Third Edition

 Prepared by the International Council on Rhetoric, Argumentation, and Philosophy


Preface to the 3rd edition

The years since the last edition of the Lexicon have been witness to many argumentation conferences, quite a few issues of journals dedicated to topics in argumentation theory, a veritable library of important texts and anthologies, and, of course, a stampede of arguments. Whether or not years are the sort of things that can witness arguments – or , for that matter, whether arguments are the sort of things that can be witnessed at all – the language of argumentation theory keeps growing. So, even though no one asked for it, we humbly offer this update of what has become a completely dispensable resource.

Preface to the 2nd edition

The technical language of argumentation theory is no less lively than its subject – and just as contested, contentious, and confounding. In the years since the publication of The Arguer’s Lexicon, there has been a veritable tindale wave of new terms. All this change threatens to leave old fogelins behind, but even the youngest iankidds can feel lost in the oswald at times.

On one side of the Atlantic, FECA – the First European Conference on Argumentation – generated a pile of FECAL matter in need of treatment. The Canadian-American Conferences on Argumentation on the other side were not to be outdone: the CACA output was equally impressive. Scores of new terms clamored for inclusion, and dozens of existing terms cried out for revision.

Thus, the Council on Rhetoric, Argumentation, and Philosophy has taken the bold decision to ignore public opinion and provide an update to The Arguer’s Lexicon. For wholly brandom reasons, the first edition was given only a sosa reception. Nevertheless, we firmly believe its publication remains a john-stone in the history of argumentation theory, olmos an aristurtle of modern theory, even if it didn’t make a dima’s worth of difference in the public imagination.

The editors would like to take this opportunity first, to welcome the newest members of the Council: Anne, Kip, Reb, Piet, Tuq and Rhees. Second, we would like to thank the biros already on the Council for their hands-off policy. They have been very hamby as we have tried to culitvate our goddens, to facione maps of the Woods, and to wenzel our way to lumer-ation. Third, we would like to thank the growing list of contributing editors who, while anonymous for reasons of personal safety, are hereby given the public acknowledgement they deserve.

Finally, we would like to repeat the apologies given in the first edition. if you think we missed or mis-represented some important terms, let us know.

Preface to the first edition

The language of argumentation is replete with technical terms – and the list keeps growing. To be conversant in the field, it is no longer enough simply to know about standpoints and stages, backing and warrant, dialectical tiers, dialogue games, and argument schemes. Today’s argumentation theorists also need to be able to tell their ennis from a hoaglund. What does it mean when you are told that your argument could still use some fogelin’ around the edges, that it’s too kauf-filled, or that there are not enough gilberts? Is it good to be told your arguments are very hansen or quite zarefsky? Is a krabbe dangerous? And what is a tony-blair? No one wants the embarrassment of not even knowing what it means to be charged with being lost in the Woods without a walton map. Argumentation can be a pretty finocchiaro business.

Because the technical vocabulary of argumentation is so highly developed, but also so rapidly evolving, it was thought that a glossary of contemporary terms of art might be a useful and welcome addition to our argumentation libraries. Herewith, then, on the occasion of the 9th OSSA conference, we call for the garssen to bring us a pint of christin’d ale so we may toast the Frans of Argument as we present this lexicon as a true govier of the seriousness of the situation.

Formal apologies are extended in advance to all those who are offended by the definitions of any of these terms. And sincere apologies are also extended to those who are not offended by their definitions. Finally, we offer rhetorical apologies to those who would have liked to have been offended but were omitted. The choice of terms was restricted by the limited imaginations of the editors. However, since argumentation theory is a vital and ongoing project with a constantly evolving language, suggestions for additions and revisions for possible future editions would be welcome, because this is, after all, just a ralph draft.

