ISSA Proceedings 2002 – A Prologue To The Pedagogy Of Judgment

logo  2002-1My title is the pedagogy of judgment, a subject I hope is of interest since reasonable judgments represent the desired outcome of most argument. And yet, the pedagogy of judgment is seldom addressed, either in textbooks or scholarship. Indeed, I may not make much progress toward the promised pedagogy myself, at least not in this paper. But I will try to give you some sense of what is at issue, and why I believe the topic merits attention.
This paper, then, is actually a prologue to the pedagogy of judgment. That is, like the prologue to a drama, I will introduce the major actors and a bit at their history; forecast the plot and its conflicts; but, at the risk of frustrating the natural desire for catharsis, I will stop short of resolution, or even of predicting if this drama ends in consummation or defeat. Of course, to end so abruptly is to admit to uncertainty about the very possibility of instruction in judgment, especially in a post-modern world rife with incommensurate paradigms and unsure about shared standards for adjudicating controversy. As a result, this particular episode ends with the lead players in the wings, and with no Prospero to point the way to an eventual dénouement. Whether or not my own uncertainty is a sign of a more general aporia remains to be seen.
The first task of a prologue is to set the stage, which, in this case, means introducing Judgment itself, the hero of the drama, whose credits are impressive, but whose recent accomplishments may not be generally familiar.

Let’s begin, then, with the division of Judgment into three kinds:
1. a human faculty that enables sound decisions,
2. the process or procedures that result in such decisions, and,
3. the outcome or objective of the process, the actual verdict rendered.
My guide here is Edwin Black, who develops this trio through a review of the term krisis or judgment in Aristotle’s Rhetoric. Along the way, Black works to distinguish krisis from opinion and belief by arguing that Aristotle might have posited either of these alternatives as the goal of rhetoric; but instead, he explicitly states that the end or telos of rhetoric is to make it possible for an audience to render sound judgment. In turn, Black argues that such judgments issue from systematic practices that can be identified, whereas opinions and beliefs are too obscure to influence. Consequently, our initial distinction is that Judgment (at least in its classroom role) is first of all a process by which we deliberate controversial claims and arrive at sound decisions. If this process is, in fact, systematic and identifiable, then it should be teachable. But this also remains to be seen. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2002 – Pragmatic Functions Of Korean Proverbs As Topoi In Critical Discussion

logo  2002-11. Proverbs and critical discussion 
Proverbs have many practical functions in every day conversations. According to the dictionary, a proverb usually expresses simply and concretely, though often metaphorically, a truth based on common sense or the practical experience of mankind. This description, of course, explains the meaningful characteristics of proverbs, but it is not sufficient for our purpose. We are going to focus on more practical uses that a proverb has especially in critical discussion.
Critical discussion is a type of discourse that purposes to resolve the differences of opinions about issues. In the process of critical discussion, argumentation is needed that is a verbal and social activity of reason aimed at increasing (or decreasing) the acceptability of a controversial standpoint for the listener or reader, by putting forward a constellation of propositions intended to justify (or refute) the standpoint before a rational judgment (van Eemeren, et al. 1996: 5). A proverb in critical discussion does not only express a truth but also justify the standpoint advanced by the participants.
One of the major precedent studies on proverbs as patterns of argument is Goodwin and Wenzel (1979). They turned their eyes to the strategic values of the proverbs in coping with some relatively common human problem or situation like Burke (1957). The proverbs and patterns of argument that they suggested are substantive argument (sign, cause, parallel case, analogy, generalization, classification, statistics), authorative argument, and motivational argument. Their classification is really invaluable in understanding the function of proverbs as kind of argumentative schemes, but they lacked the dialectical perspectives, which we can find plainly through the data they used, you know, they depended their research on a proverb dictionary.
In order to understand the move of argumentation, I analyzed the real television discussion transcripts. Television discussion is a sort of argumentative discourse, which deals with current issues to be resolved by the participants who have differences of opinions with each other. They sometimes use proverbs to justify their standpoints or persuade the opposites. I expect that the uses of proverbs can explain some practical and cultural aspects of critical discussion.

