Professor W A Landman

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To act in a scientifically accountable way, an author should discuss the relevant data and information that have been collected during his implementation of the research process. In such a discussion reasons are put forward in support of or against opinions, procedures, proposals, problemidentification, hypotheses formulation, ways of data-collection, recommendations etc. Reasoning is aimed at demonstrating the truth and validity of statements addressed in support or against a plan of action, a proposal, an interpretation (i.e. for or against a search for meaning).

An argument is a form (type) of reasoning in which a point of view, claim, deduction, opinion or interpretation is stated and then reasons are given to confirm it. Reasons are given (supplied) to "prove" the validity of a claim, deduction, opinion or interpretation and to persuade other persons (researchers) to accept it as valid (true). Reasons are evaluated by the discussion of objections (opposition, disagreement). Objections should be based on information (knowledge data) that is suitable for evaluating the validity (soundness) of the reasons given. Objections are actually reasons why a particular point of view, claim, deduction, opinion of interpretation is not acceptable (satiscactory, adequate) (i.e. reasons for accepting the search for meaning as a way of living).

Valid reasons are based on (are supported by) reliable relevant information (knowledge) and data (facts, essences) derived from research and/or experience. Therefore, it can be stated that an argument is a reasoned justification of a point of view, claim, deduction, opinion or interpretation that leads to a conclusion. Reasoning is to state (formulate) and to consider seriously (or reflection) supporting and also contradictory reasons (for a conclusion). The implication is an appeal to the researcher to obtain (acquire) up-to-date (recent) information (i.e. Frankl from his practice as a psychiatrist).

A reason in logic is called a premise (or premiss). That is done to emphasize that in an argument a succession of sentences is divided in such a way that some of the sentences are supposed to be the reason (justification, guarantee, warrant, support) for some other sentences. The sentences that provide the reason or warrant are called premisses. The sentence that is supposed to be warranted by the premisses is called the conclusion (Michalos). Specific tasks of the researcher is to

* ascertain the validity (truth) of each premiss (i.e. Frankl - his description and evaluation of his psychiatric endeavours)

* make certain that a specific conclusion is sufficiently supported by the premisses. Premisses are supposed to supply (be) reasons for believing or accepting the conclusion(s). Premisses are motivations for conclusions that emanate from them (i.e. Frankl's motivation of a search for meaning as an existential possibility).


Blair, IA & Johnson, RH 1987. The current state of informal logic. Informal Logic (ix) (2,3).

Bowles, G 1989. Favorable relevance and arguments. Informal Logic (vixi).

Frankl, VE : Public Works.

Walton, PN 1989. Informal Logic. A handbook for critical argumentation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Woods, J & Walton, D 1982. Argument: The Logic of the Fallacies. Toronto: McGraw-Hill.

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