The fallacy of fallacies

Argumentation 1 (3):211-238 (1987)


Several of the so-called “fallacies” in Aristotle are not in fact mistaken inference-types, but mistakes or breaches of rules in the questioning games which were practiced in the Academy and in the Lyceum. Hence the entire Aristotelian theory of “fallacies” ought to be studied by reference to the author's interrogative model of inquiry, based on his theory of questions and answers, rather than as a part of the theory of inference. Most of the “fallacies” mentioned by Aristotle can in fact be diagnosed by means of the interrogative model, including petitio principii, multiple questions, “babbling’, etc., and so can Aristotle's alleged anticipation of the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem. The entire Aristotelian conception of inquiry is an interrogative one. Deductive conclusions caught Aristotle's attention in the form of answers that every rational interlocutor must give, assuming only his own earlier answers. Several features of Aristotle's methodology can be understood by means of the interrogative model, including the role of endoxa in it. Theoretically, there is also considerable leeway as to whether “fallacies” are conceived of as mistakes in questioning or as breaches of the rules that govern questioning games

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References found in this work

Begging the Question, 1971.Richard Robinson - 1971 - Analysis 31 (4):113 - 117.
Arresting Circles in Formal Dialogues.John Woods & Douglas Walton - 1978 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 7 (1):73 - 90.
Saving Aristotle's Appearances.Martha C. Nussbaum - 1982 - In M. Schofield & M. C. Nussbaum (eds.), Language and Logos. Cambridge University Press. pp. 267--94.
Begging the question, 1971.Richard Robinson - 1971 - Analysis 31 (4):113.

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