Argumentation 32 (2):213-240 (2018)

We all seem to have a sense of what good and bad arguments are, and there is a long history—focusing on fallacies—of trying to provide objective standards that would allow a clear separation of good and bad arguments. This contribution discusses the limits of attempts to determine the quality of arguments. It begins with defining bad arguments as those that deviate from an established standard of good arguments. Since there are different conceptualizations of “argument”—as controversy, as debate, and as justification—and since arguments in each of these senses can be used for different purposes, a first problem is that we would need a large variety of standards for “good” arguments. After this, the contribution focuses in particular on proposals made in the literature on how to assess the quality of arguments in the sense of justification. It distinguishes three problems of assessment: How to determine whether reasons are acceptable, whether reasons are sufficient to justify the conclusion, and how to identify arguments in real-world speech acts and texts? It is argued that limitations of argument assessment result from unavoidable relativism: The assessment of many—if not most—arguments depends on the epistemic situation of the evaluator.
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DOI 10.1007/s10503-017-9442-x
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References found in this work BETA

Fallacies.C. L. Hamblin - 1970 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 160:492-492.
Contents.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier - 2017 - In Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.), The Enigma of Reason. Harvard University Press.

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