Fabrizio Macagno Universidade Nova de Lisboa
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  • Postdoc, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
  • PhD, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 2008.

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About me
Fabrizio Macagno currently holds a Post Doctoral position at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, where he teaches PhD. Seminars and conducts research in the field of argumentation and communication. He is doing research in the field of Argumentation and Philosophy of Language in cooperation with the Unversity of Windsor, Ontario, and the University of Dundee, Scotland. Fabrizio Macagno graduated with a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan in 2008. His dissertation, supervised by Prof. Eddo Rigotti, advanced a new approach to definition, in which the ancient Aristotelian approach to semantics is applied to argumentation theory. His background is in Philology and Linguistics, and during his Master Degree he further specialized in Logic and Argumentation, a groundbreaking field of research aimed at merging the logical, linguistic and communication studies in a unitary approach to human reasoning and textual interpretation. Such field, largely developed in North America, is substantially attracting the interest of the scientific community all over the world for its application to the fields of education, politics, law and artificial intelligence. Fabrizio Macagno has been working on argumentation theory since 2004, when he taught classes on Informal Logic at the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada). He then worked on a research project on computing in argumentation at the University of Dundee, Scotland, under the supervision of Professor Chris Reed. In 2005 he came back to Italy and began a PhD on the problem of definition in argumentation. In 2006 he taught and worked as a research assistant at the University of Winnipeg. He authored or co-authored several papers on definition, argumentation schemes, interpretation and analogy that were published in international peer-reviewed journals. In 2008 he defended his PhD dissertation, The Argumentative Uses of Definition, in which he proposed an original approach to semantic analysis and textual interpretation. Such work has been disseminated through the publication of several articles and papers presented at international conferences. The same year he concluded a parallel four-year research project on argument schemes in collaboration with professors Douglas Walton and Chris Reed. The results of such investigation were published in a book Argumentation Schemes, published by Cambridge University Press. Since then he has applied his research to the field of law, and inquired into the patterns and strategies of reasoning used in legal debates and decision-making. Such work has been disseminated by the publication of papers in national and international journals.
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  1. Fabrizio Macagno, Elisabeth Mayweg-Paus & Deanna Kuhn (forthcoming). Argumentation Theory in Education Studies: Coding and Improving Students' Argumentative Strategies. Topoi:1-15.
    This paper is aimed at combining the advances in argumentation theory with the models used in the field of education to address the issue of improving students’ argumentative behavior by interacting with an expert. The concept of deeper or more sophisticated argumentative strategy is theoretically defined and used to advance two new coding schemes, based on the advances in the argumentation studies and aimed at capturing the dialectical, or structural, behavior, and the argumentative content of each dialogue unit. These coding (...)
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  2. Fabrizio Macagno, Chris Reed & Douglas Walton (forthcoming). Argument Diagramming in Logic, Artificial Intelligence, and Law. Artificial Intelligence, and Law.
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  3. Fabrizio Macagno & Benedetta Zavatta (2014). Reconstructing Metaphorical Meaning. Argumentation 28 (4):453-488.
    Metaphorical meaning can be analyzed as triggered by an apparent communicative breach, an incongruity that leads to a default of the presumptive interpretation of a vehicle. This breach can be solved through contextual renegotiations of meaning guided by the communicative intention, or rather the presumed purpose of the metaphorical utterance. This paper addresses the problem of analyzing the complex process of reasoning underlying the reconstruction of metaphorical meaning. This process will be described as a type of abductive argument, aimed at (...)
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  4. Fabrizio Macagno (2013). Strategies of Character Attack. Argumentation 27 (4):1-33.
    Why are personal attacks so powerful? In political debates, speeches, discussions and campaigns, negative character judgments, aggressive charges and charged epithets are used for different purposes. They can block the dialogue, trigger value judgments and influence decisions; they can force the interlocutor to withdraw a viewpoint or undermine his arguments. Personal attacks are not only multifaceted dialogical moves, but also complex argumentative strategies. They can be considered as premises for further arguments based on signs, generalizations or consequences. They involve tactics (...)
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  5. Fabrizio Macagno & Giovanni Damele (2013). The Dialogical Force of Implicit Premises. Presumptions in Enthymemes. Informal Logic 33 (3):361-389.
    The implicit dimension of enthymemes is investigated from a pragmatic perspective to show why a premise can be left unexpressed, and how it can be used strategically. The relationship between the implicit act of taking for granted and the pattern of presumptive reasoning is shown to be the cornerstone of kairos and the fallacy of straw man. By taking a proposition for granted, the speaker shifts the burden of proving its un-acceptability onto the hearer. The resemblance (likeliness) of the tacit (...)
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  6. Fabrizio Macagno & Aikaterini Konstantinidou (2013). What Students' Arguments Can Tell Us: Using Argumentation Schemes in Science Education. [REVIEW] Argumentation 27 (3):225-243.
