The Ways of Criticism

Argumentation 25 (2):199-227 (2011)
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Abstract

This paper attempts to systematically characterize critical reactions in argumentative discourse, such as objections, critical questions, rebuttals, refutations, counterarguments, and fallacy charges, in order to contribute to the dialogical approach to argumentation. We shall make use of four parameters to characterize distinct types of critical reaction. First, a critical reaction has a focus, for example on the standpoint, or on another part of an argument. Second, critical reactions appeal to some kind of norm, argumentative or other. Third, they each have a particular illocutionary force, which may include that of giving strategic advice to the other. Fourth, a critical reaction occurs at a particular level of dialogue (the ground level or some meta-level). The concepts here developed shall be applied to discussions of critical reactions by Aristotle and by some contemporary authors

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Jan Albert Van Laar
University of Groningen