Rhetoric in a dialectical framework: Fallacies as derailments of strategic manoeuvring

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The fallacies are one of the most significant research topics in the study of argumentation. After Hamblin (1970) revealed the inadequacy of the dominant Logical Standard Treatment of the fallacies, several kinds of alternative treatments have been developed. The “pragma-dialectical” alternative developed by van Eemeren and Grootendorst (1984, 1992, 2004) involves replacing the logical standard definition of fallacies as “arguments that seem valid but are not valid” by a broader communicative definition of fallacies as pragmatic argumentative moves that are “violations of dialectical rules for critical discussion”. To account for the deceptive role the fallacies may have, van Eemeren and Houtlosser (2002) have taken this approach a crucial step further by bringing in the notion of “strategic manoeuvring”: the systematic combination in argumentative discourse of the pursuit of dialectical and rhetorical. Fallacies can be analysed as derailments of legitimate ways of strategic manoeuvring that can only be identified in contextualized argumentative discourse.


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