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Subordinating Truth – Is Acceptability Acceptable?
Argumentation logicians have recognized a specter of relativism to haunt their philosophy of argument. However, their attempts to dispel pernicious relativism by invoking notions of a universal audience or a community of model interlocutors have not been entirely successful. In fact, their various discussions of a universal audience invoke the context-eschewing formalism of Kant’s categorical imperative. Moreover, they embrace the Kantian method for resolving the antinomies that continually vacillates between opposing extremes – here between a transcendent universal audience and a context-embedded particular audience. This tack ironically restores the very external mediation they thought to obviate in their aim to ‘dethrone’ the absolutism and totalitarianism of formal logic with a democratic turn to audience adherence, the acceptability of premises and inferential links, and a contextual, or participant-relative, notion of cogency.