ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Controversy, Racial Equality, And American World War I, Cemeteries In Europe

Abstract: Approximately two million U.S. soldiers were deployed to the Western Front during WWI. The vast majority of those killed were repatriated to the United States and buried in racially segregated plots. Still, nearly 32,000 remain in U.S. cemeteries in Europe which are not segregated by race. Controversy may arise over the transgression of boundaries and borrow from both discursive and nondiscursive arguments. These integrated cemeteries constitute an argument grounded in materiality against racial segregation.

Keywords: argumentation, American cemeteries, controversy, distribution of the sensible, material argument, nondiscursive argument, Rancière, World War I.

1. Introduction
The American Expeditionary Force deployed more than two million U.S. soldiers to the Western Front during World War I. Despite the desire of many to leave the nearly 80,000 American dead in overseas cemeteries, the vast majority were repatriated to the United States at the request of next of kin. Many of them were buried in U.S. national cemeteries, Arlington National Cemetery for example, and, following accepted practice, were placed in racially segregated plots. Still, not all were returned and nearly 32,000 remain in eight U.S. cemeteries in Europe (six in France, one in Belgium and one in England). There was one remarkable difference between the cemeteries: Those in the U.S. were racially segregated, while those in Europe were racially integrated.

This essay examines this occurrence as a significant moment in the controversy over racial equality. Goodnight (1991, p.2) notes that controversy may arise over the transgression of boundaries and borrow from a “broad range of both discursive and nondiscursive argument.” We contend that the presence of integrated cemeteries in Europe constitutes an oppositional, material argument against the then accepted practice of racial segregation. We also believe that Jacques Rancière’s (2004, p. 1) concept of the “distribution of the sensible” offers valuable insights into the function of this nondiscursive argument.

2. U.S. cemeteries and the “distribution of the sensible”
Goodnight (1991, p. 2) observed that, “Controversies permeate contemporary life,” and, along with Olson (Olson & Goodnight, 1994, p. 249), placed them “at those sites of struggle where arguers criticize and invent alternatives to established social conventions and sanctioned norms of communication.” Certainly controversies flourished about American participation in World War I, including whether the United States should even enter the war. But some of the most interesting had to do with the relations between African American and white soldiers, black Americans’ role in the military, and the obligations and limitations of citizenship vis-à-vis African American soldiers. African American newspapers routinely reported on, challenging and praising as appropriate, such practices as separate training for African American troops, the replacement of black officers by whites, and the performance of black units such as the highly decorated 93rd Division which was attached to French forces, and so on. Ultimately, approximately 10 percent of the nearly 4 million American men in military service during this period were African American.

Even in the aftermath of the war, racial tensions, quite strong prior to American entry into the War, remained a significant factor as segregation and white supremacy became more strongly entrenched. The military reflected civilian attitudes as a review board at Fort Meade, for instance, denied the request from an African American officer to remain on active duty with the regular army, stating that he was “unqualified by reason of the qualities inherent in the Negro race” and that “Negroes are deficient in moral fiebr [sic], rendering them unfit as officers and leaders of men” (Colored officers and the regular army, 1919, p. 4). Although this ruling was later overruled by the Secretary of War, it nevertheless reflected the broader cultural milieu.

As bodies of U.S. soldiers were repatriated to the United States at the request of their relatives, racial segregation was the norm, even in death. As Francis (2003, p. 222) observed, a cemetery can be viewed “as a ‘collective representation’, a sacred, symbolic replica of the living community that expressed many of the community’s basic beliefs and values.” That reflection of contemporary social practices was affirmed in an account of construction plans for the World War I section at Arlington National Cemetery: “At the eastern point the Negro soldiers are to be buried; the graves for the white soldiers begin at the other end of the ground” (Commission of Fine Arts, 1920).

Given these practices, it seems astonishing for the U.S. cemeteries abroad to have been racially integrated and even more so for that decision to have been made by the U.S. Army. At the time of the Armistice in November, 1918 there were approximately 2,400 American burial places in Europe (Smith, 1926). Following repatriation, the remaining soldier dead were concentrated into eight permanent cemeteries. From the beginning, no question existed but that these cemeteries were to fulfill an important function beyond simply the disposal of bodies. The Assistant Secretary of War noted (Hayes, 1920) that,

the work of beautifying them may be pushed forward speedily, in order that they may serve alike as a symbol of the Nation’s gratitude to its departed sons and a demonstration to all peoples for all time of America’s response to a great threat.

