Denying the Antecedent: The Fallacy That Never Was, or Sometimes Isn’t?

Luis Duarte d’Almeida, Euan MacDonald


Abstract: In this paper we examine two challenges to the orthodox understanding of the fallacy of denying the antecedent. One challenge is to say that passages thought to express the fallacy can usually be given an interpretation on which they express valid arguments, entitling us to query whether the fallacy is commonly, if ever, committed at all. We discuss this claim in Section 1. The second challenge comes from those who think that there are legitimate uses of denying the antecedent that have traditionally been overlooked. In Section 2 we propose a general test for claims of this sort, and assess three versions of this view.


affirming the consequent, argument reconstruction, charity, denying the antecedent, fallacies

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ISSN: 0824-2577