Topoi 38 (4):659-668 (2019)
AbstractBoth because of the vagueness of the word ‘give’ when speaking about giving reasons, and because we lack an adequate definition of ‘reasons’, there is a harmful ambiguity in the expression ‘giving reasons’. Particularly, straightforwardly identifying argumentation with reasons giving would make of virtually any interplay a piece of argumentation. Besides, if we adopt the mainstream definition of reasons as “considerations that count in favour of doing or believing something”, then only good argumentation would count as argumentation. In this paper, I defend a qualified characterization of argumentation as reasons giving that is shown to be fruitful for shedding light on the practice of giving reasons, and an inferentialist conception of reasons that makes room for speaking of “bad reasons” and, consequently, makes it possible to talk of argumentation as reasons giving even if we are talking about bad argumentation.
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