Submitted by the Ontario Humanities Council
on Rhetoric, Argumentation, and Philosophy

Phil Ayshis                         Ilya Tivcor                         Rhees Ponce

Ida Laudientz                     Ayub Jecht                         Reb Uttle

Ann Tillogism                     Rhett Orishen                     Piet Issio

Vera Cundiam                     Phillip Uster                       Kip Bitser

Modiste O’lins                     Anne Fibbolli                      Tuq Wok-Weh



aakhus mark n. A punctuation symbol designed to communicate how design communicates argumentative effect. “For want of an aakhus mark, I was misunderstood and lost the argument.

aberdein – interjection. Scottish euphemism for “I’ll be damned!” “Well, aberdein!  There’s some virtue in that argument after all.”

adle v. To commit a category mistake in the attempt at justification, e.g., by an appeal to ethics in epistemology or an appeal to epistemology in ethics. Hence, adled, adj, with confused justification; and adler, n. one who adles.

agnes – adj. With a disarming smile. n. agnesity. Pleasantry as a rhetorical strategy. “When dealing with a hostile crowd, agnesity is the best policy.”

aikingerund. How one feels after doing battle with an iron man. “The effort required to make sense of Scott’s argument left me aikin.”

amossyn. The temporary inability to remember clichés. “We were arguing about clichés as cognitive heuristics when I came down with a case of amossy and absent-mindedly forgot the stereotype for professors.”

anscombren. The smallest unit length of an enunciation; hence, the smallest swerve in the direction of an argument. 1,000 anscombres = 1 ducrot.

aristurtlen. The ancient creature upon whose back the whole world of argumentation theory rests. Distinguished by its quint-essentially impenetrable shell, it is reputedly the Ur-source for all wisdom.

auchinterjection. A dismissive response to an argument. “Auch! So much hype and so little substance!

austintatiousadj. Displaying a fine sense for the niceties of language. “I’m not sure what his point was, but his presentation was certainly austintatious.”[Definition from The Philosophical Lexicon]


baehrv. To entertain hypotheses and provisional standpoints patiently and tolerantly, regardless of how foolish or offensive they may be. “The art of pedagogy requires that we baehr even the stupidest student contributions to class discussions with grice and agnesity.”

bailin’ & battersby – A “dialectical” (i.e., good cop/bad cop) method for teaching critical thinking. “If the fun and games of ennis matches aren’t effective, you might have to resort to some bailin’ and battersby to get your students up to speed.”

bartgarssen n. A virtuoso display of strategic maneuvering. “We followed the P-D rules faithfully but we still argued our way into a corina. It’ll take a bartgarssen to get out it.”

battalyadv. Virtuously but vainly combative. “Heather argued battaly against the patriarchy.”

baumtrogn. Cousin to the balrog, this deceptively imposing beast is actually quite open to persuasion.

benthem – v. To extend the range of application of a theory by stretching its boundaries, hence the informal logician’s motto: “’Tis wiser to benthem in argument than break in proof.”

bermejo-luquen. Inexplicably effective rhetorical practice. “I don’t know what happened. We were poised to win the committee’s approval until the chair pulled off a last minute bermejo-luque.

bex n. The formalizable and computational components of argumentation. “Informal logic requires thinking outside the bex.”

biro – n. The invisible friend of an imaginary rabbit (or the imaginary friend of an invisible rabbit). “She said she got her argument from her ‘friend’ Harvey but we think it might be from a biro.”

blair – n. The domesticated hybrid of a wolverine and a Canadian grizzly, very popular as a cuddly, stuffed animal. “Tony-blairs, with their pre-programmed arguments, are even outselling teddy-blairs this year.

boger-man – n. A scholar-archaeologist obsessed with finding the One True Aristurtle. “There’s some Indiana Jones in every boger-man.”

bondy n. The situation one puts oneself by trying to think about how to go about thinking about thinking. “Patrick’s unvirtuous thoughts about virtuous thinking put him in a double-bondy.”

botting – n. The functional foundations of reasonableness, esp. in the idiom ‘rock botting.’ “When David insisted that the only way to resolve our dispute was to be ‘reasonable’ – i.e., agree with him – we realized that he had hit rock botting.”

brandom – adj. Unexplainable; opaque to reason. “The argument was totally brandom. The premises were incomprehensible, the conclusion was inaccessible, and the inferences left me bewilfred.”

brockriedev. To subject a text to sustained rhetorical criticism. “The argument may work, but I’ll know better after I give it a thorough brockrieding.”

de bustos  – n. The slippery use of metaphors in arguments: de bustos non disputandum est.


cam-polo – n. The sport of tele-viewing deep disagreements.

carozzan. Someone who spices up bexed-in, formal logical reasoning with exuberant and emotional argumentation. “What a delightful argument – wine flowed, gilberts piled up, and we ended up laughing, crying, and carozzing the whole night away!

