The witch hunt as a structure of argumentation

Argumentation 10 (3):389-407 (1996)
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Abstract

The concept of a witch hunt is frequently invoked, in recent times, to describe a kind of procedure for deciding the guilt of a person against whom an accusation has been made. But what exactly is a witch hunt? In this paper, ten conditions are formulated as a cluster of properties characterizing the witch hunt as a framework in which arguments are used: (1) pressure of social forces, (2) stigmatization, (3) climate of fear, (4) resemblance to a fair trial, (5) use of simulated evidence, (6) simulated expert testimony, (7) nonfalsifiability characteristic of evidence, (8) reversal of polarity, (9) non-openness, and (10) use of the loaded question technique. The witch hunt, as characterized by these criteria, is shown to function as a negative normative structure for evaluating argumentation used in particular cases

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Douglas Walton
Last affiliation: University of Windsor

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References found in this work

Informal Logic: A Handbook for Critical Argumentation.Douglas Neil Walton - 1989 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Informal Logic: A Handbook for Critical Argument.Douglas Neil Walton - 1989 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Introduction to Logic.Irving M. Copi - 1956 - Philosophy of Science 23 (3):267-268.
Arguments From Ignorance.Douglas N. Walton - 1995 - Pennsylvania State University Press.
Arguments From Ignorance.Douglas N. Walton - 1997 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 30 (1):97-101.

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