Argument as Hypothesis-Testing

David Zarefsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This essay proposes that argumentation be understood as a rhetorical analogue to hypothesis-testing in the scientific method. It is a means for determining what should be regarded as true in situations in which empirical methods are not available. The paradigm is described and implications of following it are explored. The specific concern of the essay is with argumentation as deployed in competitive academic debate (referred to as “forensics”) but its point of view is generally applicable. This essay was originally published in an anthology, Advanced Debate, edited by David A. Thomas and published by National Textbook Company in 1979.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationArgumentation Library
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameArgumentation Library
ISSN (Print)1566-7650
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1907


  • Argument as epistemic
  • Hypothesis testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


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