What a Real Argument Is

Ben Hamby


: In “What is a ‘Real’ Argument?” Geoff Goddu (2009) suggests and rejects four candidates for what a real argument is, concluding that argumentation theorists should abandon the idea that there is a theoretically significant sub-class of arguments that should be called real. In this paper, I argue against Goddu’s conclusion, finding that real arguments are arguments that are used or that have prospective use in the practice of thinking about matters that call for reasonable and reflective judgment concerning what to believe or do. What makes these arguments theoretically distinct from arguments in general is that they are used or that they may be used in the pragmatic endeavor of attempting to establish good reasons for beliefs and actions. Real arguments are therefore the arguments that should be treated in a course that aims to improve the skills of argumentation that students might use outside of the classroom in real-life.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22329/il.v32i3.3531

ISSN: 0824-2577