The War Department invited representatives from the Commission of Fine Arts to provide guidance for the beautification of the cemeteries, and the Gold Star Fathers’ Association (Bentley, 1922, p. 51) recommended that, suitable objects of art and architecture…be produced…and erected in each of said cemeteries to depict the ideals for which American heroes have fallen and to inspire thereby the people of Europe with the lofty and unselfish purpose of America in waging war on foreign soil.

It is here that Rancière’s (Rockhill, 2004, p. 57) notion of the “distribution of the sensible, or the system of divisions and boundaries that define…what is visible and audible within a particular aesthetic-political regime,” offers important insights. The U.S. cemeteries constitute an argument about American sacrifice and artistic standards. Their “logic of demonstration is indissolubly an aesthetic of expression” (Rancière, 1999, p. 57). These “artistic practices,” as Rancière’s notes (2004, p. 13), “are ‘ways of doing and making’ that intervene in the general distribution of ways of doing and making as well as in the relationships they maintain to modes of being and forms of visibility.” These cemeteries made American sacrifice visible and formed new relationships with European audiences. The fact that they were racially integrated meant that they were able to continue their public diplomacy mission even as charges were leveled during the Cold War about America’s racial practices by the Soviet Union. One can only imagine the political embarrassment that would have ensued in the twenty-first century had those cemeteries been segregated.

3. U.S. cemeteries as material, oppositional argument
That leads, we believe, to another important function of the overseas cemeteries. They constituted a strong oppositional argument to the practice of racial segregation in American cemeteries and, implicitly, against the cultural practices which sanctioned that segregation. No clear, consistent practice seemed to exist regarding the arrangement of graves in the early, temporary cemeteries. In some, officers and enlisted soldiers were separated as were white and Negro troops. In others, all were buried regardless of rank, race and whether they served honorably or not (United States Senate, 1923). Nevertheless, as concentrations into the permanent cemeteries began, the “question of re-arrangement of the graves was taken up” by the Graves Registration Service (GRS). As the Cemeterial Division in the Office of the Quartermaster General noted in November 1920,

the principle has been laid down by the War Memorials Council and approved by the Secty [sic] of War to the effect that there shall be no segregation of bodies in our permanent cemeteries overseas, on basis of military commission or rank, etc.” (Office of the Quartermaster General, 1920).

As Lt. Thomas North (North, n.d., p. 19), ABMC, working with the GRS as permanent cemeteries were being finalized, noted, the remains “were interred without distinction of rank or race according to the regular patterns designed by the landscape architects of the AGRS.” In a remarkable silence in the archives, no indication exists as to who made the final decision to integrate the cemeteries, although evidence does indicate that the GRS was diligent in assuring that no identifying markers of race were visible prior to the installation of the permanent headstones of carrara marble. A 1924 memorandum (Canty, 1924) to the caretaker of the Oise-Aisne American cemetery ordered that the inscription on one temporary cross be changed to read “Unknown U.S. Soldier” instead of “Unknown Colored Man.”

Equally surprising, given the state of race relations in the United States, was the relative absence of audible controversy surrounding this practice within the domestic public sphere. Congressman Bland (1919, p. 4), from Indiana, did testify before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs that, “White and colored are buried alike, no discrimination having been shown.” Even in the Hearings on Alleged Executions (United States Senate, 1923, p. 493), Senator Watson attacked the practice of burying the “dishonored” dead, those identified as having died by execution, among those who served honorably, but was notably silent on the racial question:

Senator Watson. Were the negroes as a rule buried in the same cemetery as the whites?
Capt. Wynne. Yes, sir; they were all soldiers.
Senator Watson. That is all. I have nothing further, Mr. Chairman. (Wynne, 1922, p. 493)

Even the mainstream press (Bodies of men hanged buried beside heroes, 1922, p. 1; Attacks military burials in France, 1922, p. 10) reported the exchange with a focus on those “hanged for ‘unmentionable crimes’” while still noting that blacks and whites were buried together, including the remark that “all were soldiers.” Years later, protesting the segregated trips at Government expense to Europe for Gold Star Mothers (those who had lost husbands or sons during the war and whose bodies remained in Europe), the Baltimore Afro-American (Jim crowing the dead, 1930, p. 1) commented that, “In some French cemeteries Negro troops were buried in segregated areas.” It is perhaps that the potential controversy on this issue was too strong to broach in a serious public debate (Splichal, 2006, p. 109).