casey – adj. Random, tending towards the irrational. Often used ironically, esp. in political commentary. “John’s non sequitur seemed pretty casey at first, but it turned out to be casey like a fox.”

chrisreedv. To encode imprecise but perfectly adequate ordinary language texts into precise but incomprehensible formal ones. “Scanners that can read bar-codes are easy, but we don’t yet have near the technology that can chrisreed even the simplest barroom argument.”

ciceron, pl.  A Latinate term for untamed figures of speech, famous from the opening of the debaters’ traditional drinking song:    “Oh, give me a tome, where the cicero roam / and krabbe and eemeren play;/ Where johnsons abound, tony-blairs can be found / And a perelman can argue all day!”

cohenn. An incomprehensible metaphor. Zen cohens make no sense before you work through them; dan cohens make no sense after you work through them.

corina – n. A tight spot from which there is no apparent way out. “During the interview, we strategically maneuvered Andone into a corina by way of a bartgarrsen, but she was able to execute a sneaky henkeman to escape.”

correia-vascolaradj. Relating to the emotional-cognitive system. “He suffered from a correia-vascolar disorder that allowed his emotions to get the better of him.”


dale jacketn. A full-length protective sleeve inoculating the logic of one’s arguments from semantic paradox and incompleteness. “We were sure the argument was fallacious but none of our criticisms could penetrate the dale jacket.”

danblon – gerund. The rhetorical act of reinforcement by narrative repetition. “Although her original argument didn’t have much effect, Emmanuelle eventually succeeded by danblon down on her position.”

dascal’s wager n. The action of a compulsive arguer; putting one’s mouth where one’s money is in regards to the claim that it is always reasonable to argue in the pursuit of knowledge.

derek n. A large crane used to draw out weighty conclusions. “We couldn’t get the conclusion to fall into place until we gave the derek to Allen.”

didier v. To exploit spatial reference frames in manipulating the course of an argument. “I thought we were discussing second-language acquisition but Maillat’s graphs and charts, somehow didiered me into arguing about pragmatics and persuasion.”

dima – (1) n. The least significant unit of argument improvement. “Even though she strengthened the premises, it didn’t make a dima’s worth of difference to the argument.”  (2) n. A role model for, and protector of, aspiring young female academics. “Male mentors might try to be helpful but dimas are a girl’s best friend.

doven. A supposedly confrontation-averse bird with a keen sensitivity to discourse that can be trained to spot and hunt down arguments in the wild, or even in mathematics.

ducrot n. The unit of “argumentivity” in an enunciation as measured by the straight-line distance – “as ducrot flies”– from the “center of the description” to its implied conclusion.

dufourn. An analytic partitioning of the history of a discipline. “Aristotle, Ockham, Mill, and Hamblin represent dufour stages of fallacy theory.”

durann. The “over-time” following the natural conclusion of an argument, hence the idiom “Singin’ in Duran”  as a euphemism for Beating a Dead Horse. “Claudio’s extended defense of multi-modal scientific argumentation performatively demonstrated that Singin’ in Duran was indeed possible in several different modalities at once.

dutilh novaesn. The companion to via moderna in logic, the “new”, i.e.. post-Ockhamite, way of thinking about argumentation, in contrast to via antigua and dutilh Aristoteles.


eemeren ­– n. (From the acronym “M.R.N.”) Multiply-regulated negotiations. “Unless we can get management and the union to agree to an eemeren, the dispute will never be resolved.”

El Sebarth – The legendary heroine whose battle-cry, “Empire Callogic!” struck fear in the hearts of Formal Dragons everywhere.

ennisn. Originally, an archaic and obscure game of wits. The term now refers to any test of one’s critical thinking abilities. Hence, the idiom “Ennis, anyone?” as an invitation to argue.


facionev. To construct an argument map in order to help one think critically about making the decision to argue for a decision that has already been made. “Peter facioned himself a mover and a shaker but never got past the facioning stage.”

fahnestockn. The supply of figures of speech available for a specific argumentative context. “When you argue with Jeanne, be prepared for a veritable tindale wave of rhetorical figures pulled out of her fahnestock.”

