A Dialectical Analysis of the Ad Baculum Fallacy

Douglas Walton


This paper applies dialectical argumentation structures to the problem of analyzing the ad baculum fallacy. It is shown how it is necessary in order to evaluate a suspected instance of the this fallacy to proceed through three levels of analysis: (1) an inferential level, represented by an argument diagram, (2) a speech act level, where conditions for specific types of speech acts are defined and applied, and (3) a dialectical level where the first two levels are linked together and fitted into formal dialogue structures. The paper adds a new type of dialogue called advising dialogue that needs to be applied at the third level.


argument from threat, argument from consequences, advice-giving dialogue, dialectical tier, pretending to advise, informal fallacies, types of dialogue, argumentations schemes.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22329/il.v34i3.4109

ISSN: 0824-2577