Even if no audible social controversy existed domestically over the practice of integrating military cemeteries in Europe, the presence of Negro graves buried among their white compatriots nevertheless constituted a powerful oppositional argument to the practice in both civilian and military domestic cemeteries. Olson and Goodnight (1994, p. 252) noted that,

nondiscursive arguments usher into the public realm aspects of life that are hidden away, habitually ignored, or routinely disconnected from public appearance. By rendering these aspects noticeable and comment-worthy, performed arguments expose social conventions as unreflective habits and so revalue human activities.

Just as these cemeteries redefined the “distribution of the sensible” in terms of relations between the United States and the European allies after the War, so, too, did these cemeteries reconstitute the political subject in terms of race relations. Those who created the integrated cemeteries in Europe were, following Rancière (2009a, p. 24), political performers

who have … the peculiar role of inventing arguments and demonstrations – in the double, logical and aesthetic, senses of the terms – to bring nonrelationship into relationship and to give place to the nonplace. This invention is performed in forms that are not metapolitical ‘forms’ of a problematic ‘content,’ but forms of materialization of the people….

Rancière (2010, p. 39) further maintains that,

Political argumentation is at one and the same time the demonstration of a possible world in which the argument could count as an argument, one that is addressed by a subject qualified to argue, over an identified object, to an addressee who is required to see the object and to hear the argument that he [sic] ‘normally’ has no reason either to see or to hear. It is the construction of a paradoxical world that puts together two separate worlds.

The presence of integrated cemeteries put together two separate worlds creating a different kind of “common sense” where visibility was conferred upon those formerly invisible and where those formerly invisible were now aware of their visibility. The headstones of white and black American soldiers, sharing the same field of honor, demonstrated the possibility “to construct different realities, different forms of common sense – that is to say, different spatiotemporal systems, different communities of words and things, forms and meanings” (Rancière, 2009b, p. 102). These cemeteries, in contrast to Arlington, shift the role of African Americans from those who are visibly marginalized (the invisible?) to those who are equally present with all other American soldiers. The totality of American sacrifice is now visible, not just to Europeans as the War Department intended, but to all Americans including African-Americans. The visible presence of Black soldiers’ headstones now integrates them irrefutably into the national narrative. As Kirt Wilson (1995, p. 206) wrote concerning Radical Republicans’ account of American history during Reconstruction that included Blacks’ role in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War,

They identified the nation and its success with the courage of black soldiers; moreover, they implied a link between the two races. In the radicals’ rhetoric, blacks and whites were alike because they shared a history and a loyalty to the United States. Just as both races had red blood, both had shed that blood for the country’s sake.

This new “distribution of the sensible” permitted by the cemeteries “help[s] create the fabric of a common experience in which new modes of constructing common objects and new possibilities of subjective may be developed….” (Rancière, 2010, p. 142).

It creates, in other words, “new configurations between the visible and the invisible, and between the audible and the inaudible, new distributions of space and time – in short, new bodily capacities” (Rancière, 2010, p. 139).

4. Conclusion

As Goodnight (2005, p. 27) observed,

The focal issues of a period may shift, but once initiated controversies do not so much die out as become dormant, only to reappear in more virulent form later, when small changes unsettle the balances of well-known paths of argument….

The absence of overt public controversy over domestic segregated military cemeteries during the inter-War period came to an abrupt conclusion when then the War Department was planning for the repatriation of African American soldiers from World War II. As The Chicago Defender (War department continues segregation, 1947, p. 10) reported, the Quartermaster General’s Office ordered that, “Present regulations, procedures and policies pertaining to segregation of grave sites in national cemeteries will be continued.” Those policies required that separate sections would be developed for white officers, black officers, white enlisted men, and black enlisted men, according to the Baltimore Afro-American (Burial rule changed by war department, 1947, p. 12). Following a national uproar within the African American community and protests to the War Department, Secretary of War Robert Patterson overturned the Quartermaster General’s office. He directed that

no distinction be made between the location of graves of officers in new sections of national cemeteries. The policy of providing uniform burial facilities without distinction as to rank or race of deceased veterans will be effected progressively as new sections are laid out” (Army drops caste system in cemeteries, 1947, p. 5).