    The relationship between teaching and argumentation is becoming a crucial issue in the field of education and, in particular, science education. Teaching has been analyzed as a dialogue aimed at persuading the interlocutors, introducing a conceptual change that needs to be grounded on the audience’s background knowledge. This paper addresses this issue from a perspective of argumentation studies. Our claim is that argumentation schemes, namely abstract patterns of argument, can be an instrument for reconstructing the tacit premises in students’ argumentative (...)
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  7. Fabrizio Macagno (2012). Presumptive Reasoning in Interpretation. Implicatures and Conflicts of Presumptions. Argumentation 26 (2):233-265.
    This paper shows how reasoning from best explanation combines with linguistic and factual presumptions during the process of retrieving a speaker’s intention. It is shown how differences between presumptions need to be used to pick the best explanation of a pragmatic manifestation of a dialogical intention. It is shown why we cannot simply jump to an interpretative conclusion based on what we presume to be the most common purpose of a speech act, and why, in cases of indirect speech acts, (...)
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  8. Fabrizio Macagno (2012). Reconstructing and Assessing the Conditions of Meaningfulness. An Argumentative Approach to Presupposition. In H. Ribeiro (ed.), Inside Arguments: Logic and the Study of Argumentation. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 247--268.
    Presupposition has been described in the literature as closely related to the listener’s knowledge and the speaker’s beliefs regarding the other’s mind. However, how is it possible to know or believe our interlocutor’s knowledge? The purpose of this paper is to find an answer to this question by showing the relationship between reasoning, presumption and language. Presupposition is analyzed as twofold reasoning process: on the one hand, the speaker by presupposing a proposition presumes that his interlocutor knows it; on the (...)
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  9. Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton (2012). Presumptions in Legal Argumentation. Ratio Juris 25 (3):271-300.
    In this paper a theoretical definition that helps to explain how the logical structure of legal presumptions is constructed by applying the Carneades model of argumentation developed in artificial intelligence. Using this model, it is shown how presumptions work as devices used in evidentiary reasoning in law in the event of a lack of evidence to assist a chain of reasoning to move forward to prove or disprove a claim. It is shown how presumptions work as practical devices that may (...)
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  10. Fabrizio Macagno (2011). The Presumptions of Meaning. Informal Logic 31 (4):368-394.
    The force and the deceptive nature of the fallacy of equivocation lies in its dialectical nature. The speaker redefines a word in order to classify a fragment of reality, while the hearer draws a conclusion based on the ordinary meaning of such a classification. This difference between the interlocutors’ meanings is grounded on a crucial epistemic gap: how is it possible to know our hearer’s mind, and his knowledge of the words we used? Building on Hamblin’s account of equivocation, the (...)
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  11. Fabrizio Macagno (2011). The Presumptions of Meaning. Hamblin and Equivocation. Informal Logic 31 (4):367-393.
    When we use a word, we face a crucial epistemic gap: we ground our move on the fact that our interlocutor knows the meaning of the word we used, and therefore he can interpret our dialogical intention. However, how is it possible to know the other’s mind? Hamblin explained this dialogical problem advancing the idea of dialectical meaning: on his view, the use of a word is based on a set of presumptions. Building on this approach, the use of a (...)
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  12. Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton (2011). Reasoning From Paradigms and Negative Evidence. Pragmatics and Cognition 19 (1):92-116.
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  13. Douglas Walton & Fabrizio Macagno (2011). Quotations and Presumptions: Dialogical Effects of Misquotations. Informal Logic 31 (1).
    Manipulation of quotation, shown to be a common tactic of argumentation in this paper, is associated with fallacies like wrenching from context, hasty generalization, equivocation, accent, the straw man fallacy, and ad hominem arguments. Several examples are presented from everyday speech, legislative debates and trials. Analysis using dialog models explains the critical defects of argumentation illustrated in each of the examples. In the formal dialog system CB, a proponent and respondent take turns in making moves in an orderly goal-directed sequence (...)
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  14. F. Macagno (2010). Dialectical and Heuristic Arguments: Presumptions and Burden of Proof. In C. Tindale & C. Reed (eds.), Dialectics, Dialogue and Argumentation: An Examination of Douglas Walton's Theories of Reasoning and Argument. College Publications.
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  15. Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton (2010). Dichotomies and Oppositions in Legal Argumentation. Ratio Juris 23 (2):229-257.
    In this paper we use a series of examples to show how oppositions and dichotomies are fundamental in legal argumentation, and vitally important to be aware of, because of their twofold nature. On the one hand, they are argument structures underlying various kinds of rational argumentation commonly used in law as a means of getting to the truth in a conflict of opinion under critical discussion by two opposing sides before a tryer of fact. On the other hand, they are (...)
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  16. Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton (2010). Defeasible Classifications and Inferences From Definitions. Informal Logic 30 (1):34-61.
    We contend that it is possible to argue reasonably for and against arguments from classifications and definitions, provided they are seen as defeasible (subject to exceptions and critical questioning). Arguments from classification of the most common sorts are shown to be based on defeasible reasoning of various kinds represented by patterns of logical reasoning called defeasible argumentation schemes. We show how such schemes can be identified with heuristics, or short-cut solutions to a problem. We examine a variety of arguments of (...)
