On the Theoretical Unification and Nature of Fallacies

Abstract

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.

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Ikuenobe, P. On the Theoretical Unification and Nature of Fallacies. Argumentation 18, 189–211 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:ARGU.0000024021.99800.90

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