, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 359–366 | Cite as

Thick, Thin, and Becoming a Virtuous Arguer

  • Juli K. Thorson


A virtue account is focused on the character of those who argue. It is frequently assumed, however, that virtues are not action guiding, since they describe how to be and so fail to give us specific actions to take in a sticky situation. In terms of argumentation, we might say that being a charitable arguer is virtuous, but knowing so provides no details about how to argue successfully. To close this gap, I develop a parallel with the thick-thin distinction from ethics and use Hursthouse’s notion of “v-rules”. I also draw heavily from the work in argumentation by Daniel Cohen to develop Wayne Brockriede’s notion of arguing lovingly. But “argue lovingly” has a delicious ambiguity. For Brockriede it describes how we engage with others arguers. It can also mean, however, a loving attachment to knowledge, understanding, and truth. Applying the thick-thin distinction to argumentation in general and loving argumentation in particular shows that a virtue theoretic approach to argumentation is valuable for two reasons: it can provide one articulation of what it means to be a virtuous arguer and provide some insights into how to become one.


Virtuous argumentation Virtuous community Thick-thin V-rules Articulacy Deliberative groups Argue lovingly Hursthouse Annas Brockriede 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ball State UniversityMuncieUSA

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