fair fasko n. The proper critical procedure for refereeing manuscripts: “I had hoped Danthen Frank’s journal would be able to give my article fair fasko, but they rejected it, too, so I guess I was wrong.”

faircloth – n. The fabric of civil society. “If the other side in an argument automatically dismisses anything untoward as ‘fake news’, then normal faircloth wlll dissolve under the corrosive effects of their political CDA (Cynical Distort Abuse), so you’ll have to dress your position in ‘bela faircloth.”

feteris paribus clause – A qualifying clause applicable only in legal contexts.

finocchiaroadj. (fin + chiaro, end of light) Purified of all clarity; rendered obscure. “I thought I understood Galileo’s argument until that deft analysis made it all finocchiaro.”

fogelinv. Blaming the lack of progress on an intractable deep disagreement: “The deadline’s approaching so we need to get serious about these negotiations. No more fogelin around.”

Frans of Argumentn. A formal society dedicated to the improvement of critical discussions by imposing an ascetic code of conduct. “If you want to be one of the Frans of argument, you must agree to argue by the rules, but some strategic maneuvering is allowed.”

freemann. A premise unfettered by any objections, so vacuously acceptable to everyone. 1 freeman = 10 kilo-quintilians.


gabbyadj. Prosodically enhanced. “Let’s get Kisiçek as a kat-arina. She knows better than anyone how to make an argument gabby.

gascon-aidn. Architectural feature giving an ambiguous perspective from a great height. “Although attacked from different sides, they could retreat to  opposite sides of the gascon-aid as needed.”

gilbert n. The unit of measurement for the kisceral quotient of an argument. “When Miqqi Alicia gets going in an argument, the gilberts really pile up.”

goddenn. A cultivated area for growing beliefs. “David has a well-tended memory gooden, but his intuition godden needs weeding.”

Goddu-zillan. A dangerous prehistoric beast wreaking havoc on modern argumentation theory. “Don’t let Goddu-zilla know that you think arguments actually occur in real time!

goldmann. An epistemic unit of argument quality. “Her argument was worth its weight in goldmans.”

goodnightn. The astronomical impossibility of night covering the complete surface of a planet, thereby bringing closure to an entire sphere of argument. “It’ll be a cold day in hell and one helluva goodnight on earth before that controversy gets settled.”

goodwin n. An argument that is manifestly successful while serving no discernible function whatsoever.

grattonadj. The lost culinary art of following recipes with infinite regresses. “They take forever to prepare, but the potatoes au gratton are worth the wait!

grennan n. A textbook example. “That’s a grennan of a sneaky henkeman.

gricen. Implicit blessedness. “Fred was clearly in a state of grice, not because of what he said but because of what he didn’t say.”

grizev. Eschewing formalization and calculation to facilitate discursive reasoning. “By calling out the pretensions of his fellow mathematicians, Jean-Blaise grized the wheels of argumentation.”

groarken. The sound of a visual argument, audible only to a select few. “The groarkes in the performance convinced some in the audience that they were seeing an argument.”

grootendorstadj., Said of an argument that can be endorsed from its final conclusion down to its deepest roots. “The argument wasn’t merely valid, cogent, and sound: it was completely grootendorst.”

grrrechon. (from grrr + echo) The re-appearance of lingering hostilities after a dispute has allegedly been resolved. “Sara’s half-hearted attempt at reconciliation was sabotaged by the clear grrrecho of resentment in her voice.”

guarinin. Analogical assurance. “Marcelo is convinced that mental space is unbounded, but he can’t offer any guarinis to that effect.”


habermasv. To overwhelm an opponent by an elitist appeal to popular opinion. “By the time he offered his teenage daughter’s tweets as further examples of distortion-free communication, I knew I’d been completely habermassed.”

hamblev. To criticize an opponent’s examples as unimaginative, contrived, or hackneyed. “I thought my argument was pretty good but the commentator gave it some pretty rough hamblin’.”

hambyadj. Conveniently convenient; said especially of solutions that fit problems which were created preciely to be problems for those solutions. “The Revised critical thinking curriculum will be hamby for our re-accreditation.”

hampleadj. More than simply sufficient in resolving interpersonal conflict. “The boys were given hample warning to stop fighting.”

hankin’ illjes – n. The gentle art of substituting “compelling” narratives for “compelling” arguments; a subtle form of Red Herring. “Kati wasn’t just pulling your leg or yankin’ your chain: she was really hankin’ illjes!

