, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 283–301 | Cite as

Fallacies in pragma-dialectical perspective

  • Frans H. Van Eemeren
  • Rob Grootendorst


In the pragma-dialectical approach, fallacies are considered incorrect moves in a discussion for which the goal is successful resolution of a dispute. Ten rules are given for effective conduct at the various stages of such a critical discussion (confrontation, opening, argumentation, concluding). Fallacies are discussed as violations of these rules, taking into account all speech acts which are traditionally recognized as fallacies. Special attention is paid to the role played by implicitness in fallacies in everyday language use. It is stressed that identifying and acknowledging fallacies in ordinary discussions always has a conditional character. Differences between the pragma-dialectical perspective, the Standard Treatment, and the formal logic approach to fallacy analysis are discussed.

Key words

argument argumentation critical discussion fallacies pragma-dialectical perspective speech acts 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barth, E. M. and E. C. W. Krabbe: 1982, From Axiom to Dialogue. A Philosophical Study of Logic and Argumentation, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin.Google Scholar
  2. Barth, E. M. and J. L. Martens: 1977, ‘Argumentum ad Hominem: From Chaos to Formal Dialectic. The Method of Dialogue-Tableaus as a Tool in the Theory of Fallacy’, Logique etAnalyse, Nouvelle Série. Vol. 20, No. 77–78, pp. 76–96.Google Scholar
  3. Crawshay-Williams, R.: 1957, Methods and Criteria of Reasoning. An Inquiry into the Structure of Controversy, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  4. Eemeren, Frans H. van: 1986a, ‘Dialectical Analysis as a Normative Reconstruction of Argumentative Discourse’, Text, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 1–16.Google Scholar
  5. Eemeren, Frans H. van: 1986b, ‘For Reason's Sake: Maximal Argumentative Analysis of Discourse’, in Frans H. van Eemeren, Rob Grootendorst, J. Anthony Blair, and Charles A. Willard (eds.), Argumentation: Across the Lines of Discipline. Papers contributed to the First International Conference on Argumentation of the University of Amsterdam, June 3–6, 1986. Foris Publications, Dordrecht/Providence, PDA 3.Google Scholar
  6. Eemeren, Frans H. van and Rob Grootendorst: 1984, Speech Acts in Argumentative Discussions. A Theoretical Model for the Analysis of Discussion Directed towards Solving Conflicts of Opinion, Foris Publications, Dordrecht/Cinnaminson, PDA 1.Google Scholar
  7. Eemeren, Frans H. van and Rob Grootendorst: 1987, Argumentation, Communication and Fallacies. Pragma-Linguistic Argumentation Analysis in Dialectical Perspective, to be published.Google Scholar
  8. Eemeren, F. H. van, R. Grootendorst and T. Kruiger: 1987, Handbook of Argumentation Theory. A Critical Survey of Classical Backgrounds and Modern Studies, Foris Publications, Dordrecht/Providence, PDA 7.Google Scholar
  9. Eemeren, Frans H. van and Tjark Kruiger: 1986, ‘Identifying Argumentation Schemes”, in Blair et al. (eds.), Argumentation: Perspectives and Approaches, Foris Publications, Dordrecht/Providence, PDA 3A.Google Scholar
  10. Grice, H. P.: 1975, ‘Logic and Conversation’, in P. Cole and J. L. Morgan (eds.), Syntax and Semantics 3: Speech Acts, Academic Press, New York, pp. 43–58.Google Scholar
  11. Grootendorst, Rob: 1986, ‘Some Fallacies about Fallacies’, in van Eemeren et al. (eds.), Argumentation: Across the Lines of Discipline, Foris Publications, Dordrecht/Providence, PDA 3.Google Scholar
  12. Hamblin, C. L.: 1970, Fallacies, Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  13. Jacobs, Scott and Sally Jackson: 1982, ‘Conversational Argument: A Discourse Analytic Approach’, in J. Robert Cox and Charles A. Willard (eds.), Advances in Argumentation Theory and Practice, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale/Edwardsville, pp. 205–237.Google Scholar
  14. Jacobs, Scott and Sally Jackson: 1983, ‘Speech Act Structure in Conversation. Rational Aspects of Pragmatic Coherence’, in Robert T. Craig and Karen Tracy (eds.), Conversational Coherence: Form, Structure, and Strategy. Sage, Beverly Hills, pp. 47–66.Google Scholar
  15. Naess, Arne: 1966, Communication and Argument. Elements of Applied Semantics, George Allen & Unwin, London, trans. of: En del elementaere logiske emner.Google Scholar
  16. Searle, J. R.: 1970, Speech Acts. An Essay in the Philosophy of Language, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1st ed. 1969).Google Scholar
  17. Walton, Douglas N.: 1984, Logical Dialogue-Games and Fallacies. University Press of America, Lanham.Google Scholar
  18. Walton, Douglas N.: 1985, Arguer's Position. A Pragmatic Study of Ad Hominem Attack, Criticism, Refutation, and Fallacy, Greenwood Press, Westport. Contributions in Philosophy, Number 26.Google Scholar
  19. Woods, John and Douglas Walton: 1982, Argument: The Logic of the Fallacies, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Toronto.Google Scholar
  20. Woods, John and Douglas Walton: 1987, Fallacies: Selected Papers 1972–1982, Foris Publications, Dordrecht/Providence, PDA 5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frans H. Van Eemeren
    • 1
  • Rob Grootendorst
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituut voor NeerlandistiekUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations