Núm. 22 (2021)

The Necessary Existence of Inference-Claims

David Botting
Publicado junio 28, 2021

Palabras clave:

inference-claims, Carroll's regress, infinite regresses
Cómo citar
Botting, D. (2021). The Necessary Existence of Inference-Claims. Revista Iberoamericana De Argumentación, (22), 41–72. https://doi.org/10.15366/ria2021.22.002


In (2018) Gilbert Plumer argues against the existence of inference-claims on the grounds that they lead to the kind of vicious infinite regress illustrated in Carroll’s famous Achilles and the Tortoise paper (Carroll 1895). In Plumer’s view, it is not simply that neither arguments nor arguers do make inference-claims, but that they can’t do so, on pain of this regress. In further unpublished work Plumer has generalized from this result: it is a mistake to include reference to standards of argument assessment within the content of the argument. Inference-claims (i.e., sufficiency-claims) do not exist, and neither do relevance-claims or acceptability-claims, and all for much the same reason.

I will argue that his arguments fail to show that inference-claims do not exist, because the regresses they lead to either are not vicious, not infinite, or can be avoided. Then I hope to show, on the grounds of what I call the ‘completeness’ of the argument, that inference-claims not only do exist but that they must exist. This is not to say that inference-claims are necessarily asserted in an act of arguing, but asserting them would not lead to the kind of harmful consequences Plumer supposes, any more than their mere existence would.


Los datos de descargas todavía no están disponibles.


Bermejo-Luque, L. (2011). Giving reasons: A linguistic-pragmatic approach to argumentation theory. In Argumentation library, vol. 20. Dordrecht: Springer.

Boghossian, Paul (2014). What is inference? Philosophical Studies 169(1), 1-18.

Botting, D. (2016a). Johnson and the soundness doctrine. Argumentation, 30(4), 501-525.

Botting, D. (2013). The irrelevance of relevance. Informal Logic, 33(1), 1-21.

Botting, D. (2016b). The logical evaluation of arguments. Argumentation, 30(2), 167-180.

Botting, D. (2017). The virtuous tortoise. Philosophical Investigations, 40(1), 31-39.

Carroll, L. (1895). What the tortoise said to Achilles. Mind, 4, 278-80.

Ennis, R. H. (1982). Identifying implicit assumptions. Synthese, 51, 61-86.

Grennan, W. (1994). Are “gap-fillers” missing premises? Informal Logic, 16, 185-196.

Groarke, L. & Groarke, L. (2002). Hilary Putnam on the end(s) of argument. Philosophica, 69, 41-60.

Hitchcock, D. (1998). Does the traditional treatment of enthymemes rest on a mistake? In Hitchcock, On Reasoning and Argument (Springer, 2017: 57-80)

Hitchcock, D. (2011). Inference claims. In Hitchcock, On Reasoning and Argument (Springer, 2017: 115-46)

McHugh, C. & Jonathan Way (2016). Against the taking condition. Philosophical Issues 26(1), 314-331

Plumer, G. (2018). The non-existence of inference-claims. In Garssen, Godden, Mitchell and Wagemans (eds.) Proceedings of the Ninth Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation, pp.913-924. [Available online]. http://cf.hum.uva.nl/issa/ ISSA_2018_proceedings.pdf

Plumer, G. (ms.). Informal Logic’s infinite regress.

Russell, B. (1937). The Principles of Mathematics. London: George Allen & Unwin.

Ryle, G. (1950). ‘If’, ‘so’, and ‘because’. In M. Black (Ed.), Philosophical Analysis (pp. 302-318). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Scriven, M. (1976). Reasoning. New York: McGraw-Hill.