Although it would still take more than a decade before the Department of Defense implemented the policy fully (MacGregor, 1981, n.p.), the “common sense” of racial equality seemed a bit more plausible than when the overseas cemeteries were integrated immediately after World War I. The argument forwarded by those cemeteries, however, showed the possibilities of new and different relations between political subjects and citizens – a new distribution of the sensible.

Army drops caste system in cemeteries. (1947, April 24). The Washington Post, p. 5.
Attacks military burials in France. (1922, January 18). The Washington Post, p. 10.
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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Interpersonal Argumentation Through The Context Of Distributed Cognition: The Case Of Christian Sermon

Abstract: According to the biocognitive paradigm, communication is joint activity aimed at creating a consensual domain of interactions, including linguistic interactions. Applying this approach to the study of interpersonal argumentation gives an opportunity to view language in communication as a part of social and physical environment. The most important component of this environment is socially and subjectively conditioned values, patterns of social behavior. We argue that the aforesaid component is an implicit constituent element of persuasion.

Keywords: Communication, the Coordinative Function of Language, Distributed Cognition, Ethos, Strategic Maneuvering, Topos.

1. Background
In a vast literature argumentation is considered as a rationally organized type of discourse. Primarily, it is analyzed from the point of view of the persuasive function of argumentative speech. Secondly, it is often seen as a means to resolve a difference of opinion. For the present purposes, the notable feature of argumentation is that it is seen as verbal and social activity, or behavior. In this regard, issues focusing on speech communication seem very promising as a way to tackle such problems in the study of argumentation as the production and interpretation of argumentative speech, its understanding, the problem of context, individual argumentative competence. However, despite the wealth of literature on argumentation studies, scholars specializing in speech communication don’t often seem to be working “from a clear and common perspective” (Eemeren, 1996, p. 191). So, the aim of this paper is (1) to introduce a new approach to linguistic research in argumentative interactions which is closely connected with communicative and cognitive science, and (2) present a method of analysis illustrated by examples of arguments from the Bible.

2. Three generations of cognitive science
Application of a cognitive approach to argumentation theory requires some justification. Even though speech act theory, Gricean theory, conversation analysis, discourse analysis are firmly established and well-known frameworks, they can hardly be described as cutting-edge, especially after the cognitive turn in linguistics circa 1990. Thus, accepting the linguistic component and using appropriate methodology, argumentation theory should take working of language science. One can speak of three generations of cognitive science (Howard, 2004; Kravchenko, 2009a; 2009b; Steffensen, 2012) in the context of its impact on linguistics.

The first generation is characterized as the cognitive science of the “Disembodied and Unimaginative Mind”. That is a research program pursued in classical artificial intelligence and generative linguistics which draws its descriptive apparatus from set theory and logic (Howard, 2004, xii). According to this program language is a fixed system of symbols, or a code in which “every sign form expresses a certain meaning (or a set of related meanings) attached to it” (Kravchenko, 2008, p. 54).

The second generation is characterized as the cognitive science of the “Embodied and Imaginative Mind”. It rejects set theory and logic to pursue putatively non-mathematical formalisms like prototype theory, image schema, and conceptual metaphor (Howard, 2004, xii). Language in second generation cognitive science is understood as a kind of cognitive activity (such as one individual speaking to another) that arises from mental processes. In this regard sender`s utterances trigger neural happenings in rescepient`s brain (with Steffensеn (2012) expression).

Generally, a cognitive approach to the study of argumentation focuses on the nature of argumentation mechanisms causing the change in the mental state of the addressee of the argumentative message. Hample (1985) proposes to focus on the cognitive dimension of argument – the mental process by which arguments occur within people. According to Sergeev (1987), a system of arguments is the product of mental activity of a subject of conviction expressed by the language of inner representations. Baranov (1990) provides a detailed description of argumentation interaction as a process of knowledge acquisition using the “computer metaphor” and analyzes the possibility of changing the mental state of an addressee by means of “natural language argumentation”. Likewise, Briushinkin (2009) treats argumentation as mental action intended to change the “world model” of the addressee. There are researches devoted to cognitive models of conscious and various cognitive procedures formalization. Oswald (2007) analyzes the problem of interpretation of an argumentative message, showing the inadequacy of Speech Act Theory suggesting that some module of meaning construction be construed. Korb, McConachy and Zukerman (1997) attempt to build a “cognitive model of argumentation” based on probabilistic modeling of natural reasoning.

