Advertisement

Argumentation

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 591–613 | Cite as

Argumentation Theory Without Presumptions

  • Marcin LewińskiEmail author
Article

Abstract

In their extensive overview of various concepts of presumption Godden and Walton recognise “the heterogeneous picture of presumptions that exists in argumentation theory today” (Godden and Walton in Pragmat Cogn 15:333, 2007). I argue that this heterogeneity results from an epiphenomenal character of the notion of presumption. To this end, I first distinguish between three main classes of presumptions. Framework presumptions define the basic conditions of linguistic understanding and meaningful conversation. The “presumption of veracity” (Kauffeld) is their paradigm case. I argue that such presumptions are satisfactorily covered by the Principle of Charity (Davidson, Quine), or else Gricean maxims or satisfaction conditions for speech acts (Austin, Searle). Formal presumptions are general presumptive rules of argument, theorised as topoi or acceptable inference warrants, including institutional warrants (“If not proven guilty, then innocent”). Material presumptions are acceptable outcomes of nested or outsourced arguments, which entitles arguers to use them as acceptable premises or opinions (endoxa) in further arguments without the typical burden of proof. If this is correct, then the study of presumption always collapses into the study of other, likely more fundamental, concepts. Does it render presumptions, by Occam’s Razor, altogether redundant in argumentation theory? I tentatively answer this question from a consistently conversational perspective on argumentation; I argue that the pragmatic grounds for presumptions are to be found in the conditions for speech act performance in the institutional social world, as developed by Searle.

Keywords

Acceptable premises Argumentation Burden of proof Conversation Endoxa Presumption Principle of Charity Searle Speech acts Topoi 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Earlier versions of this paper were presented: At the “Conference on Presumptions, Presumptive Inferences and Burden of Proof”, Department of Philosophy, University of Granada, 26-28 April 2016; I would like to thank Lilian Bermejo-Luque and Cristina Corredor; at the John Searle Center for Social Ontology, University of California, Berkeley, 7 September 2016, where I am particularly indebted to John Searle and Jennifer Hudin; at the “Winter Symposium Norms and Knowledge – Epistemological Concerns of Social Ontology”, Department of Philosophy, University of Leipzig, 1-2 December 2016, where my special thanks go to Beatrice Kobow. The paper has benefitted immensely from discussions with those mentioned above, as well as all other participants to these events. Presumably, it is better now. This work has been supported by a grant of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT): PTDC/MHC-FIL/0521/2014.

