After the difference between argument and explanation



Published 24-04-2023
José Ángel Gascón


Arguments and explanations are two kinds of speech that have not always been properly distinguished. Currently, emphasis has been placed, both in the pedagogy of science and in argumentation studies, on the necessity of differentiating them in order to properly grasp the nature of explanations and arguments. Demarcation criteria between both of them have been most explicitly proposed in argumentation theory. However, here I will argue that the criteria that are typically used in argumentation theory to distinguish between an argument and an explanation (which I call the “standard distinction”) suffer from several problems. On the one hand, in certain relevant cases the criteria provide no guidance or yield questionable results. On the other hand, the criteria of distinction have been limited to the domain of theoretical argumentation, ignoring the peculiarities of the practical domain.

How to Cite

Gascón, J. Ángel. (2023). After the difference between argument and explanation. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 38(1), 87–105.
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argument, argumentation theory, epistemic reasons, explanation, informal logic, reasons for action