Chapter published in:Argumentation between Doctors and Patients: Understanding clinical argumentative discourse
Frans H. van Eemeren, Bart Garssen and Nanon Labrie
[Not in series 235] 2021
► pp. 81–106
Fallacies in medical consultations
In argumentative discussions fallacies need to be avoided. Fallacies are violations of the rules for critical discussion introduced in this Chapter, which prevent or hinder a difference of opinion to be resolved based on the merits of the argumentation that is advanced. Fallacies can occur in all stages of the discussion and can be committed by either party. Among the fallacies that may occur in the presentation of standpoints and arguments are putting under pressure and expressing inappropriate personal criticism (Freedom Rule, 1), evading or shifting the burden of proof (Burden-of-Proof Rule, 2), misrepresenting the other party’s standpoint (Standpoint Rule, 3), using irrelevant argumentation or non-argumentation (Relevance Rule, 4), and denying or magnifying an unexpressed premise (Unexpressed Premise Rule, 5). Among the fallacies that may occur in judging the argumentation are falsely treating a starting point as agreed upon or denying a starting point that had been agreed upon (Starting Point Rule, 6), using invalid reasoning (Validity Rule, 7), and employing an inappropriate argument scheme or using an argument scheme incorrectly (Argument Scheme Rule, 8). In drawing conclusions, unwarranted consequences may be attached to a successful defense or a failed defense (Closure Rule, 9). Finally, the resolution of a difference can be obstructed in any stage by inconsistent, unclear or ambiguous use of language (Usage Rule, 10).