Confrontation and Ridicule

Jan Albert van Laar


Ridicule can be used in order to create concurrence as well as to en-hance antagonism. This paper deals with ridicule that is used by a critic when he is responding to a standpoint or to a reason advanced in support of a standpoint. Ridicule profits from humor’s good repu-tation, and correctly so, even when it is used in argumentative contexts. However, ridicule can be harmful to a discussion. This paper will deal with ridicule from the perspective of strategic maneuvering between the individual rhetorical objec-tive of effecting persuasion and the shared dialectical objective of resolving the dispute on its merits. In what ways can ridicule be used in strategic maneuvering and under what conditions are these uses dialectically sound?


argumentative functions of ridicule, critical discussion, dialectical objective, rhetorical objective, ridicule, soundness conditions, strategic maneuvering

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ISSN: 0824-2577