19. “Argumentation Ethics and The Philosophy of Freedom”

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Abstract: When H.-H. Hoppe claimed (in A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, 1989) that the principles of libertarianism were argumentatively irrefutable, both the logical coherence and the relevance of his “argument from argumentation” were criticized. While occasionally some of these criticisms still crop up, this paper defends Hoppe’s claim against them from the vantage point of the author’s own work (in Dutch) on the ethics of dialogue in the nineteen-seventies. It presents a more detailed and systematic presentation of the “argument from argumentation” than Hoppe had need for in the particular context of his book. It makes a distinction between arguments about principles and arguments about particular cases in which these principles may be invoked; and between the normative validity (as a matter of principle) of certain presumptions and the fact that in particular cases these presumptions hold only in principle and can be refuted by the evidence pertaining to the cases.

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