hansn. Structural support. “The conference plans are in chaos! Could you lend me a hans?” In architecture, the load-bearing beam holding up a tindale.

hansenadj. Careful and scholarly, but ultimately of interest only to its author. “That was a very hansen treatment of Mill’s argument.”

hatchv. To indulge in educational idealism. Hence, hatcher, n. One who hatches head-in-the-cloud schemes for educational reform. “Little Donald became such a hatcher after talking with a toulman.”

heikev. To concede a point respectfully but begrudgingly. “I heikes to admit it, but the feminist criticism of my remarks was right on target.”

hitchcockn. An unfair advantage gained in argument by appealing to actual empirical data. “We thought we had David cornered until he pulled out his hitchcock.

hoaglundn. The net weight of the burden of proof.

hoff v. To waste one’s energy on ill-defined, intractable “wicked” problems. “If we can’t even decide what the problem is, calling in a hoffmann won’t help.”

hoppv. To jump on a debate opponent’s mis-step. “When his opponents inadvertently confused Iran and Iraq, Michael wasted no time in hopping all over them.”

hornikxadj. The state of being overwhelmed by the erotics of multi-cultural argumentation. “Good arguments persuade me, but the really best ones make me completely hornikx.”

houtloss v. To pursue an argument beyond the call of duty – and beyond the capacity of one’s opponents. “With extraordinary stamina, Peter houtlossed everyone else at the negotiating table.”

Hoven n. An arguer’s paradise, commonly used in an admonishment when ideology-driven arguments get out of hand. “For Hoven’s sake, tone down that rhetoric!

hundlebeen. A feminist gadfly that becomes agitated and buzzes noisily in the presence of non-natural argumentation.


innocentiadj. Displaying the (supposedly) less corrupt tenor of bygone speech. “Beth’s innocenti approach to political rhetoric is fine for 18th century texts but can it handle the viciousness of the internet?


jackson-and-jacobs –n. The academic party game also known as “Find the Premise.”

jansenn. The effect of a micro-variation in phrasing on overall argument quality. Hence, reductio ad jansen, the strategy of focusing on those variations (i.e., nit-picking). “While no single jansen ever makes more than a dima’s worth of difference, the cumulative effect of a heap of jansens can be measured in goldmans, anscombres, or even ducrots.”

The jens – n. A state of multi-modal confusion. “Leo developed a severe case of the jens from listening to too many visual arguments.”

johnsonn. The vital force of an argument’s manifest rationality. “When the full magnitude of Ralph’s johnson was revealed, the opponents quickly retreated from their standpoint.”

john-stone n. The foundation for groundless argumentation.


kahane – n. An objection that an argument is abstract and irrelevant. “If you insist on recasting philosophical arguments in FOL, anyone with a quintilian of critical thought will raise kahane.”

kat-arina n. A tiger in a tutu. The argumentative counterpart to a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a fierce arguer dressed up to appear unthreatening. “If you really want to get your point across to the public, you need a kat-arina for a spokesperson: hire Stevens!

kat-budzn. The germinating kernels of arguments, found growing throughout Poland in the protective shade of the bochenski bushes and adjukiewicz trees. “The soil is fertile so expect a bumper crop of kat-budz this year.”

katkins, katkinsons – n. Feral persuaders and their domesticated descendants. “Katkinsons may behave in accordance with recursively definable patterns, but katkins in the wild resist all such modelling.

kaufv. Clearing one’s throat for the purposes of making an implicature. “There was more to his argument than meets the eye because it was so kauf-filled.

kienpointnern. A sharply persuasive indicator. “He never reached the conclusion of his argument because a kienpointner sent him into the Woods.

kingsbowellberryn. An exotic fruit native to the southern hemisphere whose delightful hallucinogenic properties are easily mistaken as cognitive enhancements.

kloosterhousen. A school for formalizing arguments. “To keep his ability to reason informally out of Harm’s way, we had to withdraw Ralph from the kloosterhouse.”

klosterphobian. The fear of using arguments as a pedagogical tool. “Maybe I’m just being klosterphobic, but it’s better than being blind to the power-imbalances at play when teachers argue with their students.”

