How to respond to a fallacy?


  • Diego Castro Universidad Andrés Bello


Palabras clave:

fallacies, disagreement, counter-fallacies, meta-dialogues, strategic manoeuvring, adversariality, heuristics


This paper aims at resolving the following question: how should a reasonable arguer respond to a fallacy? To answer it, I take a dialectical approach to fallacies and consider their dialectical and rhetorical effects. Then, I review the current literature on the proper answer to fallacies to conclude that, under certain circumstances, all the answers provided in the literature can be helpful for the parties. Later, I attempt at providing some heuristic guidance to understand which response to a fallacy is better under which circumstance. To do that, I introduce two criteria for evaluating dialogues: the level of adversariality and the relevance of the epistemic goal. I will conclude by saying that these criteria can help us understand which is the adequate response to fallacies and could also be important for addressing other problems in argumentation theory.