On the Argumentative Strength of Indirect Inferential Conditionals

Argumentation 24 (3):337-362 (2010)
Abstract
Inferential or epistemic conditional sentences represent a blueprint of someone’s reasoning process from premise to conclusion. Declerck and Reed (2001) make a distinction between a direct and an indirect type. In the latter type the direction of reasoning goes backwards, from the blatant falsehood of the consequent to the falsehood of the antecedent. We first present a modal reinterpretation in terms of Argumentation Schemes of indirect inferential conditionals (IIC’s) in Declerck and Reed (2001). We furthermore argue for a distinction between epistemic-modal strong and deontic-modal weak IIC’s. In addition, we extend the category of the indirect inferential conditionals in order to include several other deontic-modal subtypes. On the basis of the undesirability of the consequent the hearer in these cases infers that the antecedent is also undesirable. In this way the rhetoric-argumentative strategy of Reductio ad Absurdum is extended from the realm of deductive reasoning to that of practical reasoning
Keywords Pragmatics  Conditionals  Rhetoric  Inferential  Epistemic  Reductio ad Absurdum
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    References found in this work BETA
    E. J. Lowe (1995). The Truth About Counterfactuals. Philosophical Quarterly 45 (178):41-59.
    Chaïm Perelman (1969). The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation. Notre Dame, [Ind.]University of Notre Dame Press.

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