The attraction of the ideal has no traction on the real: on adversariality and roles in argument

Argumentation and Advocacy:forthcoming (2018)
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Abstract

If circumstances were always simple and all arguers were always exclusively concerned with cognitive improvement, arguments would probably always be cooperative. However, we have other goals and there are other arguers, so in practice the default seems to be adversarial argumentation. We naturally inhabit the heuristically helpful but cooperation-inhibiting roles of proponents and opponents. We can, however, opt for more cooperative roles. The resources of virtue argumentation theory are used to explain when proactive cooperation is permissible, advisable, and even mandatory – and also when it is not.

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