2. Pragma-dialectical approach to a critical discussion and topos
A topos is the “place” from which the attacker can get his arguments. Some translations of the word topos stress its “topographic” nature: “places,” “argument place,” “location,” “search formula.” A topos, however, is also a rule, law, or procedure, and this is what is stressed in other translations of the word ‘topos’: “argumentation scheme,” “argumentation schema,” “argumentation technique,” “procedure” (van Eemeren, et al. 1996: 38). They use the term “move” instead of topos including these two aspects. In this paper, however, I am going to use the term topos as having similar meaning with “places” and “move” in order to highlight the fact that they are kind of idioms registered on dictionary and that they function as premises in a critical discussion.
A pragma-dialectical approach purposes to evaluate argumentation, which purposes to resolve the differences of opinions, through the procedure of the discourse.  In order to evaluate argumentation, we have to reconstruct the argumentative elements and judge the soundness of the speech acts in ideal norms. We happen to meet the difficulty in managing the proverbs that function as topoi in presenting the analytical overview of argumentative discourse. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2002 – American Itsesensuuri: A Typology Of Self-Censorship In The “War On Terror”

logo  2002-1According to an old cliché, the first casualty of war is the truth. However, when bullets start flying, dissent and debate often follow closely behind as early victims of military expediency. This is due in part to the fact that public debate is made possible by contingent norms that change with shifting circumstances. In peacetime, democratic nations identify with the processes of open argumentation and public dialogue as unifying notions that reaffirm the citizenry’s shared commitment to foundational principles such as free speech and popular sovereignty. Yet these commitments are often reassessed and deferred when war breaks out.
Numerous examples of wartime censorship reveal this as a routine phenomenon in U.S. history. Consider the Alien and Sedition Acts; the Truman administration’s loyal-security program; and information control during the Persian Gulf War (Schrecker, 1986; Moynihan, 1999; MacArthur, 1993). Each of these measures hushed war dissent by increasing direct governmental control over public discourse. In the terminology of Michel Foucault (1977), this type of overt censorship was leveraged by the “juridical power” of the state, with critical dissenters subjected to criminal penalties under the law. But for every muckracker punished under these wartime regimes of speech control there were probably hundreds of other potential critics who practiced self-censorship, holding their tongues in fear of being branded as unpatriotic or even traitorous.
In contrast to top-down forms of state-mandated censorship such as prepublication prior restraint or satellite “shutter control,” self-censorship results from tacit agreements between authority figures and potential critics that the “higher-order conditions” for argumentation do not obtain in a given milieu (see van Eemeren, Grootendorst, Jackson & Jacobs 1993: 32-3). From a Foucauldian point of view, self-censorship is thus an especially “efficient” form of wartime speech regulation, because it can be effected through circulation of “disciplinary power.” In contrast to the overt display of juridical power by the state apparatus, disciplinary power – here manifested in the ability to mobilize mass voluntary consent – is more discrete and diffuse, while also being more ostensibly consistent with norms of democratic governance.

While instances of overt government censorship in the current U.S. “war on terror” are relatively infrequent compared to previous wars, as the war drifts beyond Afghanistan, public argument is constrained by overwhelming polling data in support of the war effort and a deliberative straightjacket imposed by the Bush administration’s edict that the world sorts tidily into two camps – “with us or with the terrorists.” This dominant argument formation contributes to what Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann (1993) calls a “spiral of silence,” where pervasive self-censorship instills widespread quietism. Noelle-Neumann explains that poll-driven Western democracies experience spirals of silence when super-majority opinion survey statistics surpass their apparently neutral function as carriers of public opinion and become coercive tools of social control. The danger of voicing viewpoints outside a narrow band of acceptable consensus opinion grows. Private sanctions and penalties for dissent escalate. A hush of criticism is drowned out amidst a cacophony of agreement. Ruth Flower, director of public policy for the American Association of University Professors, contrasts this dimension of the current spiral of silence with chilling of dissent during the Cold War: “There are some things here that hearken back to McCarthyism. But this is different, because it is not the government telling the public what it can and cannot say. This is more a matter of public sentiment dictating behavior” (qtd. in Fletcher, 2001, October 30). Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2002 – Evaluation Of Secondary Students’ Written Argumentations. Problems And Proposal Of An Evaluation Procedure.

