Authority Argument Schemes, Types, and Critical Questions

Argumentation 37 (1):25-51 (2023)
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Abstract

Authority arguments generate support for claims by appealing to an agent’s authority status, rather than to reasons independent of it. With few exceptions, the current literature on argument schemes acknowledges two basic authority types. The _epistemic_ type grounds in knowledge, the_ deontic_ type grounds in power. We review how historically earlier scholarship acknowledged an_ attractiveness-based_ and a _majority-based_ authority type as equally basic type. Crossing these with basic speech act types thus yields authority argument sub-schemes. Focusing on the_ epistemic-assertive_ sub-scheme (‘an epistemic authority _A_ _E_ asserts a proposition _P_’), we apply a meta-level approach to specifying critical questions. Results improve the evaluation of this sub-scheme and show how similar improvements are obtainable for other schemes.

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