What are the Constraints That can be Imposed on Arguments Addressed to an Ideal Audience?

  • George C. Christie
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 45)


In the previous chapter we discussed the inevitability of human appeals to an ideal or universal audience and, more importantly, how recognizing the existence of these appeals can help solve certain important philosophical and legal puzzles. Our inquiry into the notion of an ideal audience in legal argumentation will require us to examine a host of other questions. These include: What is the nature of such an ideal audience, particularly in a legal context? Is the ideal audience different in different legal systems and, if so, what are some of the factors that account for this difference? Before beginning to answer these questions, which will be discussed in future chapters, it will be useful to consider an important preliminary question: Can any constraints be imposed on the type of arguments that can be addressed to an ideal or universal audience or on the ability of some members of a society to address this audience? The constraints that some have suggested are not merely philosophical or theoretical but rather constraints that are to be imposed by serious social and sometimes even legal pressure.


Public Debate Political Debate Basic Belief Public Reason Political Liberalism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • George C. Christie
    • 1
  1. 1.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA

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