Books : reviews

Douglas N. Walton.
Informal Logic: a handbook for critical argumentation.
CUP. 1989

This is an introductory guidebook to the basic principles of how to construct good arguments and how to criticize bad ones. It is non-technical in its approach and is based on 150 key examples, each discussed and evaluated in clear, illustrative detail. Professor Walton, a leading authority in the field of informal logic, explains how errors, fallacies, and other key failures of argument occur. He shows how correct uses of argument are based on sound strategies for reasoned persuasion and critical responses. Among the many subjects covered are: forms of valid argument, relevance, appeals to emotion, personal attack, uses and abuses of expert opinion, problems in deploying statistics, loaded terms, equivocation, arguments from analogy, and techniques of posing, replying to, and criticizing questions.

The book will be ideally suited to courses in informal logic and in the introduction to philosophy. It will also prove valuable to students of pragmatics, rhetoric, and speech communication.

Douglas N. Walton.
Burden of Proof, Presumption and Argumentation.
CUP. 2014

The notion of burden of proof and its companion notion of presumption are central to argumentation studies. This book argues that we can learn a lot from how the courts have developed procedures over the years for allocating and reasoning with presumptions and burdens of proof, and from how artificial intelligence has built precise formal and computational systems to represent this kind of reasoning. The book provides a model of reasoning with burden of proof and presumption based on analyses of many clearly explained legal and nonlegal examples.