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RGUMENTATION plays a great- | of reasoning that an allegation is true, oi er rôle in our lives than many of us that a policy is right, expedient, or nec
realize: not the technical kind, per- essary. Thus Columbus tried to prove haps, that is preceded by the construction to his contemporaries the fact that the of briefs according to some stereotyped earth is round; Thomas M. Osborne subform, such as is required of lawyers, mitted evidence to support his opinion statesmen, and college freshmen; but the that prison reform is needed; and many a offhand mental debate involved in all our politician has sought to convince himself decisions, and the oral fencing which re and others that a program, though morsults from the necessary frictions of our ally doubtful, is expedient and justified daily routine. Not an hour passes but we by conditions. are called upon to prove our statements or Evidence is necessary either to prove a to defend our opinions. Indeed, all our fact or to support an opinion. It is of two actions are the result of certain judgments kinds: direct and indirect. made often so promptly that the con 1. Direct Evidence is the supporting sciousness of the feat is lost. Were it not statements of witnesses, and may be either for this rational control based on silent oral or written. When special stress is and expeditious argumentative processes, laid upon the statements of some witour deeds would have no significance, and ness because of his accredited knowledge we should be lunatics.
of a certain subject, this is called arguIn the field of writing as well, much of ment from authority. We must judge our argument is not confined to formal the worth of all testimony by at least articles with such captions as: Resolved, three tests. First, has the witness the That the ex-Kaiser should be brought be physical and mental capacity to testify fore an international tribunal; or, Does concerning the question? You would prohibition prohibit? Often it is inci- scarcely credit the statements of a pardental or of such a nature that it is firmly tially deaf man concerning the exact interwoven with the entire fabric of the wording of an overheard conversation, or thought. Carlyle in Heroes and Hero the judgments of a corner-grocery orator Worship and Emerson in “Illusions” are upon the new tariff. Second, is the witnever exhaustingly polemic, for they are ness morally sound ?-that is, would he more interested in the details of their ex consciously distort the truth? And position than in their thesis. Even when finally, is there any personal feeling that the chief aim of a book or essay is the ac might unconsciously bias the judgment of ceptance by the reader of a well-defined the witness? Northern and Southern proposition, that fact in itself by no means historians of the Civil War, without the precludes an interesting treatment and slightest intention of deceit, sometimes a pleasant style.
draw very different conclusions from the Although often considered a subdivi same incidents, according to their resion of Exposition, Argumentation, be spective points of view. cause of its importance, is usually treated 2. Indirect Evidence is furnished by a separately. Like Exposition it deals with peculiar arrangement of circumstances, ideas; but unlike Exposition it subjects and is usually called Circumstantial Evithose ideas to certain tests, and endeavors dence. Van Wyck Brooks in his Ordeal to convince some one by a logical process of Mark Twain undertakes to prove that
the philosophical despair and cynicism 1. Inductive Reasoning means arguwhich peer through the humor of our | ing from a number of specific instances to "divine amateur” were due not to pose a general law that will include them all. but to the unnatural repression of his cre Thus by observation and testimony we ative impulse, leaving in a state of ar know that every human being in the past rested development only the playboy in has come at last to his death. Conseletters, the humorous entertainer of the quently we may frame a general law, All masses, never the true satirist nature had men are mortal. It is by this type of designed him to be. This hypothesis of reasoning that all science advances. So maladjustment-a revolutionary view of Newton reasoned from the fall of an apMark Twain based on Freudian princi | ple to the law of gravitation, and Huxples of psychoanalysis Mr. Brooks sub ley from an examination of chalk deposstantiates by finding in certain influences | its to the conclusion that certain portions in Mark Twain's early life a sufficient of inhabited Europe were once submerged cause for the suppression of his artistic in the ocean. genius: the narrow Puritanism of his 1 2. Deductive Reasoning means argumother, the crushing hostility to any ing from an accepted general law to one signs of individualism among the pioneers specific instance: All men are mortal. of the Nevada gold fields, the bourgeois Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates smugness and morality of his Hartford is mortal. This form of major premise, associates, and the continual insistence on minor premise, and conclusion is termed respectability by his wife. These cir a Syllogism. Macaulay employs Deduccumstances (says Mr. Brooks) explain tive Reasoning in his essay on “Milton," how so great a spirit remained discon arguing that since it is right for men to tentedly degrading the beauty he could fight for freedom even though rebellion not himself achieve.
brings with it many evils, therefore the Circumstantial Evidence alone is conduct of Milton in championing the scarcely dependable. A different set of cause of the Commonwealth was justificonditions may fit our hypothesis. But able and praiseworthy. when Mr. Brooks adduces Direct Evi Practically all our argument involves dence in the shape of anecdotes by such both kinds of Reasoning. When we say men as Howells and Paine, and a that a certain man will surely die, we are number of Mark Twain's own letters, basing our conclusion not merely on Demany written not to be delivered but duction, but on the inductive process by merely to let off steam, in which the which we arrived at the major premise, humorist gives vent to his bitterness and All men are mortal. distrust in himself and the race, the argu An error in reasoning is called a Fallacy. ment is materially strengthened, for both Very often success in destructive argument the Direct and the Indirect Evidence depends upon the disputant's ability to agree.
