, 22:521 | Cite as

Modus Tonens

  • Scott F. Aikin
  • Robert B. TalisseEmail author


Restating an interlocutor’s position in an incredulous tone of voice can sometimes serve legitimate dialectical ends. However, there are cases in which incredulous restatement is out of bounds. This article provides an analysis of one common instance of the inappropriate use of incredulous restatement, which the authors call “modus tonens.” The authors argue that modus tonens is vicious because it pragmatically implicates the view that one’s interlocutor is one’s cognitive subordinate and provides a cue to like-minded onlookers that dialectical opponents are not to be treated as epistemic peers.


Argumentation Rhetoric Modus tonens Tone of voice 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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