Profiles of Dialogue for Evaluating Arguments from Ignorance

Argumentation 13 (1):53-71 (1999)
Abstract
This investigation uses the technique of the profile of dialogue as a tool for the evaluation of arguments from ignorance (also called lack-of-evidence arguments, negative evidence, ad ignorantiam arguments and ex silentio arguments). Such arguments have traditionally been classified as fallacies by the logic textbooks, but recent research has shown that in many cases they can be used reasonably. A profile of dialogue is a connected sequence of moves and countermoves in a conversational exchange of a type that is goal-directed and can be represented in a normative model of dialogue. Selected case studies are used to probe special features of using the profile technique as applied to arguments from ignorance of a kind that occur frequently in everyday conversational exchanges. One of these special features is the use of Gricean implicature. Another is the need to use negative profiles of argument
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