Tuesday, May 14, 2013

[PL 211] I am not convinced

According to the Pragmatic Approach, arguments are to be characterized according to their function. For example:
A collection of propositions is an argument if and only if there is a reasoner R who puts forward some of them (the premises) as reasons in support of one of them (the conclusion) in order to rationally persuade an audience of the truth of the conclusion.
Now, if the function of arguments is to rationally persuade an audience, what happens when they fail to rationally persuade an audience? Are they still arguments? And what if there is no audience? What if I jot down my own reasoning for a conclusion in order to see if my reasoning is valid. Is that an argument?

Many textbook examples of arguments are not intended to rationally persuade the readers of the textbook that the conclusion is true. For example:

The purpose of this argument is illustration, not rational persuasion. So, according to the Pragmatic Approach, is it an argument?

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