3 thoughts on “On Dialectical Fallacies”

  1. I love this:

    “This public feature of argument is significant in many respects. It most obviously is the site for new forms of argument failure, and dialectical fallacies are those attractive and prevalent failures of reasoning that are occasioned by the public setting of an argument.”

    Question: is it the case that some fallacies are not dialectical?

  2. Hey John,
    You’re right that this does risk making ‘dialectical’ just mean ‘part of public argument’. Here’s what we were trying to say: there are some features of argument that their publicity makes them prime for specific kinds of fallacy, specifically dialectical fallacy forms. In this respect, it’s a shame we used the term ‘dialectical’, as we should have used ‘polylectical’, as the abuses are usually between not just two parties but three andmore.

    Consider that straw manning is easier when the target of the straw man isn’t present. You take up with the constructed (dialectical) opponent for the onlooking audience, who then assesses arguments. The speaker argumentatively interacts with one (constructed) interlocutor, but for the sake of making an argument for another. (We make a version of this point with hollow manning, for sure).

    But your point still stands – this abuse can happen not only with the classic notion of dialectical forms, but also with the standard semantic fallacy forms, too. This might be a leveling feature of having gone totally pragmatic on the matter.

  3. polylectical is brilliant, I think. However, I wonder whether you’ve identified loci where these forms are particularly effective, rather than identifying essential features of the forms themselves. So we have an empirical issue, rather than a conceptual

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