Title

On the Theoretical Unification and Nature of Fallacies

Publication Title

Argumentation

Publication Date

6-2004

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1023/B:ARGU.0000024021.99800.90.

Keywords

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

Disciplines

Philosophy

Abstract

I argue in a non-reductive sense for a plausible epistemic principle, which can (1) theoretically and instrumentally unify or systematize al 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.