Defining Rhetorical Argumentation

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This article argues for a definition of rhetorical argumentation based on the theme of the argumentation, i.e., the issue in dispute - rather than its aim (e.g., to ‘win’) or its means (e.g., emotional appeals). The principal thinkers in the rhetorical tradition, from Aristotle onwards, saw rhetoric as practical reasoning, i.e., reasoning on proposals for action or choice, not on propositions that may be either true or false. Citing several contemporary philosophers, the article argues that such a definition acquits rhetorical argumentation of any culpable unconcern with truth and explains certain peculiar properties of it that tend to be under-theorized in argumentation theory.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophy and Rhetoric
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)437-464
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2013

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