Secundum Quid and the Pragmatics of Arguments: The Challenges of the Dialectical Tradition

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The phrase secundum quid et simpliciter is the Latin expression translating and labelling the sophism described by Aristotle as connected with the use of some particular expression “absolutely or in a certain respect and not in its proper sense.” This paper presents an overview of the analysis of this fallacy in the history of dialectics, reconstructing the different explanations provided in the Aristotelian texts, the Latin and medieval dialectical tradition, and the modern logical approaches. The secundum quid emerges as a strategy that is based on the pragmatic dimension of arguments, and in particular the complex passage from an utterance (what is said) to its logical form (a proposition in an argument). The medieval and modern logical theories attempted to explain from different philosophical perspectives how the pragmatically enriched semantic representation can be achieved, justified, and most importantly manipulated. The different analyses of this fallacy bring to light various dimensions of the pragmatics of arguments, and the complex interdependence between context, meaning, and inferences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • Argumentation
  • Dialectics
  • Explicatures
  • Interpretation
  • Logic
  • Manipulation
  • Pragmatics
  • Secundum quid


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