ISSA Proceedings 1998 – Cultural Reflections In Argumentation: An Analysis Of Survey Interviews

ISSAlogo19981. Introduction
For the analysis of corporate culture, researchers are in a habit to interview managers and employees, trying to find out how they experience, and relate to their work, and working conditions. Generally, researchers also use questionnaires in order to describe the organisation’s culture. These questionnaires are partly based on the results of the interviews.
In order to find out as much as possible about the employees’ and managers’ views, researchers do not take a simple ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘sometimes’ for an answer. They want to know what underlies opinions, and are in need of explanations, because culture usually is not self-evident. Thus they keep on asking questions like ‘Why is that?’, ‘How come?’, or ‘Can you give me an example?’. More often than not, interviewees are likely to explain their opinions, and to give arguments that support their points of view. Practical guides help researchers to prepare and conduct these kind of interviews.

What happens next? The researcher tries to assess the organisation’s culture using concepts like ‘formal versus informal hierarchy’, ‘pragmatic versus normative view of the work tasks’, and interpreting the actual replies by using a scale model of sorts, that makes it possible to evaluate the answers, and to compare groups of employees with respect to the concepts used. The question is, however, how do researchers interpret the answers, e.g. the arguments that support the evaluations put forward by the interviewees? Are they able to make a connection between the culture they try to describe and the evaluations and arguments put forward? One should expect the researcher’s interpretations to be presented in an explicit manner that allows others to find out how the researcher arrives at conclusions about the corporate’s culture. Unfortunately, such an underlying rationale is most of the time completely lacking most of the time.
In order to bridge the gap between the data and their interpretation, I develop a comprehensive model for the interpretation of the interview responses. Starting with evaluations (concerning work, working conditions, hierarchy, etcetera), I analyse the arguments interviewees put forward to support evaluations. I develop a taxonomy of arguments, based on the modal perspective of evaluative utterances. Finally, I try to relate this taxonomy of arguments to concepts of the organisational culture.

2. Organisational culture and evaluations
Researchers investigating the culture of an organisation, must have some idea about the concept of a corporate culture. It is hard to find a description of ‘corporate culture’ that is widely accepted by researchers, but usually the definitions contain elements like ‘behavioural regularities’, ‘commonly defined problems’, and ‘collective understandings’ (Schein 1986: 6; Frost 1985: 38). In the course of their investigation, researchers try to connect what they observe – the employees’ behaviour – with what the employees think -the employees’ cognitions. This connection is related to the theory of organisational culture that is used for the description, it describes and explains the relation and the organisational artefacts and the underlying cognitions (Schein (1986), Robberts and O’Reilly (1974), Sanders and Neuijen (1989) and Reezigt (1996)). For instance, who is communicating to whom and why to that employee, what is the frequency of their communication and why, how do they think they are able to the influence the organisation’s policy the way they prefer, are seen as indicators of one of the most important aspects of a corporate culture, ‘group relations’ and ‘group membership’. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 1998 – The Identity Crisis Of Informal Logic

ISSAlogo1998Informal logic is an area of serious scholarly study that has achieved a somewhat grudging acceptance in philosophy only recently, and is till not seen as a leading subject of research. It is not clear exactly where it belongs in the curriculum, or even whether it really a kind of logic, in the same sense as formal logic. It could fit in better as a branch of philosophy of language or epistemology, in some ways, because it is addressed to stuying argumentation in natural language texts of discourse, and it typically has the task of dealing with inconclusive arguments based on opinions that are subject to doubts. Nearly all philosophy departments teach informal logic, under some heading, at the introductory level, and these classes are often the biggest in the department. But offer courses in it beyond the introductory level.
But some would say that these large introductory courses are not courses in informal logic, and in fact, they tend to be called by other names, like “critical thinking” or “practical reasoning”. Informal logic seems to be in a kind of limbo. Some would say it is not the same subject as critical thinking, while others would see no difference between the two subjects. Informal logic seems, in some ways, more like an academic subject, or even a theory, with a particular point of view or agenda. It seems to represent a group that rose in opposition to formal logic, or at least to the dominance of formal logic in the philosophy curriculum. But on the other hand, informal logic has always had a strong pedagogical orientation and motivation, arising from a felt need about what students ought to be taught to deal with the kinds of arguments they will encounter in everyday thinking about matters of real importance. Perhaps because it has grown out of instructional needs at the introductory or elementary levels of the teaching curriculum, it has not got the academic respect accorded to the more established traditional fields of philosophy.
Perhaps for these reasons, there is considerable ambivalence and uncertainty, even within the exponents of informal logic themselves, on how the subject should be titled and defined, on how it ought to be presented, and where it should fit into the philosophy curriculum.

