Choice Is Not True Or False: The Domain of Rhetorical Argumentation

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Leading contemporary argumentation theories such as those of Ralph Johnson, van Eemeren and Houtlosser, and Tindale, in their attempt to address rhetoric, tend to define rhetorical argumentation with reference to (a) the rhetorical
arguer’s goal (to persuade effectively), and (b) the means he employs to do so. However, a central strand in the rhetorical tradition itself, led by Aristotle, and arguably the dominant view, sees rhetorical argumentation as defined with reference to the domain of issues discussed. On that view, the domain of rhetorical argumentation is centered on choice of action in the civic sphere, and the distinctive nature of issues in this domain is considered crucial. Hence, argumentation theories such as those discussed, insofar as they do not see rhetoric as defined by its distinctive domain, apply an understanding of rhetoric that is historically inadequate. It is further suggested that theories adopting this understanding of rhetoric risk ignoring important distinctive features of argumentation about action.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArgumentation : an international journal on reasoning
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)61-80
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Argumentation, Rhetoric, Aristotle, Nicomachean ethics, Eudemian ethics, Deliberative, Deliberation, Choice, Argumentation theory, Ralph Johnson, Frans van Eemeren, Peter Houtlosser, Christopher Tindale, Domain of issues, Rhetorical argumentation

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