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  17. Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton (2010). The Argumentative Uses of Emotive Language . Revista Iberoamericana de Argumentación 1:1-37.
  18. Douglas Walton & Fabrizio Macagno (2010). Wrenching From Context: The Manipulation of Commitments. [REVIEW] Argumentation 24 (3):283-317.
    This article analyses the fallacy of wrenching from context, using the dialectical notions of commitment and implicature as tools. The data, a set of key examples, is used to sharpen the conceptual borderlines around the related fallacies of straw man, accent, misquotation, and neglect of qualifications. According to the analysis, the main characteristics of wrenching from context are the manipulation of the meaning of the other’s statement through devices such as the use of misquotations, selective quotations, and quoting out of (...)
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  19. Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton (2009). Argument From Analogy in Law, the Classical Tradition, and Recent Theories. Philosophy and Rhetoric 42 (2):154-182.
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  20. Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton (2009). Enthymemes, Argumentation Schemes, and Topics. Logique Et Analyse 205:39-56.
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  21. Douglas Walton & Fabrizio Macagno (2009). Reasoning From Classifications and Definitions. Argumentation 23 (1):81-107.
    In this paper we analyze the uses and misuses of argumentation schemes from verbal classification, and show how argument from definition supports argumentation based on argument from verbal classification. The inquiry has inevitably included the broader study of the concept of definition. The paper presents the schemes for argument from classification and for argument from definition, and shows how the latter type of argument so typically supports the former. The problem of analyzing arguments based on classification is framed in a (...)
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  22. Fabrizio Macagno (2008). Dialectical Relevance and Dialogical Context in Walton's Pragmatic Theory. Informal Logic 28 (2):102-128.
    The notions of types of dialogue and dialectical relevance are central themes in Walton’s work and the grounds for a dialectical approach to many fallacies. After outlining the dialogue models constituting the background of Walton’s account, this article presents the concepts of dialectical relevance and dialogue shifts in their application to biased argumentation, fallacious moves, and illicit argumentative strategies. Showing the different dialectical proposals Walton advanced in several studies on argumentation as a development of a dialogical system, it has proved (...)
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  23. Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton (2008). Persuasive Definitions: Values, Meanings and Implicit Disagreements. Informal Logic 28 (3):203-228.
    The purpose of this paper is to inquire into the relationship between persuasive definition and common knowledge (propositions generally accepted and not subject to dispute in a discussion). We interpret the gap between common knowledge and persuasive definition (PD) in terms of potential disagreements: PDs are conceived as implicit arguments to win a potential conflict. Persuasive definitions are analyzed as arguments instantiating two argumentation schemes, argument from classification and argument from values, and presupposing a potential disagreement. The argumentative structure of (...)
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  24. Fabrizio Macagno & Douglas Walton (2008). The Argumentative Structure of Persuasive Definitions. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (5):525 - 549.
    In this paper we present an analysis of persuasive definition based on argumentation schemes. Using the medieval notion of differentia and the traditional approach to topics, we explain the persuasiveness of emotive terms in persuasive definitions by applying the argumentation schemes for argument from classification and argument from values. Persuasive definitions, we hold, are persuasive because their goal is to modify the emotive meaning denotation of a persuasive term in a way that contains an implicit argument from values. However, our (...)
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  25. Douglas Walton, Chris Reed & Fabrizio Macagno (2008). Argumentation Schemes. Cambridge University Press.
    This book provides a systematic analysis of many common argumentation schemes and a compendium of 96 schemes. The study of these schemes, or forms of argument that capture stereotypical patterns of human reasoning, is at the core of argumentation research. Surveying all aspects of argumentation schemes from the ground up, the book takes the reader from the elementary exposition in the first chapter to the latest state of the art in the research efforts to formalize and classify the schemes, outlined (...)
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  26. F. Macagno & D. Walton (2007). The Fallaciousness of Threats: Character and Ad Baculum . [REVIEW] Argumentation 28 (3):203-228.
    Robert Kimball, in “What’s Wrong with Argumentum Ad Baculum?” (Argumentation, 2006) argues that dialogue-based models of rational argumentation do not satisfactorily account for what is objectionable about more malicious uses of threats encountered in some ad baculum arguments. We review the dialogue-based approach to argumentum ad baculum, and show how it can offer more than Kimball thinks for analyzing such threat arguments and ad baculum fallacies.
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  27. F. Macagno, D. Walton, G. Rowe & C. Reed (2006). Araucaria as a Tool for Diagramming Arguments in Teaching and Studying Philosophy . Teaching Philosophy 29 (2):111-124,.
  28. F. Macagno & D. Walton (2005). Common Knowledge and Argumentation Schemes . Studies in Communication Sciences 5 (2):1-22.
  29. Douglas Walton & Fabrizio Macagno, Argumentative Reasoning Patterns.
    Proceedings of 6th CMNA (Computational Models of Natural Argument)Workshop, ECAI (European Conference on Artificial Intelligence), Rivadel Garda, Italy, August 28 - September 1, Trento, Italy, University of Trento, 2006, 48-51.
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