1. The Identity Crisis
The twelve slected papers from the Third International Symposium on Informal Logic held at the University of Windsor in 1989, published in Johnson and Blair (1994), pose some interesting, and so far unanswered, questions about the status of informal logic as a discipline. What exactly is informal logic? What are its central methods and fundamental assumptions? How is it different from formal logic, critical thinking and argumentation theory? Does it have place in the logic curriculum, and what exactly is that place? The last question is a puzzle, because although informal logic is widely taught at the introductory level, and there is a growing scholarly literature, there is no graduate level instruction in it – or very little, compared to other fields in philosophy. Johnson and Blair (1994, p. 3) write that they know of only one philosophy doctoral program where it is possible to take courses in informal logic or argumentation, while in contrast, it is widely possible to take graduate courses in argumentation in speech communication departments. Another problem is that the widely used introductory textbooks do not seem to be based on, or even very often to acknowledge, the scholarly literature in informal logic, to the degree that you think would be normal and healthy in a field. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 1998 – The Guggenheim: A Rhetorical Turn In Architecture

ISSAlogo19981. Introduction
This essay represents a preliminary report on ongoing conversations between Michael Lorimer and myself over the connections between architecture and rhetoric. Michael not only teaches architecture but he is also a practicing architect. He has designed churches, hospitals, homes and office buildings, and added an extension to the local art museum. In order to indicate the tenor of our exchanges, let me offer a transcript of a recent dialogue we had at Michael’s home over a cup of tea.
“There is for me,” I began, “a profound difference between structures designed for religious organizations and those designed for domestic or commercial purposes. Commercial buildings find their foundations in the bottom line, while Catholic and Protestant Churches as well as Taoist and Buddhist temples, by way of contrast, have as one of their purposes the inspiration and instruction of the faithful. We recognize this difference in our experience of sacred in contrast to secular space.”
Ponderous, I admit, but it reflected my honest experience and a modest amount of thinking on the subject. Michael is a good listener, but he had an odd look on his face. When I had finished, he leaned back from the table and, without even a hint of irony, responded. “There is,” he said, no real difference, from an architectural point of view, between secular and religious structures. Both take as their goal the manipulation of people. What you refer to as “the sacred” and assume a difference in the response of those who enter such spaces has much to do with structure. Is the purpose to fill people with awe or to engender a sense of community? Is it to move them, in procession, from one point to another or to have them gather together as a family? A reverential attitude arises out of certain kinds of structures and is blunted by others. Your attitude about “sacred space” is evidence that the structure achieved its desired effect. He saw that I was puzzled, so he went on to explain this in architectural terms:
Department stores, churches, and casinos all try to divorce you from the outside. None of them has clear glass windows. Airports and fast-food restaurants, on the others hand, try to move you quickly from point A to point B, from inside the structure to outside the structure. Harsh lighting, uninviting colors, noise, a clear vision of the out-of-doors announces their purpose and accounts for the response, seemingly voluntary, of flyers and customers. This all made sense to me, but I asked him if he thought that reflected what architects he knew generally thought or how they are trained in the universities or if this represented his peculiar take on
the subject.

The above is a reasonably accurate transcription, as I took notes on it during and immediately after the exchange. I report it less because I think it conveys something profound, though it certainly did for me, but because it highlights a way of knowing that precedes recorded history and continues to inform the production, reading, and interpretation of books and articles. It is a way of knowing that operates in villages and towns, developed and developing countries, among the rich and poor, those who possess word processors and those who have never heard of them. I report it because academic writing, by its very nature conceals this process, substituting in its place a product, a text flattening out everything into soundless marks on a page or, in the case of this conference, represents presentations filled, one hopes, with lively exchanges afterward into a chapter in these “conference proceedings.”
It is important to mark this product-process confusion for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to avoid the silliness that comes from a gradual disengagement from the world of affairs into a quasi-monastic retreat into books, libraries, and web-sites. Leaving off this little polemic in favor of earthy, here and now dialogue, I return to the topic of the new Guggenheim, a rhetorical turn in architecture, and the degree to which Michael’s understanding of architects and architecture, which is remarkably friendly to rhetoric, is somehow representative. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 1998 – The Irony Of “Debate”: A Sociological Analysis On The Introduction Of ‘Debate’ Education In Japan

ISSAlogo1998Man kann gerade unter dem Schein der Ausmerzung aller prakitischen Wertungen ganz besonders stark, nach dem bekannten Schema: “die Tatsachen sprechen zu lassen”, suggestiv solche hervorrufen.
[Exactly under the pretence of effacing all practical value-judgements, in imitation of the well-known scheme “let facts speak”, one can call forth such value-judgements in a strongly suggestive way.] – Max Weber, 1917