discern these fallacies in his opponent's Before definitely committing one's self reasoning. In Induction the most comto a judgment upon the truth or falsity mon Fallacy is that of hasty generalizaof the original proposition, one would first tion following observation of too few speconsider the Evidence submitted, balance cific instances. If we should say, “The one set of ideas against another, interpret new moon is spilling water; there will be the known facts, draw certain inferences, a wet month," it would be evident we and finally reach a decision. This thought had made no thorough observation of process brought into play after the Evi weather conditions, but were simply voicdence has been submitted is termed Rea- | ing a popular superstition. soning.
Sometimes our observation itself is at Reasoning may be divided into two | fault. The scientist who thought he had kinds: Inductive and Deductive.
produced spontaneous germination of life in a test tube of sterilized matter-a dis | Hitherto we have been dealing largely covery which would have bridged the gap with definitions. The most important between the era of slime and the era of constructive step in any argument is the life in the world's history-was suddenly determination of the Issues. The Issues refuted by another scientist who demon are those points of dispute around which strated conclusively that the matter in the discussion will rage most hotly. They the test tube had not been properly steri are common both to the affirmative and to lized and still contained life.
the negative, and in a formal brief ' are In Deduction the most common error is always put in the form of questions. the assumption of an incorrect major Consider, for instance, Woodrow Wilpremise. If we start from the general son's address to Congress recommending statement that all who say “it don't" are the declaration of a state of war between uneducated and vulgar, we can prove the United States and the Imperial Gersome amazing things about certain college man Government. He discusses three professors. As in Induction, correct ob chief issues which may be formulated servation is also necessary before we thus: frame our minor premise. Otherwise there is no connecting link between the
1. Is the wanton and wholesale major premise and the conclusion. Fur
destruction of the lives of nonthermore, special care must be taken
combatants through the ruthless that the first term of the conclusion
submarine policy of Germany a be contained in the smaller term of
challenge to the sense of justice of the major premise. Carlyle in Heroes
the American people? and Hero Worship makes use of a false
2. Is armed neutrality on the part of syllogism that may be formulated thus:
the United States still practicaAll great men are sincere. Mahomet
ble? was sincere. Therefore Mahomet was a
Can peace be maintained by any great man. The only legitimate conclu
means other than a partnership
of democratic nations among sion one can draw from the original statement is that if Mahomet had been great,
whom the United States shall of he would have been sincere.
necessity have a place? It may be wise at this point to distin The capacity for perceiving these cruguish between Argument and Persuasion. | cial points of discussion is the first requiThe purpose of Argument is to convince.
site demanded of any who engage either When a disputant appeals to the emotions
in formal debate or in ordinary controof his hearers rather than to their intel
versy. The second is the reasoning power lects, he is trying to persuade. Persua to advance by certain logical steps from sion is not Argumentation in its best sense,
an accepted proposition to one not yet but none the less it often proves effective
granted. as the florid perorations of certain lawyers for the defense amply illustrate. It
1 For a model brief see G. K. Pattee, Pracis justifiable, however, when used to ex- ||
tical Argumentation, The Century Company, cite human interest in sound argument. I pages 171-183.
FOR THE LIBERTY OF THE PRESS
John MILTON The active years of John Milton (1608-1674), Puritan poet and statesman, fell largely in that troubled period of the interregnum. With the possible exception of Shakespeare, Milton is the most sublime poet England has produced. Less widely known than Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes, and the minor poems are Milton's state papers, defending the government of the Commonwealth, in which he took an active part. His indefatigable labors eventually cost him his sight. The following is the conclusion of his famous Areopagitica (1644), a speech on the freedom of the press, in which the Puritan controversialist grows pardonably vehement.
