The linguistic formulation of fallacies matters: the case of causal connectives

Schumann, Jennifer; Zufferey, Sandrine; Oswald, Steve (2020). The linguistic formulation of fallacies matters: the case of causal connectives. Argumentation, pp. 1-28. Springer 10.1007/s10503-020-09540-0

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While the role of discourse connectives has long been acknowledged in argumentative frameworks, these approaches often take a coarse-grained approach to connectives, treating them as a unified group having similar effects on argumentation. Based on an empirical study of the straw man fallacy, we argue that a more fine-grained approach is needed to explain the role of each connective and illustrate their specificities. We first present an original corpus study detailing the main features of four causal connectives in French that speakers routinely use to attribute meaning to another speaker (puisque, étant donné que, vu que and comme), which is a key element of straw man fallacies. We then assess the influence of each of these connectives in a series of controlled experiments. Our results indicate each connective has different effects for the persuasiveness of straw man fallacies, and that these effects can be explained by differences in their semantic profile, as evidenced in our corpus study. Taken together, our results demonstrate that connectives are important for argumentation but should be analyzed individually, and that the study of fallacies should include a fine-grained analysis of the linguistic elements typically used in their formulation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature > Linguistic Studies
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature

Graduate School:

Graduate School of the Humanities (GSH)

UniBE Contributor:

Schumann, Jennifer and Zufferey, Sandrine

Subjects:

400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 440 French & related languages

ISSN:

0920-427X

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Jennifer Schumann

Date Deposited:

07 Oct 2020 06:44

Last Modified:

07 Oct 2020 06:53

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s10503-020-09540-0

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.146805

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/146805

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