, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 189–211 | Cite as

On the Theoretical Unification and Nature of Fallacies

  • Polycarp Ikuenobe


I argue in a non-reductive sense for a plausible epistemic principle, which can (1) theoretically and instrumentally unify or systematize all fallacies, and (2) provide a justification for using such a principle for characterizing an erroneous argument as a fallacy. This plausible epistemic principle involves the idea of an error in the method of justification, which results in a failure to provide relevant evidence to satisfy certain standards of adequate proof. Thus, all fallacies are systematically disguised failures to provide substantive proof: a failure in the attempt to persuade rationally, as opposed to emotionally or rhetorically. I argue that the epistemic idea of begging the question is essential to this idea of a fallacy as an inadequate proof.

adequate proof argument begging the question circularity epistemic principle erroneous argument fallacies justification rational persuasion theoretical unification 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Polycarp Ikuenobe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyKent State UniversityKentU.S.A.

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