LORDS and commons of England ! con- | name of Luther, or of Calvin, had been sider what nation it is whereof ye are, ever known; the glory of reforming all and whereof ye are the governors; a na our neighbors had been completely ours. tion not slow and dull, but of a quick, But now, as our obdurate clergy have ingenious, and piercing spirit; acute to with violence demeaned the matter, we invent, subtle and sinewy to discourse, are become hitherto the latest and the not beneath the reach of any point the backwardest scholars of whom God ofhighest that human capacity can soar to. fered to have made us the teachers. Now Therefore the studies of learning in her once again by all concurrence of signs, deepest sciences have been so ancient, and and by the general instinct of holy and so eminent among us, that writers of good devout men, as they daily and solemnly antiquity, and able judgment, have been express their thoughts, God is decreeing persuaded that even the school of Pytha to begin some new and great period in goras, and the Persian wisdom, took be his church, even to the reforming of refginning from the old philosophy of this ormation itself. What does he then island. And that wise and civil Roman, but reveal himself to his servants, an Julius Agricola, who governed once here his manner is, first to his Englishmen? for Caesar, preferred the natural wits of | I say as his manner is, first to us, though Britain, before the labored studies of the we mark not the method of his counsels, French. Nor is it for nothing that the and are unworthy. Behold now this vast grave and frugal Transylvania sends | city; a city of refuge, the mansion-house out yearly from as far as the mountain of liberty, encompassed and surrounded ous borders of Russia, and beyond the with his protection; the shop of war hath Hercynian wilderness, not their youth, not there more anvils and hammers wakbut their staid men, to learn our lan ing, to fashion out the plates and instruguage, and our theologic arts. Yet that ments of armed justice in defense of bewhich is above all this, the favor and the leaguered truth, than there be pens and love of heaven, we have great argument heads there, sitting by their studious to think in a peculiar manner propitious lamps, musing, searching, revolving new and propending toward us. Why else notions and ideas wherewith to present was this nation chosen before any other, as with their homage and their fealty, the that out of her, as out of Sion, should be approaching reformation; others as fast proclaimed and sounded forth the first reading, trying all things, assenting to tidings and trumpet of reformation to all the force of reason and convincement. Europe? And had it not been the ob What could a man require more from a stinate perverseness of our prelates against nation, so pliant and so prone to seek the divine and admirable spirit of after knowledge? What wants there to Wickliffe, to suppress him as a schismatic such a towardly and pregnant soil, but and innovator, perhaps neither the Bo- wise and faithful laborers, to make a hemian Huss and Jerome, no, nor the knowing people, a nation of prophets, of sages, and of worthies? We reckon more artfully together, it cannot be united into than five months yet to harvest; there a continuity, it can but be contiguous in need not be five weeks, had we but eyes this world. Neither can every piece of to lift up; the fields are white already. the building be of one form; nay, rather,
Where there is much desire to learn, the perfection consists in this, that out of there of necessity will be much arguing, many moderate varieties and brotherly much writing, many opinions; for opin dissimilitudes that are not vastly disproion in good men is but knowledge in the portional, arises the goodly and the gracemaking. Under these fantastic terrors ful symmetry that commends the whole of sect and schism,' we wrong the earn pile and structure. Let us therefore be est and zealous thirst after knowledge more considerate builders, more wise in and understanding, which God hath spiritual architecture, when great reforstirred up in this city. What some la mation is expected. For now the time ment of, we rather should rejoice at, seems come, wherein Moses, the great should rather praise this pious forward prophet, may sit in heaven rejoicing to ness among men, to reassume the ill see that memorable and glorious wish of deputed care of their religion into their his fulfilled, when not only our seventy own hands again. A little generous pru elders, but all the Lord's people are bedence, a little forbearance of one another, come prophets. No marvel then though and some grain of charity might win all some men, and some good men, too, perthese diligences to join, and unite into haps, but young in goodness, as Joshua one general and brotherly search after then was, envy them. They fret, and truth, could we but forego this prelatical | out of their own weakness are in agony, tradition of crowding free consciences lest these divisions and subdivisions will and Christian liberties into canons and undo us. The adversary again applauds, precepts of men.
and waits the hour. When they have I doubt not, if some great and worthy branched themselves out, saith he, small stranger should come among us, wise to enough into parties and partitions, then discern the mould and temper of a peo will be our time. Fool! he sees not the ple, and how to govern it, observing firm root, out of which we all grow, the high hopes and aims, the diligent though into branches; nor will beware alacrity of our extended thoughts and until he see our small divided maniples reasonings in the pursuance of truth and cutting through at every angle of his ill freedom, but that he would cry out as united and unwieldy brigade. And that Pyrrhus did, admiring the Roman do we are to hope better of all these supcility and courage; If such were my posed sects and schisms, and that we shall Epirots, I would not despair the great not need that solicitude, honest perhaps, est design that could be attempted to though overtimorous, of them that vex in make a church or kingdom happy. Yet this behalf, but shall laugh in the end at these are the men cried out against for those malicious applauders of our differschismatics and sectaries, as if, while ences, I have these reasons to persuade the temple of the Lord was building, some cutting, some squaring the marble, First, when a city shall be as it were others hewing the cedars, there should be besieged and blocked about, her navigable a sort of irrational men, who could not river infested, inroads and incursions consider there must be many schisms and round, defiance and battle oft rumored to many dissections made in the quarry and be marching up even to her walls and in the timber, ere the house of God can suburb trenches, that then the people, or be built. And when every stone is laid the greater part, more than at other times,
wholly taken up with the study of high1 Milton is here defending the forces that were dividing Protestantism into denomina
est and most important matters to be retions.
formed, should be disputing, reasoning,