Aggression, Politeness, and Abstract Adversaries

Catherine Hundleby


Trudy Govier argues in The Philosophy of Argument that adversariality in argumentation can be kept to a necessary minimum. On her ac-count, politeness can limit the ancillary adversariality of hostile culture but a degree of logical opposition will remain part of argumentation, and perhaps all reasoning. Argumentation cannot be purified by politeness in the way she hopes, nor does reasoning even in the discursive context of argumentation demand opposition. Such hopes assume an idealized politeness free from gender, and reasoners with inhuman or at least highly privileged capabilities and no need to learn from others or share understanding.

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ISSN: 0824-2577