Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation by Douglas Walton

By Douglas Walton

Offers the elemental instruments for the identity, research, and overview of universal arguments.

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Sample text

ARGUMENT AT ONE POINT IN THE DIALOGUE PREMISE: Everyone has a right to his or her property. PREMISE: Smith is demanding that I return his rifle to him. PREMISE: Smith’s rifle is his property. CONCLUSION: I should return Smith’s rifle to him. This argument is reasonable, so far. The generalization in the first premise is defeasible. But there is no exception to it so far – let’s say, as far as P1: KAE 0521823196c01 CUNY025B/Walton 20 0 521 82319 6 August 8, 2005 16:2 Arguments and Dialogues either participant knows at this point.

Food treated with pesticides is a health hazard. Thus, the crops produced by farmers right now are a health hazard. Also, agricultural wastes from pesticides and fertilizers are poisoning the water supply. Thus, current agricultural practices are producing serious harm to the environment and to human health. Growing genetically modified crops requires fewer pesticides and fertilizers. It is less hazardous than what we are doing right now. Sarah (4): I doubt it, because there are also environmental hazards of genetically modified foods that are occurring as a result of what we are doing right now.

For these reasons, genetically modified foods are becoming more widespread in grocery stores. Many plants, such as soybeans, sugar beets, and tomatoes, as well as processed foods, such as vegetable oils and breakfast cereals, now contain some percentage of genetically modified ingredients. Mark and Sarah are discussing this subject. He argues that we ought to continue this process of introducing genetically modified foods into the human food supply. Against this view, environmental activists and public interest groups have raised questions about whether this introduction of genetically modified foods might be harmful.

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