Ambiguity in argument

Argument and Computation 1 (2):125-146 (2010)
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The use of ambiguous expressions in argumentative dialogues can lead to misunderstanding and equivocation. Such ambiguities are here called active ambiguities . However, even a normative model of persuasion dialogue ought not to ban active ambiguities altogether, one reason being that it is not always possible to determine beforehand which expressions will prove to be actively ambiguous. Thus, it is proposed that argumentative norms should enable each participant to put forward ambiguity criticisms as well as self-critical ambiguity corrections, inducing them to improve their language if necessary. In order to discourage them from nitpicking and from arriving at excessively high levels of precision, the parties are also provided with devices with which to examine whether the ambiguity corrections or ambiguity criticisms have been appropriate. A formal dialectical system is proposed, in the Hamblin style, that satisfies these and some other philosophical desiderata



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Jan Albert Van Laar
University of Groningen

References found in this work

The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation.Chaïm Perelman & Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca - 1969 - Notre Dame, IN, USA: Notre Dame University Press. Edited by Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca.
Fallacies.C. L. Hamblin - 1970 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 160:492-492.

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