Document Type

Paper

Start Date

15-5-1999 9:00 AM

End Date

17-5-1999 5:00 PM

Abstract

Perelman teaches us that, unlike demonstrations, arguments cannot be reduced to or understood as closed systems. In some particular--but telling-- ways, arguments are like jokes. Telling a joke requires close attention to, e.g., appropriateness as re gards subjects, length (what details add or subtract from the humour), the extent of shared knowledge of both particulars and stereotypes, and whether it is possible to be ironic without being misunderstood. Thinking along these lines points up the futil ity of reducing either the invention or the evaluation of arguments to formal schemata.

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May 15th, 9:00 AM May 17th, 5:00 PM

What jokes can tell us about arguments

Perelman teaches us that, unlike demonstrations, arguments cannot be reduced to or understood as closed systems. In some particular--but telling-- ways, arguments are like jokes. Telling a joke requires close attention to, e.g., appropriateness as re gards subjects, length (what details add or subtract from the humour), the extent of shared knowledge of both particulars and stereotypes, and whether it is possible to be ironic without being misunderstood. Thinking along these lines points up the futil ity of reducing either the invention or the evaluation of arguments to formal schemata.