ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Argumentation In Bulgarian Political Virtual Forums And Social Networks

Abstract: This study examines specific features of the argumentation in virtual political forums and social networks. The subjects of research are political forums and Facebook groups as a part of the civil protests in Bulgaria over the period of two years (2012-2013). The main goal is investigation on arguments used by Bulgarian citizens in virtual dialogues, appropriateness and effectiveness of argumentation. The second goal includes survey of specific verbal, visual and multi-modal arguments used in the social networks.

Keywords: argumentation, visual and multi-modal arguments, political virtual forums, social networks

1. Introduction
The new Bulgarian state has reached 135 years of independent history and form of government since 1879. From 1945 to 1991 (during socialism) the form of government was a specific kind of republic (the People’s Republic of Bulgaria). The Constitution from July 1991 states that Bulgaria is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. The multi-party system was established after 45 years of socialist and totalitarian government. A transition towards a pluralistic and democratic society is taking place.

Bulgarian political communication plays a role in the civil society; it continues to be a function of the state institutions and political parties. Political and civil rhetoric practices and influence have immensely grown during the Bulgarian civil protests and demonstrations (1989, 1990, 1996–1997). Political communication has transformed since 2010 and Bulgarian citizens vow their demands in more definite forms combining direct, media and virtual channels. Bulgarian citizens largely use the Internet as a tool for increased social activities in the civil society. The participants in the protests in Bulgaria (2012–2013) use Facebook as an instrument of civic activity and acceleration of the protests. The protesters use Facebook as virtual tribune and Internet forums as virtual discussions where they raise topics and conduct dialogues.

2. Hypothesis and research questions
The hypothesis initiating the present search is that the argumentation in the Bulgarian political forums and social networks during the protests from 2010 to 2013 goes through different transformations as a result of technical, technological and social factors. In addition, the traditional kinds of arguments are transformed; virtual communication includes verbal, visual and multi-modal arguments and has achieved new forms of display. The manners and modes of presenting the ideas have changed as a result of the changes in the attitudes of the e-communicators and protesters. Bulgarian virtual civil communication has diverse forms of manifestation and characteristics.

The aim of the current study is to try to give answer the following research questions:
* What was the significance of virtual forums and social networks during the protests?
* Which are the main features of virtual forums?
* Which rhetorical figures, arguments and tools did the protesters use purposefully to convey their main messages, influence the public conscience of the citizens and mobilise them to support their ideas?
* How verbal, visual and multi-modal arguments create opportunities to persuade Bulgarians to participate more actively in the civil society events? Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Discourse, Argumentation And Constructivist Approaches: Analysing Discourses Of Social Change

Abstract: My research in recent years has focused on the analysis of discourse of social change as a type of ‘ideological construction’, using a holistic, interdisciplinary approach that combines: a) constructivist rhetoric and argumentation; b) the constructivist theories of Bateson, Goffman, Gumperz and Lakoff; and c) embodied social cognition studies. This article examines the concept of ideological construction in relation to data from the Spanish 15M movement.

Keywords: Constructivist rhetoric, Critical discourse analysis, Complexity studies, Discourses of social change, Embodied cognition, Ideological construction, Socio-cognitive frame, 15M.

1. Introduction
In recent decades, research in Critical Discourse Analysis (or CDA), particularly in Europe, has shown a growing interest in political discourse in globalized, democratic societies. This, in turn, has led to a broader definition of the term ‘political discourse’, used here in the wider sense of the varied discursive practices of political professionals, and the socio-political proposals for change generated by diverse social groups, described as ‘discourses of social change’ by Montesano Montessori & Morales-López (2014) and Morales-López (2012, 2014).

Discourses of social change are ideological speech acts that call for radical social and political reforms. They appeal, in the first instance, to the country’s citizens, in order to gain support for the speakers’ ideological position, but also to government, key state bodies and other international institutions, in an effort to have their proposals adopted as policy (Morales-López, 2012, 2014).

2. Theoretical framework and methodology
This study looks at discourses of social change from three different perspectives:
1. pragmatic-functionalist;
2. rhetorical-argumentative; and
3. socio-cognitive.[i]

This triple-perspective approach illustrates more effectively why the construction of meaning in ideological discourse is inseparable from the following key factors:
a. the deliberate selection of multi-modal communicative resources;
b. human action and the local and global contexts in which the communicative act takes place; and
c. the cognitive constructions of the actors themselves. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings ~ Argumentative Moves In An Inquisitive Context About Psychological Harassment In The Workplace: A Case Study In Québec

Abstract: We summarize a recently (2013) completed doctoral research, which analyzed and commented a series of interviews led by four public servants, the mission of which was to ascertain admissibility for further inquiry, of claims of psychological harassment on the workplace by complainants, in Québec province (Canada). We combine with Argumentation and Rhetoric tools and concepts a Conversation Analysis (CA) perspective, showing how meaning obtains in speech acts constructed in interaction.

