Research Output
Thou Shalt Not Squander Life – Comparing Five Approaches to Argument Strength
  Different approaches analyze the strength of a natural language argument in different ways. This paper contrasts the dialectical, structural, probabilistic (or Bayesian), computational, and empirical approaches by exemplarily applying them to a single argumentative text (Epicureans on Squandering Life; Aikin & Talisse, 2019). Rather than pitching these approaches against one another, our main goal is to show the room for fruitful interaction. Our focus is on a dialectical analysis of the squandering argument as an argumentative response that voids an interlocutor’s right to assertion. This analysis addresses the pragmatic dimensions of arguing and implies an argument structure that is consistent with empirical evidence of perceived argument strength. Results show that the squandering argument can be evaluated as a (non-fallacious) ad hominem argument, which however is not necessarily stronger than possible arguments attacking it.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 December 2023

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Walter de Gruyter GmbH

  • DOI:


  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Zenker, F., Dębowska-Kozłowska, K., Godden, D., Selinger, M., & Wells, S. (2023). Thou Shalt Not Squander Life – Comparing Five Approaches to Argument Strength. Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric, 68(1), 133-167.



argument structure, Bayesian, computation, diagram, dialectic, empirical, evaluation, perceived argument strength, thought listing

Monthly Views:

Available Documents