The presented researches emphasize the common feature of the first two generations in cognitive science. That is described by Kravchenko (Kravchenko, 2009b, p. 103) tendency to consider cognitive ability with the connection of mental activity only within the heads of individuals, or at least, within their bodies (“internalist account”). The function of language in this view is to transfer messages (thoughts, meanings, intentions) from sender to receiver, which are input-output systems (the “conduit metaphor”). On this view communication is a process in which one expresses what one thinks or feels so that others can know what one thinks or feels, thus, meaning is seen as a function or translation of expression. This viewpoint is seriously criticized in contemporary research as invalidating many linguistic models. O`Reilly and Munakata (2000, p.14) associate this approach with “introspections into conscious aspects of human cognition” which are proverbial “tip of the iceberg floating above the waterline, while the great mass of cognition that makes all of this possible floats below, relatively inaccessible to our conscious introspections”.

The Third Generation of cognitive science (“The imaged and simulated brain” in terms of Howard) influenced by biological theory of cognition (Maturana, 1970) has emerged in recent years. Unlike its two predecessors, this direction treats cognition as integrated processes that take place, not only in the human brain, or body, but also in its extracorporeal environment. As such, social aspect of cognition is important. Proponents of this wave of cognitive science deny that language is a tool or symbolic code for the transfer of thoughts, rather they emphasize its embodiment and co-actionality: “concrete bodily actions, whether it involves the visible parts of the body (gestures), the invisible but not inaudible parts (voice), or the extra-bodily environmental resources” (Steffensen, 2012, p. 514). Communication, to use the terminology of the biologically oriented paradigm for the study of cognition and language (Maturana, 1980; Clark, 1997; Kravchenko, 2008; 2012), is not exchange of information; rather, it is joint activity aimed at creating a consensual domain of interactions, including linguistic interactions or orienting behavior (the “dancing metaphor”). Maturana`s concept of languaging, (Maturana, 1987) as a consensual domain of interactions emphasizes that the most important function of language is coordination.

There are publications which can be considered as contribution to the cognitive approach for the study of argumentation from the third wave of cognitive science perspective. Gilbert coins the notion “interpersonal argumentation” (Gilbert, 1997; 2003). Even though the researcher doesn`t distinguish his understanding of argumentation as cognitive related, as will be shown later, Gilbertian approach allows us to examine arguments from the abovementioned viewpoint.

Guillem (2009) examines socio-cognitive aspects of argumentative communication and raises the issue of inequality of written and oral communication. According to the author “the fact that arguing can be equated to reasoning, therefore, does not mean that it is a purely internal process that takes place within the individuals’ minds and thus cannot be observed”. As explained by Guillem, such forms of “social cognition” as shared attitudes, ideologies, norms and values are crucial from the point of view of their influence on forming arguments and their perception (Guillem, 2009, p.730).

Kolmogorova (2013) explores semiotic basis of interpersonal argumentation. The author detects three levels of its objectification on the base of empirical material – “cognitive-linguistic argumentation”, “social-speech argumentation”, and “personal argumentation” (Kolmogorova, 2013, p. 124).

Cognitive mechanism of counterargumentation in the sphere of mediation practice with applying methodological principles of social autopoesis is offered by Barebina (2013).

3. Distributed cognition and interpersonal argumentation
Biological theory of cognition is attended by many scientific directions such as synergetics, autopoesis conception, social systems theory, biolinguistics, biosemiotics, and distributed cognition theory.

Researchers of distributed cognition (Hutchins, 1995; 2001; Cowley, 2009) argue that cognitive processes are extended through material artifacts, social interaction and are distributed across time and space, allowing humans to coordinate their interactional behavior in their cognitive niches on the cultural, historical and time scales. Thus, the distributed language view focuses on language as a key aspect of social (dialogical) activity distributed over different time scales. It is a framework that involves the coordination between individuals, artifacts and the environment.

