Criticism in Need of Clarification

Argumentation 28 (4):401-423 (2014)
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It furthers the dialectic when the opponent is clear about what motivates and underlies her critical stance, even if she does not adopt an opposite standpoint, but merely doubts the proponent’s opinion. Thus, there is some kind of burden of criticism. In some situations, there should an obligation for the opponent to offer explanatory counterconsiderations, if requested, whereas in others, there is no real dialectical obligation, but a mere responsibility for the opponent to cooperate by providing her motivations for being critical. In this paper, it will be shown how a set of dialogue rules may encourage an opponent, in this latter type of situation, to provide her counterconsiderations, and to do so at an appropriate level of specificity. Special attention will be paid to the desired level of specificity. For example, the critic may challenge a thesis by saying “Why? Says who?,” without conveying whether she could be convinced by an argument from expert opinion, or from position to know, or from popular opinion. What are fair dialogue rules for dealing with less than fully specific criticism?



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Jan Albert Van Laar
University of Groningen

References found in this work

Argumentation schemes.Douglas Walton, Chris Reed & Fabrizio Macagno - 2008 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Chris Reed & Fabrizio Macagno.
Fallacies.Charles Leonard Hamblin - 1970 - Newport News, Va.: Vale Press.

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