ISSA Proceedings 2006 ~ An Analysis Of Preschool Hebrew Speaking Children’s Arguments From The Perspective Of The Pragma-Dialectical Model

logo 20061. Characteristics of Children’s Verbal Arguments
Verbal arguments are part of young children’s normal activity and are usually “rule governed and socially organized events” (Benoit 1992, p. 733). Researchers have concluded that they have a positive effect on friendships and cognitive development (Corsaro 1994, Dawe 1934, Garvey 1993, Green 1933, and Shantz 1987). Corsaro (1994, p. 22) states “disputes provide children with a rich arena for development of language, interpersonal and social organization skills, and social knowledge.” In fact, O’Keefe and Benoit (1982) see argument as part of normal language learning. Piaget (1952, p. 65) states “[i]t may well be through quarrelling that children first come to feel the need for making themselves understood”.

Children’s arguments are generally short in duration. For example, Dawe (1934) found that on average quarrels last 14 seconds, while O’Keefe and Benoit (1982) found that young children’s disputes consisted of an average of five turns. Although these disputes are not long in duration, they are powerful events. Once a dispute has begun, “any prior goal or task is abandoned and the attention is directed to resolving the incompatibility” but “[o]nce the conflict is resolved, play can once again be resumed” (Eisenberg and Garvey 1981, p.151). These verbal disputes can be considered as “side-sequences” (Jefferson, 1972), important at the moment, but with no lasting effect on interaction.

2. The Study and Research Question
This paper will report on ongoing research investigating the verbal arguments of Hebrew speaking pre-school children. The data for this research was transcribed from videotapes of fourteen triads of pre-school children at play in a playroom that was set up for the purpose of the study. The children are also in daily attendance at the same pre-school. The subjects’ ages ranged from 4 years six months to six years five months, however the maximum age differences of the children in each individual group was usually around six months. Children above the age of four were chosen since by this age normally developing children have acquired the basics of their language system (Brown, 1973). The children were all native speakers of Hebrew. While the children conducted their talk in Hebrew it was transcribed and translated simultaneously into English by the author.

While this is an ongoing study with a number of research questions, only one of these will be related to in this paper. This question is presented below:
Is the process of Israeli preschool children’s arguments consistent with the pragma-dialectical model of van Eemeren and Grootendorst (2004)? Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2006 ~ Putin’s Terrorism Discourse As Part of Democracy And Governance Debate In Russia

logo 2006Abstract
This paper [i] presents a study of President Putin’s use of the issue of terrorism in public debate in Russia. President Putin’s speech made in the wake of the Beslan tragedy, on September 4th, 2004, is examined. The logico-pragma-stylistic analysis employed in the paper describes communicative strategies of persuasion employed by the speaker and investigates how the Russian leader uses the issue of terrorism to further his political goals. The terrorism debate is analysed within a wider context of democracy and governance debate between the President and the liberal opposition.

Key words: argumentative discourse, rhetoric, pragmatics, pragma-dialectics, fallacies.

This paper is a study of the use of the issue of terrorism in public debate in Russia. It examines President Putin’s address to the nation in the wake of the Beslan terrorist attack, on 4 September 2004.

The study doesn’t pretend to be an exhaustive treatment of the topic; rather it aims to present a logico-pragma-stylistic analysis of the speech, to identify communicative strategies of persuasion employed by the speaker, and to investigate how the Russian leader used the problem of terrorism to further his political goals. The terrorism debate is analysed within a wider context of the democracy and governance debate between the President and a liberal opposition.

In trying to persuade his or her audience a skilled arguer assesses the audience and the issues at hand. When composing a message the speaker takes into account of several factors: the medium of communication (electronic mass media, print media), topic of discussion, audience (gender, level of education, expertise in the topic under discussion, rationality/emotionality, degree of involvement in the problem, level of life threat presented by the problem, etc), nature of the discussion (i.e. whether it is a direct dialogue with an opponent in a studio or an indirect dialogue through electronic or print media), applicable conventions (e.g. parliamentary procedures), and finally a broader, cultural and political context in which communication is taking place including such elements as openness/restrictiveness of the political regime, moral dilemmas and cultural taboos existing in the society, and traditions of conducting discussions inherent in the culture.