knealev. To genuflect respectfully in the direction of tradition. “Despite all the advances in argument analysis, he’s still knealing before Russell and Frege.”

kockn. A conclusion that may be true but is pragmatically impossible for one party to accept. “He offered us some pretty good reasons but it’s still a tough kock to swallow.”

koszowy – adj. Involving the rigorously detailed development and technically precise deployment of casual analogies. “Marcin’s use of the history of Polish Logic as a microcosm for the entire course of Western Philosophy was ambitious, audacious, and completely koszowy.

krabben. A beast of burden-of-proof obscurely descended from the aristurtle. “In this dialogue, you’re the krabbe – and I’d guess you’ve got at least 10 hoaglunds to carry.”

krausv. To transgress the boundaries of the common ground of argument. “He really kraused the line at the Skeptics’ Society meetings with his repeated references to Holy Scripture.”

kvernbeak n. A northern songbird fond of pecking holes in narrative texts.


langsdorfn. A rehab facility specializing in rhetorical treatment programs for recovering pragmatist metaphysicians.

leffv. To inflate the rhetorical value of old speeches. “His analysis of Galileo’s argument was completely unleffened.”

linkeringv. The inability to let theoretical matters remain free of ethical, social, and political entanglements. “The diagrammatic- practical method was working just fine until Maureen’s linkering raised uncomfortable questions of social justice.”

lumev. To shed epistemological light on a subject. “After Christoph lumed it, the conclusion was acceptable to everyone.” Hence, lumer- ation, n. epistemological enhancement by argumentation.


macagnon. A dance consisting of pre-arranged steps following pre- selected patterns in accordance with pre-determined schemes. “Very few have both the skill and audacity necessary to attempt the macagno on the dance floor in front of the walton.

marcinadj. Clear, effective, algorithmic. “The conference planning board was in chaos until Lewinsky gave us our marcin orders.”

mariannedoury n. An invasive medical procedure for opening intestinal obstructions or other blocked passageways. “The politician’s line of reasoning was so twisted, we had to perform a radical mariannedoury.”

marthacheng – n. Respectful discourse analysis of respectful discourse. “Who could have expected to find a marthacheng in the rough-and-tumble of an argumentation conference?

meuffelv. To strategically maneuver an opponent into total silence. “His argument was working until he was meuffeled.”

moirahousen. A sanatorium for decrepit academics. “Here at the moirahouse, we believe that physical fitness is an intellectual virtue, so a couple of weeks would do a soft academic like him wonders.”

moldovanadj. Said of pragmatic implicatures whose repeated use has rendered them clichéd. “Andrei’s insistence on using Gricean principles to draw concrete meaning from abstract arguments have grown a bit moldovan over the years.


naessadj. Environmentally sound and ecologically valid. “What a naess idea!

nosichadj. Untenable under critical scrutiny. “Too much critical thinking? A student who cannot be taught to think critically? They’re nosich things!

nuccetellin. Originally a hazelnut spread, but now referring to any appealing but nutty spread covering an argument. “Was that argument any good or was it just a layer of nuccettelli?


oaksfortn. A defensive position whose comfortable informality makes it resistant to reason. “Mike’s brilliant decision to build his oaksfort at the top of a slippery slope made it impregnable.”

okeefev. To admit something obvious, but only after it has been pointed out. “I’m okeefe with the argument1-argument2 distinction now.”

olmosadv. In fiction. “Her use of narratives to argue was quite clever and olmos convincing.”

oswaldn. A dangerous region populated by manipulative and uncooperative arguers. “The conference planning session threated to degenerate into an oswald.”


paglierin. A trusted adviser to the main spokesperson in an argument between rival factions; someone who can be counted on to do the dirty work in conflict “resolution.”

pattersonn. Someone with more social presence than seems possible for any one person. “Is that blog run by a bourbaki, a biro, or a patterson?

perelmann. A representative member of the universal audience. “We thought she was just a representative perelman but she turned out to be a kat-arina for the virtue theorists.”

pinton. The punctuation mark signaling the conclusion of an argument. “Are you sure you want an exclamation pinto there? I think a probability pinto is more warranted.”

pintolauran. An appoggiaturra found amid the chiaroscuro of argumentation. “Without the occasional pintolaura, the sturm-und- drang of argumentation conferences would be unbearable.”

