In everyday situations, people regularly receive information from large groups of (lay) people and from single experts. Although lay opinions and expert opinions have been studied extensively in isolation, the present study examined the relationship between the two by asking how many lay people are needed to counter an expert opinion. A Bayesian formalisation allowed the prescription of this quantity. Participants were subsequently asked to assess how many lay people are needed in different situations. The results demonstrate that people are sensitive to the relevant factors identified for determining how many lay opinions are required to counteract a single expert opinion. People’s assessments were fairly good in line with Bayesian predictions.
- Hornikx, J., Harris, A., & Boekema, J. (2018). How many laypeople holding a popular opinion are needed to counter an expert opinion? Thinking and Reasoning, 24 (1), 117-128.
In this paper, it is argued that the most fruitful approach to developing normative models of argument quality is one that combines the argumentation scheme approach with Bayesian argumentation. Three sample argumentation schemes from the literature are discussed: the argument from sign, the argument from expert opinion, and the appeal to popular opinion. Limitations of the scheme-based treatment of these argument forms are identified and it is shown how a Bayesian perspective may help to overcome these. At the same time, the contributions of the standard scheme-based approach are highlighted, and it is argued that only a combination of the insights of different traditions will yield a complete normative theory of argument quality.
- Hahn, U., & Hornikx, J. (2016). A normative framework for argument quality: Argumentation schemes with a Bayesian foundation. Synthese, 193 (6), 1833-1873. [link]
The concept of argumentation schemes plays an important role in identifying real-life argumentation, and in assessing the quality of this argumentation by virtue of critical questions. Argumentation schemes have played a central role within argumentation theory since the second half of the last century. This special issue addresses two general topics related to argumentation schemes. In the first place, some papers tackle the question how argumentation schemes should be classified into a framework, and how they work together in argumentative discourse. In the second place, other papers address the question how language users employ criteria to evaluate argumentation.
- Hornikx, J., & Jansen, H. (2014). Argumentatieschema’s [themanummer Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing]. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University [link].