References

  1. Allen, R.J. 1981. Presumptions in civil actions reconsidered. Iowa Law Review 66: 843–867.Google Scholar
  2. Aristotle, 1997. Topics. Books I and VIII (trans., intr., and notes by R. Smith). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bermejo-Luque, L. 2016. Being a correct presumption vs being presumably the case. Informal Logic 36 (1): 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bickenbach, J.E. 1990. The “Artificial Reason” of the law. Informal Logic 12: 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Davidson, D. 1973. Radical interpretation. Dialectica 27 (3–4): 313–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davidson, D. 1974. On the very idea of a conceptual scheme. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 47: 5–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davidson, D. 1994. Radical interpretation interpreted. Philosophical Perspectives Logic and Language 8: 121–128. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dennett, D.C. 1971. Intentional systems. The Journal of Philosophy 68 (4): 87–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Van Eemeren, F.H., and P. Houtlosser. 2003. A pragmatic view of the burden of proof. In Anyone who has a view: Theoretical contributions to the study of argumentation, ed. F.H. van Eemeren, J.A. Blair, C.A. Willard, and A.F. Snoeck Henkemans, 123–132. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fenner, G.M. 1992. Presumptions: 350 years of confusion and it has come to this. Creighton Law Review 25: 383–422.Google Scholar
  11. Fine, A. 1993. Fictionalism. Midwest Studies in Philosophy XVIII: 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frankfurt, H.G. 2005. On bullshit. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Freeman, J.B. 2005. Acceptable premises: An epistemic approach to an informal logic problem. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Fried, A. 1997. McCarthyism, the great American Red Scare: A documentary history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Fuller, L. L. 1967. Legal fictions. Stanford: Stanford University Press. [Originally published as three articles in the Illinois Law Review, XXV (1930–1931)].Google Scholar
  16. Godden, D. forth. Presumption as a modal qualifier: Presumption, inference, and managing epistemic risk, Argumentation.Google Scholar
  17. Godden, D., and D. Walton. 2007. A theory of presumption for everyday argumentation. Pragmatics and Cognition 15 (2): 313–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grice, H.P. 1975. Logic and conversation. In Syntax and semantics, vol. 3, ed. P. Cole, and J.L. Morgan, 41–58., Speech acts New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  19. Grice, H.P. 1989. Studies in the way of words. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hansen, H. V. 2003. Theories of presumptions and burdens of proof. In Informal Logic at 25: Proceedings of the Windsor conference, eds. J.A. Blair et al. Windsor, ON: Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA).Google Scholar
  21. Jackson, S. 1995. Fallacies and heuristics. In Analysis and Evaluation. Proceedings of the Third ISSA Conference on Argumentation, eds. F.H. van Eemeren, R. Grootendorst, J.A. Blair and C.A. Willard, 257–269. Vol. II. Amsterdam: Sic Sat.Google Scholar
  22. Jackson, S., and S. Jacobs. 1980. Structure of conversational argument: Pragmatic bases for the enthymeme. Quarterly Journal of Speech 66 (3): 251–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jacobs, S. 1989. Speech acts and arguments. Argumentation 3 (4): 345–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Levinson, S. 1983. Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Lewiński, M. 2012. The paradox of charity. Informal Logic 32 (4): 403–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lewiński, M., and D. Mohammed. 2016. Argumentation theory. In International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy, eds. K.B. Jensen, R. Craig, J. Pooley, and E. Rothenbuhler, 1–15. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  27. Kauffeld, F.J. 1998. Presumptions and the distribution of argumentative burdens in acts of proposing and accusing. Argumentation 12 (2): 245–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kauffeld, F. J. 2003. The ordinary practice of presuming and presumption with special attention to veracity and the burden of proof. In Anyone who has a view: Theoretical contributions to the study of argumentation, eds. F.H. van Eemeren, J.A. Blair, C.A. Willard and A.F. Snoeck Henkemans, 133–146. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  29. Kauffeld, F.J. 2009. Presuming and Presumption in Everyday Argumentation: A response to Godden and Walton. In Argument Cultures: Proceedings of OSSA 09, CD-ROM, ed. J. Ritola, 1–13. Windsor: OSSA.Google Scholar
  30. Kauffeld, F. J. 2013. The epistemic relevance of social considerations in ordinary day-to-day presumptions. In Virtues of Argumentation. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA) 22-26 May 2013, eds. D. Mohammed and M. Lewiński, 1–11. Windsor, ON: OSSA.Google Scholar
  31. Krabbe, E.C.W. 2007. On how to get beyond the opening stage. Argumentation 21: 233–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Plumer, G. 2016. Presumptions, assumptions, and presuppositions of ordinary arguments. Argumentation. doi:  10.1007/s10503-016-9419-1.
  33. Quine, W.V.O. 1960. Word and object. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  34. Rescher, N. 2006. Presumption and the practices of tentative cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rigotti, E., and S. Greco Morasso. 2010. Comparing the Argumentum Model of Topics to other contemporary approaches to argument schemes: The procedural and material components. Argumentation 24 (4): 489–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Searle, J.R. 1969. Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Searle, J.R. 1975. A taxonomy of illocutionary acts. In Language, mind, and knowledge, vol. 7, ed. K. Günderson, 344–369. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  38. Searle, J.R. 1983. Intentionality: An essay in the philosophy of mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Searle, J.R. 1992. Conversation. In (On) Searle on conversation, ed. J.R. Searle, et al., 7–29. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Searle, J.R. 1995. The construction of social reality. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  41. Searle, J.R. 2010. Making the social world: The structure of human civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stalnaker, R. 1974. Pragmatic presuppositions. In Semantics and philosophy, ed. M. Munitz, and P. Under, 197–213. New York: NYU Press.Google Scholar
  43. Stalnaker, R. 2002. Common ground. Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (5–6): 701–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Statutory Solutions of the Problem of Survival in a Common Disaster. 1936. Harvard Law Review 50 (2): 344–349.Google Scholar
  45. Toulmin, S. 1958. The uses of argument (2nd edition 2003). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Ullmann-Margalit, E. 1983. On presumptions. The Journal of Philosophy 80 (3): 143–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Walton, D. 2002. Are some modus ponens arguments deductively invalid? Informal Logic 22 (1): 19–46.Google Scholar
  48. Walton, D. 2014. Burden of proof, presumption and argumentation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Walton, D., C. Reed, and F. Macagno. 2008. Argumentation schemes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ArgLab, Nova Institute of Philosophy, FCSHUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal

Personalised recommendations