On the Priority of Agent-Based Argumentative Norms

Topoi 35 (2):345-357 (2016)
David Godden
Michigan State University
This paper argues against the priority of pure, virtue-based accounts of argumentative norms [VA]. Such accounts are agent-based and committed to the priority thesis: good arguments and arguing well are explained in terms of some prior notion of the virtuous arguer arguing virtuously. Two problems with the priority thesis are identified. First, the definitional problem: virtuous arguers arguing virtuously are neither sufficient nor necessary for good arguments. Second, the priority problem: the goodness of arguments is not explained virtuistically. Instead, being excellences, virtues are instrumental in relation to other, non-aretaic goods—in this case, reason and rationality. Virtues neither constitute reasons nor explain their goodness. Two options remain for VA: either provide some account of reason and rationality in virtuistic terms, or accept them as given but non-aretaic goods. The latter option, though more viable, demands the concession that VA cannot provide the core norms of argumentation theory.
Keywords argument norms  good argument  priority thesis  good reason  virtue argumentation  virtuous arguer  reason  rationality  Daniel Cohen
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DOI 10.1007/s11245-014-9296-x
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Virtuous Norms for Visual Arguers.Andrew Aberdein - 2018 - Argumentation 32 (1):1-23.

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