Whataboutisms and Inconsistency

Argumentation 34 (4):433-447 (2020)
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Despite being very common in both public and private argumentation, accusations of selective application of general premises, also known as “whataboutisms”, have been mostly overlooked in argumentation studies, where they are, at most, taken as accusations of inconsistency. Here I will defend an account according to which allegations of this sort can express the suspicion that the argumentation put forward by one party does not reflect his or her actual standpoint and reasons. Distinguishing this kind of argumentative moves is important for evaluating its appropriateness in critical discussions where knowing the honest opinion of arguers is relevant, as in political controversies or interpersonal communication.

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Axel Barceló
Institute Of Philosophy, Mexico


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