The attitude that only arguments that agree with your viewpoints are good is extremely close-minded.
“ persuasive argument”
People aren’t always smart and can be persuaded by “eloquent speech” (and be confused by solid reasoning).
Hitler was more persuasive than Churchill, but that doesn’t mean that Hitler’s arguments were better.
Although it’s easier to tell whether an argument is good if it is well written, being well written doesn’t make it good. Clarity, eloquence and organization can all occur in the presence of logical mistakes.
Arguments always contain premises, and—while some premises will have support from other premises—there will always be some premises that are mere assumptions (claims made by the arguer). If the argument is valid/ strong, its soundness/cogency will turn on whether these assumptions are true. So how can we tell if we should accept them?
The Principle of Rational Acceptance : It is reasonable to accept a claim if…
(1) The claim does not conflict with personal experience that we have no good reason to doubt it.
(2) The claim does not conflict with background beliefs that we have no good reason to doubt.
Much of what we believe is based on the testimony of sources.
We saw a lot about this in chapter 6 (more is in chapter 12).
To reiterate: questions to ask to determine source credibility:
Genuine expert? Are they outside their area? Are they biased? Do they have a reason to lie? Questionable senses (were they drunk)? Are they generally reliable (is it The Enquirer? ) Right context? Can expert opinion settle the issue ( e.g., is this a moral issue)? Is it improbable?