Arguing about definitions

Argumentation 7 (4):403-417 (1993)
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What are the implications of taking seriously Chaïm Perelman's proposition that “definitions are rhetorical”? Efforts to find Real Definitions are dysfunctional to the extent they direct argumentation toward pseudo “is” claims and away from explicit “ought” claims about how words are to be used. Addressing definitional disputes explicitly as propositions ofought rather thanis could put on the agenda the pragmatic concerns of definitional choice that might otherwise remain tacit



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