The process of assessment and adaptation of the issues to the audience establishes a communicative strategy of persuasion. The key decisions in a communicative strategy are to choose targets to appeal to and to prioritize them. While there are a wide variety of possible targets of appeal, it is possible to identify three major ones, people’s mind, emotions, and aesthetic feeling. An appeal to people’s reason or rational appeal is based on the strength of arguments. Emotional appeals arouse in the reader or listener various emotions ranging from a feeling of insecurity to fear, from a sense of injustice to pity, mercy, and compassion. Aesthetic appeals are based on people’s appreciation of linguistic and stylistic beauty of the message, its stylistic originality, rich language, sharp humour and wit. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2006 ~ Changing Our Minds: On The Value Of Analogies For Extending Similitude

logo 2006Analogies are important in invention and argumentation fundamentally because they facilitate the development and extension of thought. (Chaim Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, The New Rhetoric)[i]

In a recent article, A. Juthe notes that “it is not obvious that the most plausible interpretation [of an “argument by conclusive analogy”] is a deductive argument”; reconstructing those arguments as deductive, Juthe suggests, reveals “the perhaps too great influence of the deductive perspective in philosophy” (2005: 23). Juthe goes on to argue that “argument by analogy is a type of argument in its own right and not reducible to any other type” (16). In this paper, I extend Juthe’s analysis of analogical arguments in the interest of supporting an expansion of the category of argumentation in the public sphere beyond the traditional conception that’s valorized in Habermas’s conception of “communicative action.”

Analogical arguments may be assessed as valid, Juthe argues, by virtue of “a correlation or an intuitive connection based on our experience and background knowledge” (15). This conception suggests that there’s a major shift in orientation that’s needed to appropriately assess the value of analogical argumentation. More precisely, there are three shifts in orientation: reversing the relative importance usually allotted to properties in contrast to relations as well as to substances in contrast to events, when constructing arguments, and reversing the relative importance usually allotted to “warrant” in contrast to “background” when using the Toulmin model for argument analysis. Analysis of discussion of topics in public sphere argumentation suggests that we often rely upon analogical reasoning to propose alternatives to views propounded by discourse partners. Thus, examples in that domain inform my sense of the importance of analogical argumentation, background knowledge, temporality (events rather than substances) and relationality (correlations and counterparts, rather than identities) in mundane concept formation. It may be helpful to note that I am not concerned to reject the value of warranted arguments involving properties and substances. Rather, my interest is in valorizing analogical argument as worthy in its own right; as irreducible to other forms; and as a form of argument that bypasses what I suspect is a lurking remnant of that “perhaps too great influence of the deductive perspective in philosophy” that Juthe notices. That same influence, I suggest, may well be efficacious in what I argue elsewhere (Langsdorf 2000, 2002b) is a constrained conception of argumentation that limits, and even distorts, Habermas’s conception of “communicative action.”[ii]

This paper continues my previous work on the ontological aspect of articulation by focusing on analogical reasoning’s revelatory power in argumentation that seeks truth in Heidegger’s sense of “aletheia,” or “uncovering.” But that concept easily suggests a realist, in contrast to constitutive, basis for inquiry. Thus my initial task is to delineate the contrasts between realist and constitutive ontological starting points, in relation to dramatically different expectations as to what analogical arguments may accomplish. My further task concerns the implications that follow from acknowledging that these expectations are embedded in constitutive rather than realist ontologies; namely, we must assess their truth value by standards other than those more traditionally used in argumentation theory. In this paper I pursue only the initial task. The titles I use for the two orientations rely upon John Dewey’s identification of philosophy’s “proper task of liberating and clarifying meanings” as one for which “truth and falsity as such are irrelevant” (1925/1981, p. 307). Yet Dewey modifies that separation of “meanings” and “truth” by his recognition that “constituent truths,” in contrast to “ultimate truths,” rely on a “realm of meanings [that] is wider than that of true-and-false meanings.” My thesis, then, is that analogical reasoning’s value lies in uncovering alternate meanings by using the implicit “background knowledge” that’s intrinsic to any communicative situation. That knowledge includes “intuitive connections” that shape “wider” meanings – those meanings that propose “constituent truths” – and so “facilitate the development and extension of thought.” For that process of developing alternative possibilities and extending conventionally accepted meanings, I suspect, is crucial for that little-understood process we call changing our minds. Read more

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Daneel Knoetze – Link Between Poor Housing, Traffic Deaths And Education Outcomes

grootboomgroundup.org.za. November 2014. The 7th annual Irene Grootboom Memorial Dialogues, which explore the continuation of Cape Town’s “spatial apartheid”, are underway. On Tuesday night, the focus was on the spate of shack evictions around the city this year, and the correlation between poor, densely populated areas and traffic deaths and education outcomes.

