Argumentation 35 (3):389-408 (2020)

Hugh Edmond Breakey
Griffith University
“Meta-argument allegations” consist of protestations that an interlocutor’s speech is wrongfully offensive or will trigger undesirable social consequences. Such protestations are meta-argument in the sense that they do not interrogate the soundness of an opponent’s argumentation, but instead focus on external features of that argument. They are allegations because they imply moral wrongdoing. There is a legitimate place for meta-argument allegations, and the moral and epistemic goods that can come from them will be front of mind for those levelling such allegations. But I argue there is a dark side to such allegations, and their epistemic and moral costs must be seriously weighed. Meta-argument allegations have a concerning capacity to derail discussions about important topics, stymieing argumentational interactions and the goods they provide. Such allegations can license efforts to silence, punish and deter—even as they provoke the original speaker to retaliate in kind. Used liberally, such allegations can escalate conflicts, block open-mindedness, and discourage constructive dialogues. In response, I defend “argumentational tolerance”—a principled wariness in employing meta-argument allegations—as a virtue of ethical argument.
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1007/s10503-020-09538-8
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References found in this work BETA

The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Natural Law and Natural Rights.John Finnis - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Natural Law and Natural Rights.John Finnis - 1980 - Oxford University Press UK.
On Liberty.John Stuart Mill - 1859 - Broadview Press.

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Demanding a halt to metadiscussions.Beth Innocenti - forthcoming - Argumentation:1-20.

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