Keywords: Interviews, psychological harassment, argumentation, conversation analysis, rhetoric, admissibility, speech acts

1. Introduction
This proposal looks at argumentative strategies between complainants and investigators around harassment issues at work. A recently (2013) completed doctoral research analyzed and commented, from an argumentative point of view, a very specific corpus: a series of four interviews, totalizing ten hours, led by four public servants, the mission of which was to ascertain a first recognition of validity for further inquiry, of claims of psychological harassment on the workplace by complainants, in Québec province (Canada). The interviews having taken place in 2006, using a convention taking back accepted notations. One interesting theoretical achievement done in the research is probably to combine a Conversation Analysis (CA) perspective, claiming that meaning obtains in speech acts constructed in interaction, with argumentative figures and cues taken in Aristotle, Perelman, Walton and Van Eemeren.

In the context of a doctoral research in philosophy (Ph.D.), we wanted to study specific discourses that certainly have a rhetorical dimension: claims of psychological harassment presented by plaintiffs and their treatment by investigators. Different conceptual and methodological tools have been used, which are coming from rhetoric, argumentation studies and also from Conversation Analysis (CA). The notions of logos, ethos and pathos were examined and used in the analysis of a corpus of scripts of taped argumentative exchanges, between complainants and investigators; details and conventions utilized are given below. We will start by providing the social and professional context of the study, recall briefly Aristotle’s notions, then look at Perelman’s notion of the audience’s adhesion, with some contributions of Van Eemeren and Walton; we will limit ourselves to specific elements of these theories here. Then the research method used, by reference to CA, will be explained briefly while we will be finishing with the presentation of a few examples illustrating our main results about the rhetorical effects of narrative accounts of psychological harassment in the context of specific investigative interactions.

2. Research context
Our research context was provided by a public organization, the Commission des normes du travail (CNT), which is a Labour Standards Commission having its jurisdiction in Québec, Canada. People who have suffered for different reasons at work, can file complaints in front of that organism for psychological harassment, the complaints are then treated by professionals. Since 2004, it is possible in Québec for a worker (blue or white collar) to file such a complaint, with the aims of putting an end to the problematic situation. The law that clarifies the recourse determines the nature of manifestations that can be associated with psychological harassment; the text refers to notions such as “A vexatious behaviour in the form of repeated conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures that are hostile or unwanted, that affect the employee’s dignity or psychological or physical integrity and make the work environment harmful”, (L.Q. 2002, c.80). This sentence includes a number of possible situations which resonates with workers who experience different forms of suffering in the workplace. These possible victims can then refer to CNT as a public office, even though the procedure will represent an enormous challenge for people who feel they were or still are being harassed at work. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ That’s No Argument! The Ultimate Criticism?

Abstract: What if in discussion the critic refuses to recognize an emotionally expressed (alleged) argument of her interlocutor as an argument? In this paper, we shall deal with this reproach, which taken literally amounts to a charge of having committed a fallacy of non-argumentation. As such it is a very strong, if not the ultimate, criticism, which even carries the risk of abandonment of the discussion and can, therefore, not be made without burdening oneself with correspondingly strong obligations. We want to specify the fallacies of non-argumentation and their dialectic, i.e., the proper way to criticize them, the appropriate ways for the arguer to react to such criticism, and the appropriate ways for the critic to follow up on these reactions. Among the types of fallacy of non-argumentation, the emphasis will be on the appeal to popular sentiments (argumentum ad populum). Our aim is to reach, for cases of (alleged) non-argumentation, a survey of dialectical possibilities. By making the disputants themselves responsible for the place of emotion in their dialogues, we hope to contribute to a further development of the theory of dialectical obligations.

