We have argued that premise acceptability, broadly speaking, amounts to there being a presumption in favor of the premise. We have also argued that presumption is dependent on the sources which have vouched for a statement. We have further claimed that whether a source's vouching for a statement creates a presumption for it depends in part on what type of statement is being vouched for. Suppose a proponent P vouches for both of these statements: "There is a red apple on the window sill." "Horatio placed the red apple on the window sill to show his love for Ophelia." Intuitively, there is an air of controversiality or at least questionability about the second statement which does not apply to the first. We are inclined to ask for evidence for the second statement, but not for the first. I believe we can explain why this is the case, and that part of the explanation consists in pointing out that the first statement is a description while the second is an interpretation. But this brings us to the issue of what types of statements are there and how we distinguish them. The field of rhetoric known as stasis theory addresses these issues. However, different rhetoricians give different typologies of statements, and proposed criteria for distinguishing types of statements involve serious philosophical difficulties. Building on the work of Sproule, Fahnestock and Secor, and Kruger, we shall present a specific typology of statements. In particular, we shall distinguish descriptions, interpretations, evaluations, and necessary statements as the basic types of statement. We shall also give accounts of the distinguishing features of each type. In doing this, we shall be giving a philosophical explication of these distinctions from stasis theory. We shall conclude by showing how this account of the various types of statements fits into an overall account of premise acceptability.
15-5-1997 9:00 AM
17-5-1997 5:00 PM
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Response to Submission
Marie Secor, Commentary on Freeman
Marie Secor, Commentary on Freeman (May 1997)
What Types of Statements are There? A Philosophical Look at Stasis Theory