Practical reasoning in argumentative polylogues

Marcin Lewinski


In this paper I investigate the relationship between the argument scheme of practical reasoning and multi-party argumentation defined here as an argumentative polylogue. I first focus on the causal premise (Let us do X, because X leads to Y, and Y is desirable) by discussing the basic scheme of practical reasoning in philosophy (esp., Broome, 2002, 2013). Here, the causal premise is typically taken to signify X as either a necessary or a sufficient means to reach Y. I investigate a third option – a “conducive” means, which is neither necessary nor sufficient, but still worth taking. Second, I consider the notion of “the best means”, crucial in the case of sufficient and conducive means. Assuming that alternative means/options are advocated by different parties to argumentation (via the speech act of proposal), we end up with a multi-party deliberation where different contrary alternatives are debated. Further, I show how argumentative moves in such deliberation gain their relevance from addressing the premises of the complex scheme of practical reasoning elaborated in argumentation theory (esp., Fairclough & Fairclough, 2012). Multi-party deliberation can on the basis of this be understood as a special case of argumentative polylogue in which proposals for various contrary courses of action are critically examined. I conclude by discussing the basic elements of a model of argumentative polylogues.

Palabras clave

argumentation, deliberation, polylogue, practical reasoning

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