logo  2002-1Abstract
This proposal combines the critical standards we use when assessing argumentations in every day life and the formal and structural criteria we generally use assessing students’ writing, integrating not only the linguistic clues and rhetorical aspects of the text but the logical and epistemological features as well. Such a tool is indispensable to appraise consistently the progresses of the students’ argumentative writing and to compare the relative effectiveness of different approaches to the instruction in writing argumentation. It would also facilitate the students’ metacognitive awareness on the distinctive characteristics of good arguments.

To assess the progresses of secondary school students writing argumentations, and evaluate the consequences of an intended educational intervention, we should elaborate a holistic method for the assessment of their argumentative text that would help us to evaluate the progress of the students through the time and the efficiency of different teaching methods. It would help too the students, to be aware of the features of a good argumentation and to improve their performance as writers and critical readers of arguments.
In every day situations we evaluate argumentations applying more or less consciously, and with more or less precision, the instructions that can be found in many of the manuals of Critical Thinking (Ennis 1995, Helpern 1996, Hoaglund 1995 and), Informal Logic (Walton 1989) or in the Pragma-dialectical approach (Van Eemeren 1992, 2002). Although differences exist among these proposals of evaluation of the arguments, in function of the conception of the argumentation, the type of normative constrains considered, and the differences relatives to the goals of each theory. We can accept that most of the time the form in which we evaluate, for instance, an opinion essay published in the newspaper follows roughly the steps that could be enforced by many of these models. This mode of evaluating arguments is based on the combination of common sense and education.
Outside the school context, to evaluate an argumentation means to see if it convinces us to the point of changing our beliefs, to modify our value system or to pursuit its proposals. Usually we don’t worry about its rhetorical quality, unless we don’t include under that idea the detection of some trick, dedicated to hide or distort relevant ideas for the justification or the rejection of the claim. In other words, if we don’t share the extended prejudice that considers rhetoric as a quibblers’ art, not dedicated to convince through a more attractive and appropriate presentation of our ideas, with the purpose of a better communication, but just to persuade the audience at any price. Neither, in general, we worry too much about the spelling or the grammatical correction of the message, but only about its intelligibility. This doesn’t mean that the rhetorical and grammatical quality of a text, or the order in which the ideas have been disposed, don’t play any role in the exchange of the ideas in a dialogue or in the persuasiveness of a text. The risk of an argumentative text rhetorically deficient, wrong structured or with grammatical incorrectness is to fail engaging the readers’ attention, generating a shortcut in the communication. Therefore, we should not undertake the teaching of written argumentation without considering these components. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2002 – The Need For A New Rationality

logo  2002-11. Introduction
Looking for a new rationality is a relatively recently started activity in philosophy concerning mostly philosophy of science. It is certainly connected to the developments in the most contemporary natural science in the last decades of XX century. We are going to present some arguments that favour the new approach to rationality. Some philosophers of science, methodologists and scientists have been singled out as the most active proponents of the need to change the basics of rationality. For instance, Ilya Prigogine has entitled the introduction to his recent book “A New Rationality?” (Prigogine 1997). There is a symptomatic question mark at the end of this title as we can see. Prigogine is really quite justified to doubt, whether we have the real need to speak about a new rationality. However, the question mark rather stands for the question, whether the changes are deep enough for speaking about a new rationality than for the doubt, whether the essence of rationality is changing at all. We necessarily have to take a look into the traditional conception of rationality in order to discuss, if a principal alteration of the meaning of the term has really become necessary.
Nicholas Maxwell has put forward another serious challenge to classical rationality by arguing for a new conception of science (Maxwell 1998). In order to succeed in his task, Maxwell asks openly for a new rationality, claiming that classical science is not rational in the genuine sense of the concept. Discussing the claims of Prigogine and Maxwell we try to find out, whether they are asking for the same kind or different kinds of new rationality. In the closing section of the paper, we shall argue that temperate rationalism of William Newton-Smith is not really a new approach to rationality in science, but just an indication of one possible direction out of the outworn classical frames.

