Critical Analysis Project

The nature of our analyses

Our analyses draw on research conducted in a variety of academic disciplines that are concerned with argument quality (for more background on this see here). The analyses evaluate the quality of key arguments contained in the pieces articles and opinion pieces analysed.

Argument quality, as we use the word, is based on features that make arguments weak or strong in the sense of more or less likely to lead to truth, accuracy or satisfactory decisions. It is not enough that an argument simply convinces someone for it to count as strong in this sense. Rather, argument quality is about what should convince people if they were fully rational. Sometimes, people find arguments compelling that they should not find compelling on closer consideration. Such arguments are called fallacious (on fallacies of argumentation, see here), and we highlight them where we come across them.

Our analyses draw attention to considerations of argument strength that all rational discussants should, in principle, be able to agree on. This means also that in our analyses we are taking on the role of a referee; we are not trying to advocate particular positions in the actual debate!