The Formalization of Critical Discussion

Erik C. W. Krabbe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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This paper makes an independent start with formalizing the rules for the argumentation stage of critical discussions (van Eemeren and Grootendorst A systematic theory of argumentation: The pragma-dialectical approach, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004, Ch. 6). It does not deal with the well-known code of conduct consisting of ten rules (the "ten commandments") but with the system consisting of fifteen (or seventeen) rules on which the code of conduct is based. The rules of this system are scrutinized and problems they raise are discussed. Then a formal dialectical system is defined that reflects most of the contents of these rules. The aim is to elucidate the way the rules work and to show how a formal approach can be useful to achieve this. It is also shown how the present method can be used to study the nature of circular argumentation. While, generally, the formalization follows closely the original rules for the argumentation stage of critical discussions, there will also be proposed some modifications of the original protocol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-119
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Early online date25-Mar-2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2017
EventWorkshop Dialogue, Argumentation, and Knowledge - Université Lille 3 Charles de Gaulle, U.F.R. de Philosophie, Lille, France
Duration: 2-Mar-20122-Mar-2012


  • Argumentation stage
  • Conclusive attacks/defenses
  • Critical discussion
  • Formalization
  • Pragma-dialectics
  • Successful defenses

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