Aristotle's Endoxa and Plausible Argumentation

Argumentation 12 (1):95-113 (1998)
Aristotle's conception and use of ta endoxa are key points to our understanding of Aristotelian dialectic. But, nowadays, they are not of historical or hermeneutic importance alone, as, in Aristotle's treatment of endoxa, we still see a relevant contribution to the modern study of argumentation. I propose here an interpretation of endoxa to that effect: namely, as plausible propositions. This version is not only defensible in the Aristotelian context, it may also shed new light on some of his assumptions and methodological shortcomings – e.g. concerning the 'plausible/implausible' pair –; finally, it will even enable us to show certain basic hints and guidelines, advanced by Aristotle's study of endoxa, which still serve nowadays to orientate our studies of argumentation from the angle of a theory of plausible argument currently under construction. These hints and guidelines suggest a pragmatic, gradual and comparative discursive concept of plausibility, and point, in particular, towards the reasonable dealing with, and weighing up of, differences of opinion within this frame of reference
Keywords Aristotle  dialectic  plausible argumentation  theory of argumentation
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DOI 10.1023/A:1007720902559
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