2. Understanding of Rationality in Classical Science
The concept of rationality plays the central role in all human activity, not just science. “In its primary sense, rationality is a normative concept that philosophers have generally tried to characterize in such a way that, for any action, belief, or desire, if it is rational we ought to choose it” (“The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy” 1999: 772). This is a pleasantly general formulation of the concept and cannot ask for any alteration. However, it does not give any clue, how to differentiate between rational, non-rational and irrational behaviour. We shall consider non-rational to be the opposite of rational. Irrational is not an issue here, as it is a principally different kind of human reasoning compared to rational. People, especially philosophers, are sometimes irrational on purpose, not by the reason that they are not capable of being rational. It does hardly make any sense, however, to be non-rational on purpose (If not a joke is performed, of course). Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2002 – Differential Argument Construction: Examination Of Attorney And Pro Se Arguments In The Restraining Order Courtroom

logo  2002-11. Introduction
This essay compares the argument styles of pro se parties (those who represent themselves) and parties represented by attorneys in a Restraining Order courtroom in Denver, Colorado, USA. We were interested in examining the extent of differences and similarities in argumentation and their implications upon questions of allocation of justice, the maintenance of a monopoly on court argument held by lawyers in the United States and, especially, the extent to which arguments by lawyers may systematically distort client narratives. Data was gathered in two years of ethnographic observation in the Restraining Order courtroom, as well as twenty-seven qualitative interviews and an examination of one dozen Permanent Restraining Order hearing transcripts. Types of representation and styles of argumentation are discussed regarding how they influence perceptions and outcomes in the courtroom.

A brief overview of the Restraining Order process is needed to understand the context in which this communication occurs. The Restraining Order courtroom is a dedicated specialized court for survivors of domestic violence to obtain Restraining Orders against perpetrators of violence. An applicant (or plaintiff) is asking the court to order the defendant to have “no contact” with her[i]. The no- contact order may be accompanied by orders to vacate shared housing, for custody of children and for visitation. This is a two-step legal procedure in which the plaintiff must come to court two times. The first day in court is referred to as the Temporary Restraining Order.  This first day in court the plaintiff is most often the only party present.
The plaintiff returns to court in approximately two weeks for her Permanent Restraining Order hearing at which time the defendant has a right to be present to either agree or disagree with a Permanent Restraining Order (PRO) being placed against him. If the defendant disagrees with having a PRO placed on him, then the case will go to hearing that morning. Permanent is, as it sounds, forever. Although this is a civil complaint, if the defendant violates a “no contact” Restraining Order issued by the court then he is liable for criminal charges.
Parties (plaintiffs and defendants) can represent themselves at these hearings or hire attorneys to represent them, but no person other than an attorney may represent them or help them in presenting their cases. The great majority of plaintiffs represent themselves in court. Those few who do have lawyers are nearly always represented by legal aid programs. Defendants are more likely to be represented by attorneys that they have hired.
We conclude that there were few differences in content presented between attorneys and the unrepresented. However, the style of presentation and, especially, the fact that one other than the party in interest is making the arguments may affect outcomes in the courtroom. In particular, when an argument is made by a representative on behalf of a party, it may be given greater credence, while similar arguments made by the party may actually detract from her credibility by playing into a judge’s preexisting conceptions about the situation of violence in the home. Read more

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