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Education's EpistemologyRationality, Diversity, and Critical Thinking$
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Harvey Siegel

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190682675

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190682675.001.0001

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Argument Quality and Cultural Difference

Argument Quality and Cultural Difference

(p.218) 14 Argument Quality and Cultural Difference
Education's Epistemology

Harvey Siegel

Oxford University Press

Central to argumentation theory is a concern with normativity. Argumentation theorists are concerned, among other things, with explaining why some arguments are good in the sense that a given argument provides reasons for embracing its conclusion. This conception of argument quality presupposes that the goodness of arguments is characterizable in terms of features of “the argument itself.” Recent work by a wide range of philosophers and theorists rejects such an abstract, impersonal notion of argument goodness. These theorists insist upon taking seriously the features of the evaluators themselves, and emphasize the importance of cultural difference in argument appraisal. In this paper I argue that while there is much merit in the general multiculturalist perspective, the multiculturalist argument against impersonal conceptions of argument quality fails, mainly because it presupposes just the kind of impersonal account of argument quality it seeks to reject. I call this presupposition that of transcultural normative reach.

Keywords:   argument quality, cultural difference, epistemology, normativity, particularity, relativism, rhetoric, transcultural normative reach, transcendence, universality

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