R. Yanal’s “Linked and Convergent Reasons – Again”


Intuitively, in some arguments the premises link together to form a single reason for the conclusion; in others the premises each constitute separate reasons which converge on the conclusion. Whether this intuitive difference indicates a real structural difference between linked and convergent arguments is a matter of significant debate amongst informal logicians. In Douglas Walton's comprehensive survey of possible candidates for the linked/convergent distinction, he concludes that Robert Yanal's proposed test (Yanal, 1991) for distinguishing linked and convergent arguments is the best (Walton, 1996). In more recent work (Yanal, 2003), Yanal concedes that his proposal violates numerous conditions that have been presumed to hold for the linked/convergent distinction, but he claims that all extant versions of the distinction face the same problems. Regardless of whether Yanal is correct, I shall argue, after briefly presenting and explicating his proposal, that whatever distinction his proposal is demarcating, it is not the linked/convergent distinction.

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Copyright © 2003, Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation. This article first appeared in Proceedings of the 5th OSSA Conference: Informal Logic at 25 (2003).

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