Keywords: Abandonment of discussion, Ad populum, Criticism, Dialogue, Emotion, Fallacy, Non-Argumentation, Ultimate criticism

1. Introduction
In this paper, we want to study the so-called fallacies of non-argumentation and the corresponding kind of fallacy criticism: the accusation of having presented no argument at all. This may count as a sort of ultimate criticism.
Generally, fallacy criticisms point out a problem and ask for repair so that in a metadialogue (a dialogue about the dialogue) one may deal with the problem. But an accusation of “non-argumentation” denies that there even is an argument. Therefore it seems to leave no room for any amendments or further discussion. Let us look at an example. It’s from the ongoing discussion about gay marriage.
When last year the Republican Senator Rob Portman decided to support same-sex marriage, the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, was asked what he thought about that. Boehner then rejected gay marriage by an expression of his gut feelings about it. This again led to an accusation of non-argumentation:

CASE 1: Gay marriage
Asked about Portman’s change of heart, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) explained on ABC’s This Week, “I believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.”
Asked if his position might change, Boehner explained and elaborated (not really):
“Listen, I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. … It’s what I grew up with. It’s what I believe. It’s what my church teaches me. And I can’t imagine that position would ever change.” (Leon 2013, italics as in the original)

Commentator Michael Leon criticizes Boehner by a charge of non-argumentation: Boehner’s repeated assertions that he feels this way because he believes this way is not an argument […] (Leon 2013, italics as in the original).

This case is not so simple as it may appear. For one thing, in order for a fallacy charge of non-argumentation to be appropriate, the accused should be in a position where he or she is indeed expected to provide an argument. A mere expression of one’s opinion, where this opinion has not been called into question, cannot amount to a fallacy of non-argumentation. Leon seems to suppose that in the case he considers this condition has been met; probably, because politicians are supposed to argue. Further, there must really be no reconstructable argument. In Case 1, however, this is doubtful since Boehner invokes the teaching of his church, which amounts to a – be it rudimentary – argument from authority. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ The Study Of Reasoning In The Lvov-Warsaw School As A Predecessor Of And Inspiration For Argumentation Theory

Abstract: The hypothesis proposed in this paper holds that the Polish logico-methodological tradition of the Lvov-Warsaw School (LWS) has a chance to become an inspiring pillar of argumentation studies. To justify this claim we show that some ideas regarding classifications of reasoning may be applied to enrich the study of argument structures and we argue that Frydman’s constructive account of legal interpretation of statutes is an important predecessor of contemporary constructivism in legal argumentation.

Keywords: classifications of reasoning, argument structures, schemes for fallacious reasoning, legal constructivism, the Lvov-Warsaw School

1. Introduction
The motivation for this paper lies in exploring possible applications of the heritage of the Lvov-Warsaw School (LWS) in argumentation theory. After presenting a wider map of current research strands and future systematic applications of the LWS tradition in contemporary argument studies (Koszowy & Araszkiewicz, 2014), in this paper we focus on the study of reasoning as one particular area of inquiry which constituted the core concern of the LWS. The main justification of the need of focusing on the inquiry into the nature of reasoning in the LWS is twofold. Firstly, it manifests clearly that apart from purely formal accounts, the School elaborated the broader pragmatic approach to reasoning which may be also of interest for argumentation theorists. Secondly, it may be particularly inspiring for contemporary argument studies because of the possibility of applying it in (i) argument reconstruction and representation and (ii) identifying the structure of fallacious reasoning.

The research hypothesis proposed in this paper holds that the Polish logico-methodological tradition of the Lvov-Warsaw School (LWS) has a chance to become an important theoretical pillar of contemporary study of argumentation. This hypothesis may be justified by undertaking systematic inquiry which would show that some key ideas of the LWS may be applied in developing some crucial branches of the contemporary study of argumentation. In order to argue that such an inquiry is a legitimate research project, we will show that apart from the developments of formal logic which are associated with the works of such outstanding logicians and philosophers as Tarski, Leśniewski or Łukasiewicz, in the LWS there was also present a strong pragmatic movement which may be associated e.g. with the works of Ajdukiewicz. Moreover, our aim is also to show that even ‘purely formal’ approaches to reasoning (e.g. the theory of rejected propositions proposed by Łukasiewicz) may turn out to be inspiring for argument analysis and representation.

