, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 243-252
Date: 10 Nov 2007

Countering Fallacious Moves

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Van Eemeren and Houtlosser view fallacies as “derailments of strategic maneuvering” that go against a norm for critical reasonableness. What is to happen if such a derailment is perceived to have taken place? Krabbe (2003) and Jacobs (2000) have discussed the possibilities for continuing the argumentative exchange in a constructive way. Starting from their proposals, van Eemeren and Houtlosser argue that the party who observes that something has gone wrong should maneuver in such a way that at the same time the derailment is recognized and a “re-railment” takes place that brings the discussion back on track. This means that then a meta-dialogue or sub-discussion develops in which the alleged fallacy is responded to and readjusted appropriately. Although this solution has something in common with both Krabbe’s proposal and Jacobs’ proposal, it differs from Krabbe’s proposal because it does not result in just retracting or maintaining the alleged fallacy and it differs from Jacobs’ proposal because it does not allow for making a move that has the appearance of a counter-fallacy.