Presentation on theme: "Enthymemes and Argumentation Schemes in Health Product Ads July 8, Pasadena, California Douglas Walton (CRRAR) University of Windsor"— Presentation transcript:
Enthymemes and Argumentation Schemes in Health Product Ads July 8, Pasadena, California Douglas Walton (CRRAR) University of Windsor http://www.dougwalton.ca
Introduction and Terminology This project applies argument argumentation schemes and the visualization tool Araucaria to selected examples of health product commercial ads found in recent issues of Newsweek. Araucaria is a free software tool for mapping arguments. It was the first such tool to use argumentation schemes, and it can be downloaded from the following site: http://araucaria.computing.dundee.ac.uk/ http://araucaria.computing.dundee.ac.uk/ An enthymeme is an argument with a premise or conclusion that was not explicitly stated in the text of discourse, for example, ‘All men are mortal, therefore Socrates is mortal’. An argumentation scheme is a structure made up of standard premises and a standard conclusion representing stereotypical forms of argument that are generally (but not always) defeasible. An example is: E is an expert; E says that statement A is true; therefore A can be tentatively accepted (subject to critical questioning and retraction in light of new evidence that may suggest otherwise). The aim is to identify the argumentation structures used in the ads.
Lunesta Sleep Medication Ad The picture in the ad shows the head and shoulders of a young man asleep, his head resting against the pillow. In large print above the picture, the words “The sleep you’ve been dreaming of.” are printed. Below the picture it says, “Soothing Rest for Mind and Body.” Below that, the text of the ad appears [as quoted]. “It’s what you’ve been craving. Peaceful sleep without a struggle. That’s what Lunesta is all about: helping most people fall asleep quickly, and stay asleep all through the night”.
Premises of Lunesta Argument Premise: my goal is to have peaceful sleep without a struggle. Premise: taking Lunesta is the best means to have peaceful sleep without a struggle. Premise: Lunesta helps most people fall asleep quickly. Premise: they stay asleep all through the night.
Scheme for Practical Reasoning Major Premise: I have a goal G. Minor Premise: Carrying out this action A is a means to realize G. Conclusion: Therefore, I ought (practically speaking) to carry out this action A.
Critical Questions for Scheme CQ1: What other goals do I have that should be considered that might conflict with G? CQ2: What alternative actions to my bringing about A that would also bring about G should be considered? CQ3: Among bringing about A and these alternative actions, which is arguably the most efficient? CQ4: What grounds are there for arguing that it is practically possible for me to bring about A? CQ5: What consequences of my bringing about A should also be taken into account?
Mucinex Ad When mucus gives you major congestion, you need a major mucus fighter, new maximum strength Mucinex. Just one pill has the most mucus fighting medicine available, to break up and loosen congestion for a full 12 hours. In fact, it’s the longest lasting nonprescription chest congestion medication you can buy. So when maximum mucus happens to you, overpower it with maximum strength Mucinex.
Text of the Plavix Ad The Plavix ad shows a picture of a woman, and beneath that it says, “I have poor leg circulation. And I have a good reason to try to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke that comes with it”. Below, more of the text of argumentation is quoted. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is often described as poor leg circulation, which puts you at the double risk of heart attack or stroke. That’s because, if you have poor blood circulation in your legs, you may also have it in your heart and brain. You may feel nothing, but the most common system symptom of PAD is pain or heaviness in the legs. Take the next step. So if you’re diagnosed with PAD, ask your doctor about a treatment clinically proven to help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke associated with PAD. PLAVIX helps keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming dangerous clots, the cause of most heart attacks and strokes. Ask your doctor about PLAVIX.
Defeasible Modus Ponens (DMP) Major Premise: If A then (defeasibly) B Minor premise: A Conclusion: B Many of the schemes can be cast in format so they fit under DMP. Example: argument from expert opinion. Another example: the next scheme.
Argument from Positive Value Premise 1: Value V is positive as judged by agent A (judgment of value). Premise 2: The fact that value V is positive affects the interpretation and therefore the evaluation of goal G of agent A (If value V is good, it supports commitment to goal G). Conclusion: V is a reason for retaining commitment to goal G.
Argument from Negative Value Premise 1: Value V is negative as judged by agent A (judgment value). Premise 2: The fact that value V is negative affects the interpretation and therefore the evaluation of goal G of agent A (If value V is bad, it goes against commitment to goal G). Conclusion: V is a reason for retracting commitment to goal G.
Value-Based Practical Reasoning Premise 1: I have a goal G. Premise 2: Bringing about A is necessary (or sufficient) for me to bring about G. Premise 3: Bringing about A promotes my set of values, V. Conclusion: Therefore, I should (practically ought to) bring about A.
Arg. from Correlation to Cause Premise: There is a positive correlation between A and B. Conclusion Conclusion: A causes B. Critical Questions CQ1: Is there really a correlation between A and B? CQ2: Is there any reason to think that the correlation is any more than a coincidence? CQ3: Could there be some third factor C, that is causing both A and B?
The Dannon Yogurt Ad The advertising campaign called “In Soviet Georgia”, designed by the Burson ad agency, was run in various media from 1975 through to 1978. The commercial, called Son of Russia, written by Steve Kasloff, won the Clio award in 1978. The commercials presented shots of elderly Georgian farmers and the announcer said, “In Soviet Georgia, where they eat a lot of yogurt, a lot of people live past 100”. Advertising Age ranked “In Soviet Georgia” as number 89 on its list of the best of 100 greatest advertising campaigns.
Conclusions Practical reasoning is the central argumentation scheme around which the arguments in these ads are built. Ads that have this practical reasoning structure as their core argument structure have adopted what is commonly called the problem/solution strategy in advertising. Such ads appear to be very common, judging by the examples we studied, but that may merely reflect a current trend. Nonetheless, the project has shown how argumentation mapping tools can be used to bring out interesting features of real examples of arguments designed to persuade a target audience/readership for commercial purposes. Some of the examples led to analyses revealing implicit assumptions and questionable inferences.
Some Useful Resources Argument Mapping Software Araucaria: http://araucaria.computing.dundee.ac.uk/ Rationale: http://rationale.austhink.com/ Carneades: http://carneades.berlios.de/downloads/http://carneades.berlios.de/downloads/ Value-Based Practical Reasoning Trevor Bench-Capon, ‘Persuasion in Practical Argument Using Value-based Argumentation Frameworks’, Journal of Logic and Computation, 13, 2003, 429-448. Argumentation Schemes Douglas Walton, Chris Reed and Fabrizio Macagno, Argumentation Schemes, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.