plantv. The use of emotional appeals to justify inserting emotion into reasoned dialogues. “Is Descartes the only French thinker able to resist plantin’ his philosophy with equal measures of pathos, bathos, and wit?

plugn. A quick fix for for a leaky argument. “That line of reasoning is flawed beyond repair. Let’s pull the plug on it now.”

plumv. To excavate in shallow mines. Hence, plumer, n. one who seeks treasures in unlikely places. “Who but a real plumer would think to look for philosophical insights into arguments in law school entrance examination results?

poppeln. A fruit rich in the epistemic-nutritional vitamins needef for public health campaigns. “Van poppel a day keeps fallacies at bay.

possin n. Acting as a licensed guide in the wilds of critical thinking. “Whether heading to the Woods, the oswald, or even just your own godden, get yourself a possin – or at least someone playin’ possin.

prakkenn. An impossible monster combining the mind of a logician and the soul of a lawyer.


quintilian – The smallest detectable degree of support for a position. “That argument doesn’t lend even a quintilian of credence to your proposal.”


ralphadj. Answering questions that no one has bothered to ask. “It was just a ralph draft – all dialectical tier and no illative core.”

de rigottiadj. Necessary to avoid incongruity. “It may have become de rigueur to acknowledge the importance of pragmatics for interpreting arguments, but reference to pragmatics has always been de rigotti for argument evaluation.

ritolan. A Finnish throat lozenge taken to counter the pragmatics of kauffing.

roonev. To purge of offensive sexist language. “She rooned all my examples.” Hence, rooney, adj., having been rooned. “The reasoning is solid but the prose is a bit rooney.”

rubinelli vaccinen. A cognitive inoculation to immunize readers from the internet’s epidemic of misinformation and disinformation on health-care related issues.


S&M – abbr. of Sperber and Mercier; adj. Taking pleasure in tortured reasoning. “The evolutionary emergence of S&M argumentation theorists disproves the idea that Man is a rational animal.”

sandvikn. Food for thought from a modally mixed and emotionally seasoned set of ingredients, as in the classic sillygism, “Nothing is better than perfect bliss – but a ham sandvik is better than nothing!

santibañezn. A controversial form of baptism that is arguably metaphorical (unless it is only metaphorically arguable). “Does spilling wein on the first copy of Cogency count as a santibañez?

schwed n. The visual placeholder for un-aspirated parts of arguments.

scrivenadj. Summatively evaluated. “The argument was written and re-written, inspected and dissected, analyzed, schematized, and thematized, and finally scriven, so the committee’s work is done.”

searleyadj. Contemptuous of leftist political thought, because of presumed ack of rigor. “When the demonstrators asked whether “academic freedom’ meant freedom to pursue war researsch, the Dean turned quite searley.” [Definition from The Philosophical Lexicon]

sheldonwein – n. Any of several very red wines resulting from a mix of Argentine malbec, Chilean carménère, and other popular Latin American varietals. “After so much sheldonwein, even libertarian thought seemed to make sense.”

siegel v. To skewer an opponent in such a way as to leave the victim unaware that her position has been eviscerated and even grateful for the experience.

simmered smithyn. Where overheated arguments are hammered into shape. “When Paul sensed that the dispute was getting too personal and emotional, he took it to a simmered smithy to mold it into an abstract argument.”

sladepred. Outclassed. “Although he had the more substantial argument, he was, to but it bluntly, slade by her presentation.”

sneaky henkeman n. A coup de grace of strategic maneuvering accomplished by praeteritio.

sosa – adj. Effective, but not apt. “Ernie has great intuitions, but his prose is so difficult that he’s actually only sosa as an arguer.”

stanley steamer n. An appliance for smoothing out the wrinkles of merely practical know-how. “Even though Jason could argue very well, until he used a stanley steamer to turn his argumentative skills into theoretical knowledge, he really didn’t know how to argue at all.”


takuzon. An esoteric ritual dissociating stases from dissociation to purify argumentation of all pragmatic attachments. “Successful takuzo transcends finocchiaro and all possible lumer-ation.”

thagardn. The region of the brain that is active in argument. “Paul was so confrontation averse that his thagard had atrophied.”

