Reasoning Together: Temptations, Dangers, and Cautions

Argumentation 16 (1):3-19 (2002)
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In the appropriate contexts reasoning is a powerful tool for producing intersubjective agreement about what counts as the best answer to a question that generates inquiry; sometimes employing arguments can lead to agreement about what is the right answer. In this paper we hope to show, however, that unabashed optimism about the power of argument is misplaced. Such optimism rests on an implausible picture of the power of articulation. Sentences cashed out as reasons to believe another sentence is true cannot bridge large gaps in substantive understanding. A failure to realize this fact, moreover, leads to an uncautious and unreflective optimism about the power of argument that ultimately threatens the very reasons-giving process. What is needed, then, is a much more modest sense of the role of argument.



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Dale Turner
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

References found in this work

Coalescent argumentation.Michael A. Gilbert - 1995 - Argumentation 9 (5):837-852.
Mundane reasoning.Melvin Pollner - 1974 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 4 (1):35-54.
Argument and Deliberation: A Plea for Understanding.Larry Wright - 1995 - Journal of Philosophy 92 (11):565-585.
Argument and deliberation: A plea for understanding.Larry Wright - 1995 - Journal of Philosophy 92 (11):565-585.

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