Common Knowledge in Argumentation

Douglas Walton, Fabrizio Macagno

Abstract


We argue that common knowledge, of the kind used in reasoning in law and computing is best analyzed using a dialogue model of argumentation (Walton & Krabbe 1995). In this model, implicit premises resting on common knowledge are analyzed as endoxa or widely accepted opinions and generalizations (Tardini 2005). We argue that, in this sense, common knowledge is not really knowledge and/ or belief of the epistemic kind studied in current epistemology. This paper takes a different approach, defining it in relation to a common commitment store of two participants in a rule-governed dialogue in which two parties engage in rational argumentation (Jackson & Jacobs 1980; van Eemeren & Grootendorst 2004). A theme of the paper is how arguments containing common knowledge premises can be studied with the help of argumentation schemes for arguments from generally accepted opinion and expert opinion. It is argued that common knowledge is a species of provisional acceptance of a premise that is not in dispute at a given point in a dialogue, but may later be defeated as the discussion proceeds.


Keywords


enthymemes; defeasible reasoning; generalizations; evidence; generally accepted opinions; legal argumentation; metadialogues

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) SComS



Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896