Argument or Explanation: Who is to Decide?

Michel Dufour


Granting that arguments and explanations that answer a why-question are the products of two species of the activity of reason-giving, do they make an exclusive and exhaustive classification? The orthodox distinction between argument and explanation already faces some tough cases, which are discussed. This paper shows that most of the criteria used to distinguish argument and explanation on the basis of the status of their conclusions cause tough cases to proliferate unless a debatable decision is made. This suggests that the orthodox distinction should be improved.


Argument, explanation, reasons, evidential reasons, explanatory reasons, epistemic asymmetry

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ISSN: 0824-2577