Being poor and living in densely populated informal settlements in Khayelitsha increases your risk of being killed by a car and of your children having poor education outcomes.

These were the conclusions, illustrated by statistics, of two speakers at this year’s Irene Grootboom Memorial Dialogues, hosted by the Social Justice Coalition and the African Centre for Cities.
The Constitutional Court ruled in favour of shackdweller and housing activist Irene Grootboom in 2000. The landmark judgment outlined the duties of the state in terms of the right of access to adequate housing in section 26 of the Constitution. For instance, the judgment held that the state must provide emergency shelter for those “with no access to land, no roof over their heads, and who are living in intolerable conditions or crisis situations.”
The lectures are held annually in memoriam of Grootboom who died in 2008, without having received a house.

Read more: http://groundup.org.za/link-between-poor-housing

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Christy Zinn – Why Cape Town Must Get Serious About Land

Photo: citizen.co.za

Photo: citizen.co.za

futurecapetown.com. November 2014. In the first week of June, approximately 800 people were evicted from their homes at Lwandle informal settlement in Strand, Cape Town. It was not the first or last eviction to take place in a South African city this year. In fact, evictions happen “almost everyday throughout the country,” according to S’bu Zikode, president of South Africa’s largest national organisation of shack dwellers Abahlali baseMjondolo.

Yet the highly publicised event is an example of the vast social injustices that continue to deepen the trenches between social groups in South Africa’s cities today.

As detailed in a report from activist organization Ndifuna Ukwazi, ‘The Urban Land Question,’ published in The People’s Law Journal, Issue 2, in the Lwandle case, whereby a violent eviction took place midwinter that led to displaced families living in an overcrowded community hall for over two months, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) unlawfully used an interim interdict, which sought to stop more people from moving onto the land, to evict people already living there.

Read more: http://futurecapetown.com/2014/11/why-cape-town-must-get-serious-about-land/#.VGzVTFfF8zE

 

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Dirk Wolthekker – Ingrijpende herstructurering onderwijs Geesteswetenschappen

Foto: uva.nl

Foto: uva.nl

foliaweb.nl. November 2014. Aan de Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen (FGw) komen minder masteropleidingen. Tevens worden de bachelor-opleidingen geherstructureerd, waarbij twee alternatieven zullen worden onderzocht: de invoering van een faculteitsbreed liberal arts college en de invoering van bachelor schools.

Dit staat in Profiel 2016, het plan dat decaan Frank van Vree gisteren heeft gepresenteerd aan zijn medewerkers en studenten. Directe aanleiding voor het profileringsplan is de ‘zorgelijke situatie’ van de faculteit. FGw kampt met teruglopende studentenaantallen en daardoor teruglopende financiering door het College van Bestuur (CvB) dat de financiële middelen uit Den Haag onder meer herverdeelt op basis van aantallen studenten en behaalde studiepunten. ‘De tekorten worden voor twee derde veroorzaakt door een lagere studiepuntprijs en andere verdelingssleutels die het CvB hanteert,’ zegt Van Vree.

Daarnaast heeft FGw te maken met teruglopende onderzoeksfinanciering in de tweede en derde geldstroom en met een aanhoudende daling van de rijksuitgaven voor onderwijs. ‘Van die aanhoudende daling hebben overigens ook de rechtenfaculteit en de FMG last.’ Zoals het er nu naar uitziet zal de FGw volgend jaar ruim vier miljoen moeten besparen. ‘En als we niets doen, kan dat bedrag oplopen tot meer dan tien miljoen in 2018.’ Het bedrag van dertien miljoen, dat afgelopen week werd genoemd door hoogleraar Josef Früchtl in een brief aan het faculteitsbestuur, is volgens Van Vree een slag in de lucht. ‘We weten het gewoon nog niet.’

Lees verder: http://www.foliaweb.nl/organisatie/ingrijpende-herstructurering-onderwijs-geesteswetenschappen/

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