Constructive Controversy: Rhetoric as Dissensus-oriented Discourse

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Current theories of argumentation underestimate the difference, emphasized
already by Aristotle, between theoretical and practical (action-oriented) argumentation.
This is exemplified with the argument theories of Toulmin, pragma-dialectics,
Habermas, Walton, and Perelman. Since antiquity, rhetoric has defined itself, not
as argument designed to “win,” but as action-oriented argument. Several distinctive
features of action-oriented argument are identified. One is that its warrants include
value concepts in audiences, implying an element of subjectivity in argument assessment.
Between individuals, but also inside each individual, several conflicting value
dimensions are typically involved, not just the dimension of truth-falsity, which makes
sustained, reasonable dissensus inevitable.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCogency. Journal of Reasoning and Argumentation
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)89-112
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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