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or the other of three mental conditions, which must be taken into account as modifying factors of the logical argument; that is, the mind is open to instruction and disposed to the line of action when the truth is perceived, indifferent to a knowledge of duty and the line of action proposed, or actively opposed to the truth and measure proposed.
When the mind is in the third condition named, a counter argument arises, and the two arguments constitute a debate. This fact modifies the procedure in the individual arguments, in the fact that the burden of proof rests on him who affirms, and that the presumption of truth is in favor of the one who denies. In courts of law the one who charges another with guilt must prove the fact of guilt; the one who denies the charge has only to offset the argument. In considering the case, the judge and the jury assume innocence until guilt is established. Likewise, a presumption of truth holds in favor of certain opinions, customs, and institutions which an argument seeks to change, since they are supposed to have been established for good reasons. This presumption has such weight in many cases as to support opinions, customs, and institutions long after the reasons that gave them birth have passed away. The one who argues to maintain established things has the sanction of ages on his side, and it requires all the patience and enthusiasm of a bold reformer to overcome precedents and usages. He who has presumption in his favor should not assume the burden of proof unnecessarily; for the one on whom the burden of proof rests must overcome all the probabilities which gave rise to the presumption. It is much easier to offset an argument to prove crime than to assume the burden of proof and try to establish innocence.
The formal debate is not the most promising way of arriving at truth; and, therefore, not the most effective process of discourse. It is apt to weaken sincerity of purpose, in that it prompts stubborn adhesion to onesided truth, and perverts the argument to personal victory as against a disinterested and universal good.
The Law of Unity. — It has already been observed that the very nature of an argument is to establish the unity between the general principle and the individual fact which the principle determines. The different processes of argument are only so many forms of doing this; rather, all the processes taken together is one complex movement to this end; they are all organically one in the process of argument, and are all necessary to establish fully the desired connection. The a posteriori argument must support the probability raised by the a priori argument; and deduction must test the conclusions of induction which furnish the deductive premise. And further, the former pair of arguments must be carried on by means of the latter; induction and deduction are the means of establishing the causal connection sought by the a priori and a posteriori arguments. So that argumentation is a unified organic movement having various phases and parts.
But such is only the logical unity inherent in the argument itself. The argument must have unity, not only in itself considered, but in relation to the mind addressed, — must have rhetorical as well as logical unity. Everything must progressively tend to establish belief in the truth asserted, and this is subject to other conditions than those imposed by the laws of thought alone; namely, by the capacity, beliefs, and prejudices of those in whom the new belief is to be established. The argument, to have unity, must be presented from the standpoint of the audience's present knowledge, interests, and desires. The most closely unified and logical argument in itself considered may have no unity with the mind addressed. A progressive argument toward belief is the law of rhetorical unity in argumentative discourse.
This law requires that no matter be chosen which does not bear on the proposition to be proved. Irrelevant matter is often introduced to divert the attention from the real point at issue, or to ensnare by the belief that proof has been offered when there has been none. This certainly would be an effective rhetorical device if rhetoric did not have to square itself by ethical standards. Rhetorical art must not resort to logical fallacies.
This law also requires that such proof shall be offered as can be grasped by the capacity of the hearer, and such as will assimilate readily with already existing beliefs. The most valid proof that a youth should be obedient to his parents might completely lack unity with him, because of his incapacity to comprehend the ground of the argument. An effort to convert one from a belief in monarchy to a belief in democracy, although perfectly unified and logical in itself, would have no effect in the monarchist's mind unless such argument should take its rise from the monarchist's present beliefs. Due regard must be had in this case, also, to the selection of proofs that will not antagonize by arousing inveterate prejudices. That the mind may yield itself to the line of proof, the argument must be conciliatory.
When the mind is indifferent or opposed to the proposition to be argued, some preparatory statements must be made by way of arousing interest in the question or to conciliate the opposition. When the mind addressed is opposed, the first step of the speaker is to put himself in sympathy with the opposition. It may be necessary for the speaker to veil his purpose, even to the suppression of the proposition to be proved. The beginning of Mark Antony's oration is a fine example of this. On this point A. S. Hill has the following :
“We have already seen how important it is that a reasoner should himself, at the outset, clearly understand the proposition he is to maintain; but it by no means follows that he should hasten to announce the proposition to those whom he would convince of its truth. His first object should be to secure their favorable attention.
“ Now, to engage attention at all, it is desirable to appear to be saying something new. If then the proposition is a truism to the persons addressed, it will usually be judicious to awaken their attention by beginning with what is novel in the proof. Regarded from a new point of view, approached by a new path, the old conclusion will acquire a fresh interest, except, indeed, for those unfortunate persons whose minds are accessible to nothing but commonplace, and for whom, therefore, even a novelty must be presented in a commonplace dress.
“If the proposition, whether well known to the persons addressed or not, is likely to awaken their hostility, it should not be announced till steps have been taken to procure for it a favorable reception. Often the best course to this end is to state at the outset the question at issue, but not espouse either side until after the arguments for each have been canvassed. It may also be possible to secure assent to general principles from which the conclusion can be logically deduced. In pursuing this course, the reasoner seems to invite his readers or hearers to join him in an inquiry for truth. This inquiry results, if it be successful, not so much in convincing them as in leading them to convince themselves of the justness of the conclusion, if he is successful in inducing them to give some weight to reasons which they would not have considered at all, had they known to what conclusions they led.
“ Another method of disarming hostility is for a speaker to establish pleasant relations with the audience by adverting to opinions (irrelevant ones it may be) which they hold in common with him, before proceeding to points of difference.”
Under ordinary circumstances, the proposition should be stated as soon as favorable attention is gained and before proofs have been examined. A clear statement