Location

McMaster University

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

1-6-2005 9:00 AM

End Date

1-6-2005 5:00 PM

Abstract

Sometimes pernicious circularities appear in definitions of fundamental concepts of argumentation theory. For instance, in pragma-dialectical theory, the concept of a fallacy and that of a critical discussion aiming at resolving a difference of opinion mutually presuppose one another. A similar relationship obtains, in argumentation theory at large, between the concept of argumentation and that of rationality. Again, the concept of an argumentative dialogue presupposes a concept of statement. Yet, statementhood is sometimes claimed to be determined by a locution’s function in dialogue. Similarly, for the concepts of proof and argument. Are these circularities really objectionable? Are they resolvable? If they are not, how can we live with them? It will be argued that some of these problems can be neglected some of the time, but not all of them all of the time. Though there may be no royal road towards resolution, several strategies can be applied. But sometimes patience is what is needed.

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Jun 1st, 9:00 AM Jun 1st, 5:00 PM

Fundamental Circularities in the Theory of Argumentation

McMaster University

Sometimes pernicious circularities appear in definitions of fundamental concepts of argumentation theory. For instance, in pragma-dialectical theory, the concept of a fallacy and that of a critical discussion aiming at resolving a difference of opinion mutually presuppose one another. A similar relationship obtains, in argumentation theory at large, between the concept of argumentation and that of rationality. Again, the concept of an argumentative dialogue presupposes a concept of statement. Yet, statementhood is sometimes claimed to be determined by a locution’s function in dialogue. Similarly, for the concepts of proof and argument. Are these circularities really objectionable? Are they resolvable? If they are not, how can we live with them? It will be argued that some of these problems can be neglected some of the time, but not all of them all of the time. Though there may be no royal road towards resolution, several strategies can be applied. But sometimes patience is what is needed.