Spore Theory: A Contribution to the Study of the Biological Foundations of Natural Language—David Athletesfoot Son of Lingua Pranca Contents A New Basic Word Order: VOV—Arnold P. Fasnacht

A Taxonomy of Argument Schemata in Metatheoretical Discussion of Syntax
Name That Tune


At the Eighth Annual UWM Linguistics Symposium, the Conference on Current Approaches to Syntax (held March 15-17, 1979 at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), there was a special meta-presentation devoted to the nature of syntactic argumentation, or more properly to the types of metatheoretical argumentation involved in comparing theoretical approaches to syntax. In the interest of having a complete record of the conference, the Group for a Realistic Approach to Meta-Meta-Argumentation and Reasoning presents here a slightly revised version of the handout for the meta-presentation.
  1. Logical Arguments

    1. If A = ¬A then my position is true. Therefore, since A = ¬A, ...
    2. A: ¬p
      B: Since you agree that p, ...
    3. p is abzurd; therefore q

  2. Now You See It, Now...

    1. Your argument supports my position.
    2. I interpret what you said as agreeing with my position.
    3. Let me rephrase that so that it agrees with my position.
    4. I’m aware of these putative counterarguments, but...
    5. The question you have raised is a pseudo-question.
    6. That’s a position, but it doesn’t lead anywhere.
    7. I think this is true, but I’m not sure that it means anything.
    8. The burden of proof is on ______.

  3. The Reasoned Response

    1. I don’t see the argument.
    2. I don’t like your example.
    3. That’s not a problem in my theory.
    4. A: I’m interested in knowing X.
      B: That doesn’t hurt my argument... Next question.
    5. It’s my opinion, and it’s very true.
    6. I still say that...

  4. Papa Knows Best

    1. You say that, but you don’t believe it.
    2. You believe this, but you won’t say it.
    3. What you really believe is ______, and I agree with you.
    4. Our disagreement is merely semantic.
    5. Don’t be misled by the similarity between A and A. It’s merely a superficial identity.

  5. Audience Participation

    1. Let’s take a vote!

  6. The Preemption

    1. You’re right, but I said it first.
    2. What you say is wrong, and I said so first.
    3. Your position is a notational variant of my theory, but it’s wrong.

  7. Advancing to the Rear

    1. I knew that analysis was wrong before I proposed it.
    2. Of course my analysis is wrong in detail. All analyses are wrong in detail.
    3. Certainly more work should be done on that.

  8. The Putdown

    1. You can’t do it either!
    2. That’s true but uninteresting in the ______ sense.
    3. That’s trivial in the ______ sense.
    4. If you had read footnote 18, page 122 of my book...
    5. A reasonable approach to that problem would be...
    6. That proposal is only weakly equivalent to my 1963 proposal that...
    7. But you haven’t captured the generalization.

  9. Clarificatory Obfuscation

    1. It remains to work out the details of this, but the overall approach should be clear.
    2. I don’t command those facts, but to give you a counter-example...

  10. The Orthogonal Critique

    1. You haven’t addressed the problem I would have addressed if I were you.

  11. The Dedicated Martyr Retort

    1. You don’t appreciate what I’ve been saying.
    2. You’ll live to regret that statement.

  12. Proof by Intimidation

    1. There are various possible alternatives by which one could explain ______, but in fact none of them work.

  13. Magic of the Printed Word

    1. That will appear in the published version.
    2. That appeared in the written version.

  14. The Kojak Technique

    1. I love you, toobut you’re wrong, nevertheless.

  15. The Empirical Appeal to Language

    1. But it’s a fact about life in the ______ language that...
    2. There is a language...
    3. But in Booboo-Booboo...
    4. I wonder if that’s like the ______ construction in ______?
    5. So what if it’s not ______. How do you account for the facts of my dialect?

  16. The Principled Argument

    1. Too powerful! Too powerful!
    2. A: Shut up!
      B: No, you shut up!
      A: No, you shut up!

Spore Theory: A Contribution to the Study of the Biological Foundations of Natural Language—David Athletesfoot
A New Basic Word Order: VOV—Arnold P. Fasnacht
Son of Lingua Pranca Contents