In this paper, we will discuss two areas of applying ideas of LWS: argumentation schemes and legal argumentation. The aim of the paper will be accomplished in following steps. In section 2 we will sketch an outline of those research areas in the LWS which might be particularly interesting for argument studies. This preparatory discussion will constitute an introduction to Section 3 which is aimed at discussing the issue of applicability of LWS ideas regarding classifications of reasoning in argument representation. In Section 4, we will discuss the second area of applying the tradition of LWS in the study of argumentation is the domain of legal argumentation. We will argue that Frydman’s constructive account of legal interpretation of statutes (1936) is an important predecessor of a contemporary view in theory of legal argumentation referred to as constructivism and advanced for instance by Hage (2013). Finally, in the concluding section, we will sketch an answer to the question of how the two specific contexts discussed in the paper form a good starting point for a broader research project concerning application of methods and ideas developed in the LWS to contemporary open problems of argumentation theory. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Classifying Argumentation/Reasoning Schemes Proper Within The New Rhetoric Project

Abstract: Previous research on the New Rhetoric Project’s classification categories for argumentation/reasoning schemes has dismissed three overarching categories – association, dissociation, and breaking of connecting links, and focused on specific schemes proper. Challenging this communal understanding of the Project about the classification of schemes proper, this article will reconfigure the relationship between the overarching categories and schemes proper. In this process, a forth overarching category, or ‘re-confirming of connecting links’ will be proposed and defended.

Keywords: adherence, argumentation/reasoning schemes proper, association, audience, breaking of connecting links, dissociation, New Rhetoric Project (NRP), and re-configuring of connecting links

1. Introduction
Since Arthur Hastings’ dissertation on mode of reasoning was re-discovered in mid-1980s, research on argumentation/reasoning schemes[i] has flourished. Pragma-Dialecticians, rhetoricians, informal logicians, and computer scientists have written on the topic, which has helped argumentation schemes to gain presence within the community of argumentation scholars.

Before the research on argumentation schemes became significant, Chaim Perelman and Lucie-Olbrechts Tyteca examined various schemes/techniques of argumentation in their New Rhetoric Project (NRP). In classifying argumentation schemes proper, the NRP offers three overarching categories: association, dissociation, and breaking of connecting links. With association, arguers assemble entities that are thought to be different into a single unity, using techniques such as quasi-logical arguments, arguments based on the structure of the real, and arguments establishing the structure of the real. Each of these subcategories have their sub-subcategories under which specific argumentation schemes proper, such as argument from sign, analogical argument, or causal argument are discussed.

With dissociation, arguers dissemble what is originally thought to be a single unified entity into two or more different entities by introducing criteria for differentiation. Using dissociation, they help their audience members see the situation in a new light and attempt to persuade them to accept it. In short, dissociation attempts to establish a conceptual distinction and a hierarchy within what is believed to be a single and united entity.

In discussing dissociation, the NRP briefly refers to breaking of connecting links as a third category. This third category is referred to as opposition to the establishment of the connection, interdependence, or unity constructed by association.

In the first three chapters we examined connecting links in argumentation that have the effect of making interdependent elements that could originally be considered independent. Opposition to the establishment of such an interdependence will be displayed by a refusal to recognize the existence of a connecting link. Objection will, in particular, take the form of showing that a link considered to have been accepted, or one that was assumed or hoped for, does not exist, because there are no grounds for stating or maintaining that certain phenomena under consideration exercise an influence on those which are under discussion and it is consequently irrelevant to take the former into account. (Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, 1969, p. 411)

In the breaking of connecting links, audience members mistakenly accept or assume that a key entity in the premise constitutes one and the same unity at the beginning of argumentation when it is actually made up of distinctively different entities; the inferential process reveals the audience members’ confusion and advances the thesis that reveals the distinction that exists. Forcing the audience members to recognize their confusion and understand the lack of connection can be substantiated “by actual or mental experience, by changes in the conditions governing a situation, and, more particularly, in the sciences, by the examination of certain variables” (Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, 1969, p. 411).

While the NRP does not claim to be exhaustive in its treatment of argumentation schemes, the three categories seem to be general enough to encompass different scheme types. However, argumentation scholars have criticized its weaknesses (Eemeren, Garssen, Krabbe, Henkemans, Verheij, and Wagemans, 2014, pp. 291-292; Kienpointner, 1987, p. 39). A strong criticism against the NRP on its treatment of argumentation schemes proper comes from Kienpointner. He states that:

(T)he same scheme can be seen as means of association and dissociation, or with other words, means of justification and refutation. As most dissociative pairs correspond to associative schemes (which correspond on their turn to the types of warrants of the standard catalogue), I content myself to present the associative schemes. (Kienpointner, 1987, p. 283)

With this line of criticism he denies the necessity of the overarching categories of association, dissociation, and breaking of connecting links. Instead, he examines only argumentation schemes proper used for association, disregarding ones used for dissociation. Since his criticism denies the need for the triad categories and urges us to focus only on argumentation schemes proper, it constitutes a serious challenge to the NRP’s classification of argumentation. Therefore, it calls for our investigation. Read more

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