1. Recent trends of “debate” education in Japan: Through the perspectives of sociology
The aim of this paper is to present an introductory analysis on the discourses used in “debate” education through the perspectives of sociology, especially in relation to two problematiques in Max Weber’s sociology. Particularly, I like to show that these sociological perspectives are necessary, to understand recent discourses surrounding the word “dibeito”, which appeared in the course of the introduction of “debate” education in Japan.
I would like to use the word “debate” education in a rather broad sense: I am assuming here; any teaching activity that claims to teach “debate” as its subject, no matter what the connotations of the word “debate” seems to be “mistaken” from an observer’s viewpoint. Thus, not only the discourses in school education but also, for example, the discourses appearing in “how-to debate” books for the businesspeople are the target of this study. Among such discourses on “debate” education, I’d like to show that, an “ironic” situation is appearing recently in Japan, which may be hardly imaginable from an optimistic viewpoint, believing the universal applicability and political neutrality of “debate” education.

1.1 The irony of “debate”?
Since the beginning of the 1990s, numerous books that have the word “dibeito” in their titles have been published in Japan. (At least 51 books in 7 years. See the table in section 2.1) The word “dibeito” is obviously taken from the English word “debate”, and it is written in katakana-letters, a phonetic letter-set which is often used to write down foreign names and “gairai-go” [imported words], imitating the pronunciation of the “original” language.
This publishing boom of books titled “dibeito” is itself an interesting phenomenon in many senses: Quite a lot of those “dibeito” books can be classified as “how-to-be-a-successful-businessperson” kind of handbooks, which assume Japanese office workers for readers. Those business handbooks were the majority in the 1980s. Then, from the mid-1990s, “dibeito” textbooks for teachers and students in the secondary education appeared in numbers. However, interesting as it is, the publishing trend itself is not the focus here.

We like to focus on the very fact that the word “dibeito” is used. If you look up the English word “debate” in an English-Japanese dictionary, you will find “touron” or “ronsou” as the corresponding Japanese words. Books published in the 1990s have the word “dibeito” much more than “touron” as their titles.
Among those books with “dibeito” in their titles, it needs no “scholarly” training to notice that not a few of them explicitly express political messages (in the narrowest sense that can even be called “nationalistic” messages) even in their titles. Let me give a few examples translated in English: “Invasion or self defense?: White-hot dibeito on Dai-toa-senso [Great East-Asian War]” (Fujioka 1997b).[i] “To dibeito on Nippon [Japan]: Challenging the taboos in Japan” (Kitaoka 1997b). “How to dibeito on South Korea: To refute to South Korea thoroughly” (Kitaoka 1996)
The author of the latter two books, Kitaoka is introduced as “an authority of dibeito as methodology” (Kitaoka 1997a, imprint) and has indeed published many books on “dibeito”. In the text of one of his book, the word “dibeito” is even more explicitly connected with a political message. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 1998 – Truth and Argument

ISSAlogo1998Truth is deeply complicit in argument wherever logic is, for independent of the purposes of different argument kinds, in so far as they use standard logic they are compelled by its underlying theory of truth. And the notions of truth underlying the two giant contributions in the history of logic: that of Aristotle, and that of the logicians preoccupied with the foundations of mathematics in the early twentieth century – show deep theoretical and even metaphysical assumptions that make them suspect as the underlying theory of a logic adequate to support the theory of argument as currently construed. That is, argument seen as the rational core of ordinary and specialized discourse of the widest variety of sorts. Such a theory of argument with a clear empirical and practical component cannot assume the usefulness of underlying images of logic drawn from rather different conceptions of how reason manifests itself in discourse.
First: as to the problems with the logical core James Herman Randall, in his classic exposition of Aristotle, offers a complex view of the relationship between truth, logic and inquiry. The to dioti – the why of things, connects apparent truths, the peri ho, with explanatory frameworks, through the archai of demonstration, that serve as ta prota, the first things – a true foundation for apparent truths. Although Aristotle was more ‘post modern’ then many of those that work in his tradition, the archai after all were subject matter specific, the envisioning of archai readily knowable if not known, reflected a classic and overarching optimism about knowledge. This enabled Aristotle to graft a determinate logic onto the various indeterminancies inherent in much of inquiry.
Logic is central in dialogue as well: to dialegesthai, the premise seeking activity that seeks to identify the appropriate archai of kinds of things. The theory of the syllogism, along with eristics, offers the basic tools of the logikos or dialectikos, one who thinks and questions.

