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Argumentation and distortion

Episteme 4 (3):382-401 (2007)
Why is there so much misrepresentation of arguments in public forums? Standard explanations, such as self-interested biases, are insufficient. An additional part of the explanation is our commitment to, or belief in, norms that disallow responses that amount to no firm judgment, as contrasted with definite agreement or disagreement. In disallowing no-firm-judgment responses, these norms deny not only degrees of support or dissent and a variety of ways of suspending judgment, but also indifference. Since these norms leave us with only constricted options that are very intellectually demanding, in accepting these norms we impose on ourselves a pressure to justify our judgment that lends itself to relief through misrepresentation or distortion
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