, Volume 152, Issue 2, pp 237–284

Epistemic and Dialectical Models of Begging the Question



This paper addresses the problem posed by the current split between the two opposed hypotheses in the growing literature on the fallacy of begging the question the epistemic hypothesis, based on knowledge and belief, and the dialectical one, based on formal dialogue systems. In the first section, the nature of split is explained, and it is shown how each hypothesis has developed. To get the beginning reader up to speed in the literature, a number of key problematic examples are analyzed illustrating how both approaches can be applied. Useful tools are brought to bear on them, including the automated argument diagramming system Araucaria, and profiles of dialogue used to represent circular argumentation in a dialogue tableau format. These tools are used to both to model circular reasoning and to provide the contextual evidence needed to properly determine whether the circular reasoning in a given case is better judged fallacious or not. A number of technical problems that have impeded the development of both hypotheses are studied. One central problem is the distinction between argument and explanation. It is concluded that the best way to move forward and solve these problems is to reformulate the two hypotheses in such a way that they might be able to co-exist. On this basis, a unified methodology is proposed that allows each hypothesis to move forward as a legitimate avenue for research using the same tools.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WinnipegWinnipegCanada

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