Discussion: expert testimony, causality, and argument from analogy

Step 1 Consider the scenario.

For two weeks, Jeff and Dana have gone back and forth over what movie to see Friday after work. Jeff wants to go see a foreign picture, claiming it will broaden both of their cultural horizons. “I was a film major,” he says, “what more authority do you need?” Of course, Dana can’t argue with the fact that Jeff excelled in his film courses, “but that hardly makes you an expert. In fact, you’re so stubborn it feels like I’m talking to a wall. I want to see something romantic, something to remind you of how I should be treated once in a while!” Dana’s suggestion falls on deaf ears. “I swear, when it comes to romance movies, if you see one you’ve seen them all,” Jeff says. “It’s like running circles around the same old track. I could write the script for you and save us each the 10 dollars.”

Step 2 In your original post, evaluate arguments and post responses to the following.

  • Why does each kind of argument create an inferential claim? For example, why would Jeff’s expert testimony weigh more heavily than Dana’s when it comes to film choices?
  • Are we ever 100% certain about causal inferences?
  • Why do analogies work in some arguments but not in others?
  • Of the separate analogies presented in the scenario, which do you believe was the most successful? Why?
  • Present an example of a commonly used argument form.