Enthymemes, argumentation schemes and topics

Douglas Walton, Fabrizio Macagno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper argues for a reinterpretation of Aristotle's concept of an enthymeme and also his wider informal logic in terms of arguments that are defeasible. They are represented by forms of argument that are called argumentation schemes, considered to be similar to forms of argument found in deductive logic, but different from the foregoing in virtue of their being defeasible. Indeed, the most interesting schemes have been put forward as a helpful way of characterizing structures of human reasoning that have proved troublesome to model deductively. The paper sheds new light on Aristotle's topics and how to define 'enthymeme'. If the traditional definition of an enthymeme in logic accepted for over two thousand years is a misnomer, the question is raised whether we ought to redefine it as a defeasible argumentations scheme or leave things as they are.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalLogique et Analyse
Issue number205
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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