Topoi

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 345–357 | Cite as

On the Priority of Agent-Based Argumentative Norms

Article

Abstract

This paper argues against the priority of pure, virtue-based accounts of argumentative norms [VA]. Such accounts are agent-based and committed to the priority thesis: good arguments and arguing well are explained in terms of some prior notion of the virtuous arguer arguing virtuously. Two problems with the priority thesis are identified. First, the definitional problem: virtuous arguers arguing virtuously are neither sufficient nor necessary for good arguments. Second, the priority problem: the goodness of arguments is not explained virtuistically. Instead, being excellences, virtues are instrumental in relation to other, non-aretaic goods—in this case, reason and rationality. Virtues neither constitute reasons nor explain their goodness. Two options remain for VA: either provide some account of reason and rationality in virtuistic terms, or accept them as given but non-aretaic goods. The latter option, though more viable, demands the concession that VA cannot provide the core norms of argumentation theory.

Keywords

Argument norms Good argument Priority thesis Good reason Virtue argumentation Virtuous arguer 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

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