David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Argumentation 8 (3):241-250 (1994)
I find (as others have found) that question-begging is formally valid but rationally unpersuasive. More precisely, it ought to be unpersuasive, although it can often persuade. Despite its formal validity, question-begging fails to establish its conclusion; in this sense it fails under a classical or foundationalist model of argument. But it does link its conclusion to its premises by means of acceptable rules of inference; in this sense it succeeds under a non-classical, non-foundationalist model of argument which is spelled out in the essay. However, even for the latter model question-begging fails to link the conclusion to premises that the unconvinced would find more acceptable than the conclusion. The essay includes reflections on the conditions under which the circularity of mutually supporting claims can avoid question-begging and legitimately be persuasive.
|Keywords||Begging the question question-begging petitio principii circular reasoning non-foundationalism coherentism vouching|
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