thierrizev. To counter the rhetorical deployment of argument schemes with the argumentative deployment of rhetorical schemes. “When surrounded by uncooperative arguers in the oswald, Herman managed to escape by demonstrating the ambiguity of their threats in a masterful bit of thierrizing.”

tindalen. (1) A strategic pause in the presentation of an argument for comedic purpose. “His argument was a rhetorical success, despite its weak logic, because he sprinkled tindales throughout with impeccable timing.” (2) An architectural device joining two disparate elements. “Chris’s blueprints won the audience award at the argument design competition because they called for a tindale rather than a spandrel to connect epistemology and logic.”

toulmann. The proprietor of a theoretical hardware store servicing all fields of inquiry. “Although the toulman was a master craftsman with all the formal tools in aisle 3, he never sold any of them without a field fight.

trace – n. Pathological effects of ordinary rhetoric. Hence, tracy, adj., exhibit traces. “Until Karen analyzed my speech, I had no idea how tracy I came across to others.”

true govier – n. The sincere acknowledgement of the reasonableness of an unreasonable position. “The protestors were getting unruly until the provost offered a true govier of their grievances.


ulrikeinterjection. A shriek of delight at an improbably successful probabilistic argument. “Ulrike! That appeal to transformed mental representations changes everything.”


vanlaar curve – The closed linear path following the curvature of reasoning from a premise back to itself. The natural progression of a krabbe seeking to get out from under a hoaglund.

verheij-lich maneuvern. A program to dislodge fallacy-inducing bugs embedded in AI argument simulators. “When BART, the Binary Argumentation and Rhetoric Transponder, was set against itself, it was trapped in an infinite loop oscillating between the opening and argumentation stages until we executed the verheij-lich maneuver.”

visseradj. Artificially or externally enhanced. “Despite his awards and high-tech toys, Jackie was none the visser when it came to genuine arguments.


wagemansn. The mavens or “meta-experts” of argumentation, e.g., experts on expert testimony who, not being experts themselves, offer no expert testimony of their own. “We’re going to need a crew of wagemans to sort out all the arguments in this controversy, then to organize them into a periodic table – and to do it all without getting arguing about it.”

waltonn. (From wall + ton) A massive edifice with no ends in sight. “You’d need an entire walton map to navigate the Woods.”

weinstein mark n. A logical symbol indicating the absolute truth of a relative point. “The invention of the weinstein mark was crucial to the development of universal, field-independent, formal accounts of the disciplines.

wenzelv. To follow a meandering line of reasoning. “The audience waited patiently as he wenzeled his way to the conclusion.”

willardadj. Solidly rooted in the shifting sands of community. “The argument may be willard in Louisville, but it counts as adled in New York.

wilsonn. A measure of information conveyed by an argument: the product of its pragmatic relevance and the ratio of its epistemic value (a “wilson gain”) to the argument’s length.

wodak n. A measure of argumentative effort. “Ruth’s Law: the number of wodaks needed to lower the argumentivity of political discourse by one ducrot increases exponentially with each additional ducrot, while the wodaks needed to raise argumentivity decreases inversely.”

wohlrapp – (1) v. An attempt to bring precise closure to an open-ended, imprecise process. “Enough debate, let’s wohlrapp it up already.”  (2) n. An all-embracing argument. “OK, that’s a wohlrapp!

the Woods – Mythical labyrinthine wilds whose exit can only be reached abductively.

wupengn. Putting old arguments into new contexts. “Pragma- dialectics needed a good wupeng before it could be adapted to Chinese linguistic, cultural, and social environments.”


xiongn. An argumentative bear; from the legend of King Xiong, a giant panda who was impervious to litigation.


yapv. The persistent pursuit of an objective. “Audrey wouldn’t stop yapping until we agreed to put the history of the logic of the philosophy of mathematics into the curriculum.”


zagar – The quixotic attempt to reduce argument to rhetoric. “Igor’s analysis was close but no zagar.”

zampan. Certification by, e.g., a newspaper editor or a blog host, that a submission passes muster. “It took a lot of arguing before Marta’s controversial exposé of newsroom biases was finally given a zampa of approval.

zarefskyadj. Quietly effective. “David’s argument might not have been very flashy, but it was quite zarefsky in the end.”

zenkern. A Bayesian defeater. “We completely rebutted his argument with hook, line, and zenker!


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