Where do the rules of critical discussion get their normative force? What kinds of norms are involved? Unreasonable behaviour in the critical discussion - e.g., continuing to assert the contradictory of a proven standpoint, performing some action pragmatically inconsistent with a proven standpoint, or the same with regard to the starting-points agreed to in the opening stage - is liable to moral sanction. Thus, a moral/ethical norm is involved and the rules must have a moral force. Pragma-dialectics as it stands does not seem to account for this moral force. I will attempt to fill this gap in pragma-dialectical theory.
We often say things like “Even though X, Y” or “In spite of Y, X”. What do we mean when we say things like this? What does it imply about the reasons involved? I will argue that there are at least some cases, namely when they are used in the conclusions of conductive arguments, where it should be seen as modifying our expression of X and indicating a certain kind of affect towards X, and this is characteristic of (the most interesting class of) conductive arguments. Showing that there are such uses thus shows that there are conductive arguments, or at least arguments with this characteristic feature, and, conversely, it will be shown that it is by taking the reasoning to be conductive that we can best make sense of these uses. I do not intend a comprehensive survey of all possible uses of “even though” or of all accounts of conductive arguments that have been given.
Does a high degree of confirmation make an inductive argument valid? I will argue that it depends on the kind of question to which the argument is meant to be providing an answer. We should distinguish inductive generalization from inductive extrapolation even in cases where they might appear to have the same answer, and also from confirmation of a hypothesis.
In this paper I will consider several interpretations of the fallacy of secundum quid as it is given by Aristotle in the Sophistical Refutations and argue that they do not work, one reason for which is that they all imply that the fallacy depends on language and thus fail to explain why Aristotle lists this fallacy among the fallacies not depending on language (extra dictione), amounting often to a claim that Aristotle miscategorises this fallacy. I will argue for a reading that preserves Aristotle’s categorization by a quite different account of how qualifications function.
Can a collective be an agent in its own right? Can it be the bearer of moral and other properties that we have traditionally reserved for individual agents? The answer, as one might expect, is ‘In some ways yes, in other ways no.’ The way in which the answer is ‘Yes’ has been described recently by Copp; I intend to discuss his position and defend it against objections. This describes a fairly weak form of autonomy that I will claim does not require the abandonment of methodological individualism or our commonplace intuitions about individual responsibility. I will also discuss, and reject, a stronger conception of autonomy suggested especially by the work of Pettit that would result in methodological individualism.