, Volume 179, Issue 3, pp 377–407 | Cite as

Defeasible reasoning and informal fallacies

  • Douglas WaltonEmail author


This paper argues that some traditional fallacies should be considered as reasonable arguments when used as part of a properly conducted dialog. It is shown that argumentation schemes, formal dialog models, and profiles of dialog are useful tools for studying properties of defeasible reasoning and fallacies. It is explained how defeasible reasoning of the most common sort can deteriorate into fallacious argumentation in some instances. Conditions are formulated that can be used as normative tools to judge whether a given defeasible argument is fallacious or not. It is shown that three leading violations of proper dialog standards for defeasible reasoning necessary to see how fallacies work are: (a) improper failure to retract a commitment, (b) failure of openness to defeat, and (c) illicit reversal of burden of proof.


Fallacy theory Argumentation Argumentation schemes Formal dialog systems Burden of proof Evidence Profiles of dialog Artificial intelligence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WindsorWindsorCanada

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