Dichotomies and Oppositions in Legal Argumentation



    1. Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
      Dipartimento di Linguistica
      Via Necchi 9
      20123 Milan
      E-mail: fabriziomacagno@hotmail.com
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      Fabrizio Macagno would like to thank the international law firm Martinez & Novebaci for providing materials and consultancy that proved to be extremely helpful for the research in this paper. Douglas Walton would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for a research grant that supported our collaborative work.


    1. University of Windsor
      Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric (CRRAR)
      Windsor, Ontario N9B3P4
      E-mail: dwalton@uwindsor.ca
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In this paper we use a series of examples to show how oppositions and dichotomies are fundamental in legal argumentation, and vitally important to be aware of, because of their twofold nature. On the one hand, they are argument structures underlying various kinds of rational argumentation commonly used in law as a means of getting to the truth in a conflict of opinion under critical discussion by two opposing sides before a tryer of fact. On the other hand, they are argument structures underling moves made in strategic advocacy by both sides that function as platforms for different kinds of questionable argumentation tactics and moves that are in some instances tricky and deceptive.