Some of Jonathan Dancy's strongest arguments in support of moral particularism depend crucially upon the distinction he draws between three different kinds of relevance relations -- favourers, intensifiers and enablers. In this paper I generalize certain features of Dancy's account of the different roles that premises can play in moral argumentation. Most significantly, I argue that both intensifiers and enablers play parallel roles within different kinds of (more primitive) supplementation relations. This matters since it is common for people to accept (...) Dancy's account of intensifiers while remaining suspicious of his notion of enablers. But this asymmetrical response, I argue, cannot be justified. This account also generates a simpler and more elegant argument in support of moral particularism. (shrink)
What is the nature of rational disagreement? A number of philosophers have recently addressed this question by examining how we should respond to epistemic conflict with a so-called epistemic peer—that is, someone over whom you enjoy no epistemic advantage. Some say that you're rationally required to suspend judgment in these cases—thereby denying the very possibility of a certain kind of rational disagreement. Others say that it's permissible to retain your beliefs even in the face of epistemic conflict. By distinguishing between (...) close peers and distant peers, I argue that it's rational to respond to different types of peers in different ways. I also argue that remote peers—a particularly distant kind of distant peer—provide us with an important lesson in epistemic humility. (shrink)
Mark Vorobej develops a novel approach to argument interpretation and evaluation that synthesizes subjective concerns about the personal points of view of individual arguers, with objective concerns about the structural properties of arguments. One of the key themes of the book is that we cannot succeed in distinguishing good arguments from bad arguments until we learn to listen carefully to others. Part I develops a relativistic account of argument cogency that allows for rational disagreement. Part II offers a comprehensive and (...) rigorous account of argument diagramming. (shrink)
Sometimes logical support for a conclusion is provided exclusively by premises which are independently relevant to that conclusion. At other times, support is provided exclusively by independently irrelevant premises. On still other occasions, relevant and irrelevant premises may collectively offer a distinctive pattern of support. This paper provides a rigorous account of some of these differences in terms of a tripartite classification of convergent, linked and hybrid arguments. These various arguments are defined, diagrammed, and some of their logical properties are (...) explored. (shrink)
In this paper I demonstrate that most textbook accounts of the linked/convergent distinction fail to conform to the widespread intuition that all valid arguments ought to be classified as linked arguments. I also show that standard textbook accounts of linkage and convergence cannot provide a satisfactory treatment of fallacies of irrelevance and, due to their general insensitivity to the epistemic context in which arguments are offered, must be supplemented by subjective accounts of linkage and convergence which appeal exclusively to authorial (...) beliefs and intentions. (shrink)
There are many radically different ways of understanding the distinction between linked and convergent arguments. This paper provides a generic model which enables one to articulate in a rigorous manner the important differences as well as the underlying similarities that exist between competing proposals. In addition, the paper offers a TRUE (Type Reduction Upon Elimination) test for distinguishing linked from convergent arguments which best captures the informal intuition that linked arguments are especially vulnerable to local criticisms pertaining to premise acceptability.
This paper defends the view that the classification of an argument as being deductive ought to rest exclusively upon psychological considerations; specifically, upon whether the argument's author holds certain beliefs. This account is justified on theoretical and pedagogical grounds, and situated within a general taxonomy of competing proposals. Epistemological difficulties involved in the application of psychological definitions are recognized but claimed to be ineliminable from the praetice of argumentation. The paper concludes by discussing embryonic arguments where the author's relevant beliefs (...) are not sufficiently fine-grained so as to accord the argument deductive or inductive status. (shrink)