Argumentation 35 (2):209-235 (2021)

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Abstract
In response to an accusation of having said something inappropriate, the accused may exploit the difference between the explicit contents of their utterance and its implicatures. Widely discussed in the pragmatics literature are those cases in which arguers accept accountability only for the explicit contents of what they said while denying commitment to the implicature. In this paper, we sketch a fuller picture of commitment denial. We do so, first, by including in our discussion not just denial of implicatures, but also the mirror strategy of denying commitment to literal meaning and, second, by classifying strategies for commitment denial in terms of classical rhetorical status theory. In addition to providing a systematic categorization of our data, this approach offers some clues to determine when such a defence strategy is a reasonable one and when it is not.
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DOI 10.1007/s10503-020-09521-3
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