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Evidence and grounds of argument

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EN 1006
Rosita Georgieva

Lecture 10 Notes: Evidence and Grounds of Argument 1. Richard Whately on Arguments, Testimony, and Evidence --Why do we dedicate two weeks of classes and lecturth on Whately? Not only because he wrote on style and argument; he was a major 19 century intellectual figure, his ideas are radical and his writing – elegant and persuasive, a significant contribution to rhetoric --teaches us how to make a decision and trust our own judgment when we encounter advertisements of any kinds); plus we should be able to test and use them; --“Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Buonaparte” -- a satire, written in 1819, in response to David Hume’s (1711-1776), Essay on Miracles --He lists the three most important points we should consider in assessing the credibility of witnesses – “first, whether they have the means of gaining correct information; secondly, whether they have any interest in concealing truth, or propagating falsehood; and, thirdly, whether they agree in their testimony.” --Whately’s contribution: in establishing the theory about what can be accepted as evidence. --in telation to Assignment 3 of Portfolio 3: He establishes the 3 criteria for examining the credibility of any evidence. If we have an article/editorial from a newspaper, we can decide whether it is a credible source of information by these 3 criteria: 1.--did the writer of the editorial have access to correct sources of info We should consider if the writer used reliable, trustworthy, solid sources of info: conducted by means of interviews and research, or through live coverage, or used well-established renowned magazines/literary and academic sources, sources like University presses vs. websites to which anyone has access; reputable newspapers, not tabloids --does the source belong to a political regime; a part of propaganda --reputable foreign press vs. press of doubtful reputation --in a legal case, the sources of info should come from medical, scientific, or legal expertise; unimpeachable proofs – translated documents, affidavits or any documents legally certified 2.--did the writer have any interest in concealing or twisting the truth --In case of publication of information when stories are exaggerated or falsehood may creep in, the interest of the writer may be promotion, selling the news/the newspaper, gaining credit, money, or any advertising benefits --In legal cases when testimony conce
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