Enthymemes: From reconstruction to understanding

Traditionally, an enthymeme is an incomplete argument, made so by the absence of one or more of its constituent statements. An enthymeme resolution strategy is a set of procedures for finding those missing elements, thus reconstructing the enthymemes and restoring its meaning. It is widely held that a condition on the adequacy of such procedures is that statements restored to an enthymeme produce an argument that is good in some given respect in relation to which the enthymeme itself is bad. In a previous paper (Paglieri, Woods 2011), we emphasized the role of parsimony in enthymeme resolution strategies and concomitantly downplayed the role of "charity". In the present paper, we take the analysis of enthymemes a step further. We will propose that if the pragmatic features that attend the phenomenon of enthymematic communication are duly heeded, the very idea of reconstructing enthymemes loses much of its rationale, and their interpretation comes to be conceived in a new light.

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Paglieri, Fabio [1]
Woods, John [2]
7th Conference on Argumentation of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation. Proceedings (ISSA 2010), pp. 1415–1427, Amsterdam, 29 June-02 July 2010
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Fabio Paglieri's picture
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