Charity and the Reiteration Problem for Enthymemes

Dale Jacquette


Any enthymeme can be made logically valid by adding as a suppressed premise a conditional that reiterates the argument's stated content and inferential structure in if-then form, We cannot blanketly prohibit reiteration to avoid this sort of trivialization, because some enthymemes legitimately require completion by reiterative conditionals, The solution proposed here is to allow reiterative expansions, but to rank them, other things being equal, as less charitable than nonreiterative expansions. Reiterative expansions can then be chosen as the most charitable only when all nonreiterative expansions have been eliminated for independent reasons. This pluralistic model encourages experimentation with a number of different permissible expansions in evaluating enthymemes, from the least controversial or problematic to the most trivializing and the least charitable.


charity, principle of charity, charity rankings, enthymeme, sound argument, (conditional)reiteration, reiteration problem(for enthymemes), valid inference

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ISSN: 0824-2577