpose of the argument map.
Put the statements into boxes and draw a line between any boxes that are linked. Argument maps are useful not only for representing and analyzing existing writings, but also for thinking through issues as part of a problem-structuring process or writing process. However, the technique did not become widely used, possibly because for complex arguments, it involved much writing and rewriting of the premises. Legal philosopher and theorist John Henry Wigmore produced maps of legal arguments using numbered premises in the early 20th century, based in part on the ideas of 19th century philosopher Henry Sidgwick who used lines to indicate relations between terms. Dealing with the failure of formal reduction of informal argumentation, English speaking argumentation theory developed diagrammatic approaches to informal reasoning over a period of fifty years.
Monroe Beardsley proposed a form of argument diagram in 1950. His method of marking up an argument and representing its components with linked numbers became a standard and is still widely used. He also introduced terminology that is still current describing convergent, divergent and serial arguments. Stephen Toulmin, in his groundbreaking and influential 1958 book The Uses of Argument, identified several elements to an argument which have been generalized. The Toulmin diagram is widely used in educational critical teaching. Beardsley’s approach was refined by Stephen N. Thomas, whose 1973 book Practical Reasoning In Natural Language introduced the term linked to describe arguments where the premises necessarily worked together to support the conclusion.
The explicit premise 1 is conjoined with additional unstated premises a and b to imply 2. Michael Scriven further developed the Beardsley-Thomas approach in his 1976 book Reasoning. In 1998 a series of large-scale argument maps released by Robert E. Horn stimulated widespread interest in argument mapping. You usually think of an argument as a serial sequence of steps of reason, beginning with known facts, assumptions, etc.
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