When all works well, the result is the demonstrative syllogism, apodeixis which shows the necessity of a that, a hoti, in light of the dioti, the cause, in relation to the archai. From whence the archai? Quoting Randall, by “”experience” of facts, by repeated observations, we become aware of the archai, the universal that is implicit in them.” Citing Aristotle: “When the observation of instances is often repeated, the universal that is there becomes plain” pp. 42-3. Such a crude inductivist epistemologically has little appeal to moderns  and offers little danger for modern views of inquiry, but Aristotle’s logic, remains within the normative core. That is perhaps even worse for understanding inquiry, for unlike the crude inductivism which is quickly seen as too crude, his logic has both necessity and inherent plausibility. The result: the basic truth structure of his logic has been built into the normative structure of reasoning from his time till now.
The problem is how to distinguish the archai from among endoxa, the merely accepted opinions prevalent at the time. Again Randall “It is nous, working with and in the midst of facts, working in the subject matter itself, that ”sees” the truth of the archai“ p. 44. Not in Platonic isolation, to be sure, but in the context of subject matter. But still, this noetic ‘recognizing’ shares with Plato’s view a phenomenological (Randall calls it ‘psychological’ (ibid.)), rather than a logical account of what it means to come to see the truth of archai. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 1998 – Emergent vs. Dogmatic Argumentation; Towards A Theory Of The Argumentative Process

ISSAlogo1998From the mid-70s onwards, in line with the “pragmaticization” of research into argumentation, scholars have felt an increasing need to turn their attention to the argumentative process. Simplifying a bit, it may be said that they worked with Toulmin’s layout, or with the topical tradition into which Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca had put new life; but they began to be interested in how arguers actually sorted out what was claim and data and how they hung together by an inference warrant, or how exactly a topical inference was based on reality or actually reorganized the structure of reality.
In a text as early as Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss’s introduction to logic En del elementære logiske emner – English version Communication and Argument -, first published in Norwegian in 1941, a point is made in favor of taking into account, not only the argumentative product, i.e., the “completed” layout or topical inference, but also the process of “completing” it. For Næss has it that the bulk of an argumentative encounter is not about argumentative support proper, but about being clear what an utterer meant when he used a certain expression. Næss introduces the four procedures of ‘specification,’ ‘precization,’ ‘generalization,’ and ‘deprecization’ by which arguers can be clearer about what exactly they want an expression to say.
Few approaches to argumentation have taken up this process-orientedness of Næss’s account, among them Frans van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst’s Pragma-Dialectics. Their meanwhile well-known and influential approach assumes that ideally a resolution-oriented discussion goes through four stages in each of which only certain resolution-furthering moves can be allowed. But furthermore, at every stage the discussants may perform speech acts specifying or precizating what they mean to say. However, these usage declaratives continue to be defined in the perspective of an argumentation that is successfully conducted to its fourth and concluding stage. That is to say, the argumentative process continues to be connected very closely to the product, i.e., the “completed” argumentation having successfully supported a standpoint which had been contested.

But, as van Eemeren & Grootendorst (1992 : chap. 1) themselves acknowledge, the connection of the process and the product of arguing in colloquial speech is not as systematic as the earlier version of their theory (1984) might suggest. What prima facie would seem to be irrelevant sidesteps or childish bickering may be revealed to have a determining influence on the outcome of the discussion (see Jacobs & Jackson 1992). A discussion about one contested standpoint may become more and more complex because clarification is needed as to some of the elements adduced in support of this standpoint (see Snoeck Henkemans 1992). That is to say, while the product of arguing is perhaps best analyzed as an inference complex that dialectically renders plausible a conclusion with the help of plausible premises, the communicative process of arguing deserves more attention as a particular kind of conversation and, therefore, is best analyzed, as are other kinds of conversation, as a step-by-step process extending in time and not necessarily being organized by a dialectical macrostructure.
This is possible with a joint dialectical and communicational reconstruction, prefigured by Normative Pragmatics as proposed by van Eemeren, Grootendorst, Jackson, & Jacobs (1993). In this framework, I shall give a different and more “communicational” interpretation to Næss’s four procedures. Thus, I will be able to reconstruct the argumentative process as a kind of communication organized, on the one hand, by a global dialectical goal and, on the other, step by step by local discursive moves. With Næss’s procedures of clarification in mind, I shall develop a tool for reconstruction starting from a model offered by Richard Hirsch in a different context. With this tool, it will be possible to show that the process of arguing is not always about the justification or refutation of a definable proposition on the background of presuppositions which are shared in principle, but very often about trying to match these presuppositions, these individual backgrounds, as best the arguers can, in order to overcome a problematic situation. In a sense, then, through the argumentative enterprise something individual becomes “inter-individual” or “intersubjective.” I shall show in this paper that this “intersubjectification” may work easily, may require considerable communicative co-operation, or may fail utterly – and this reflects whether or not at the outset the presuppositions of the arguers resembled each other closely. For obviously, an argumentation is more likely to succeed if the respective arguers’ unconstested starting points are quite similar and more likely to fail if they do not find enough common ground to start from (see, as to this, Willard’s (1983; 1989) theory of argumentative fields). Read more

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