Gilbert suggested the name interpersonal argumentation for the hybrid approach under discussion for studying all aspects of social influence in verbal interactions. He demonstrates that “a narrow understanding of argument as necessarily linguistically explicable is incorrect”, thus, “argument must be understood as a broad and open practice” (Gilbert, 2003). The notion of interpersonal argumentation refers to arguments which are considered as not isolated statements, but representations of human attitudes, emotions, beliefs, intuitions as opposed to construing arguments as autonomous sets of assumptions and premises. The suggestion that several components – “emotional, visceral (physical) and kisceral (intuitive)” – are vital to argumentative communication because they affect both arguments and results allows us to analyze interpersonal argumentation as a phenomenon closely related to distributed cognition.

Applying this approach to the study of interpersonal argumentation gives an opportunity to view language in communication as part of the social and physical environment. This environment refers to various artifacts, gestures, audible and visual signals, graphics, symbols of computer technologies. All these constitute the environment of modern human being. The most important component of this environment is socially and subjectively conditioned values, patterns of social behavior, stereotypes which are distributed across the members of a social group in space and time. We argue that the aforesaid component is an implicit constituent element of persuasion which can be investigated through the category of “topos” as a part of argumentative discourse.

4. Method of analysis
The concept of strategic maneuvering as the subject of substantial and systematic theoretical research offers a method of analyzing how the arguer’s tries to reconcile aiming for the most beneficial effect with being reasonable (Eemeren, 2010; Rees, 2009; Zarefsky, 2008). As stated in (Eemeren, 2010, p. 93) “strategic maneuvering always manifests itself in argumentative practice” (emphasis added – B.N.) in the form of choice on three levels: the choice from the available “topical potential”, adaptation to “audience demand”, and the use of “presentational devices”.

The suggestion that the framework of topos is structured by modi of logos, ethos and pathos in the practice of interaction within a particular communicative context as a social system and realized in most cases by the language use allows us to analyze interpersonal argumentation from the viewpoint of distributed cognition. The implicit structure forming the category of topos as a basis of argumentative behavior corresponds with the three fundamental characteristics of distributed cognition identified by Hutchings (Hutchins, 2001)cognition is
1. distributed across the members of a social group,
2. involves coordination between internal and external (material or environmental) structures,
3. distributed through time in such a way that the products of earlier events can transform the nature of related events.

This understanding of argumentative speech through the concept of distributed cognition may be illustrated using arguments from the Bible. The Bible is frequently interpreted as “the Infallible Word of God” which is spread in the Christian society. The assumption that the Bible is a gospel message, transformed by people many times allows to consider this book as both: ideal and material cognitive artifact. This is an artifact of a special kind. It is unique because it has cultural models, ethic norms, patterns and schemes of behavior, images and scenarios that are socially and subjectively significant. The Bible is a part of the human socio-cultural environment. By stating this, we mean that a great amount of topoi from the Scripture is widely represented in such lexical and phraseological units of the language as proverbs, interjections, quotes, catch phrases, names, and historical places. Here are some examples:

(1) Spare the rod and spoil the child («Those who withhold the rod hate their children, but the one who loves them applies discipline» (Proverbs 13:24));

(2) As you sow so shall you mow («Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap» (Galatians 6:7));

(3) …by sweat of one`s brow (By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken…” (Genesis 3:19));

(4) Golgotha («Carrying his cross by Himself, He went out to a place called Skull Place (in Aramaic, Golgotha)» (John 19:16-18));

(5) …a prophet without honour («A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country and in his own house (Matthew 13:57)).

Bibleisms from the Gospel are constantly used in speech, in literature, in headings of articles and book titles, as well as in politicians` performance. Scriptural symbols, images of Jesus, pectoral crosses, ikons, and gestures were and are also part of everyday life. This internal structure (in Hutchin`s terms) can be described as an experience of inner communication with the Bible which is different for each person. Thus, we can investigate the second type of distributed cognition – the coordination between external and internal structures. The Biblical subjects can be considered as a corpus of topoi which have their spatial and temporal scale. Using the Biblical word, the arguer can appeal to ethical standards, traditions, code contained in the ethos of the Bible as a part of the topos. It gives an opportunity to effect the addressee through appealing to authority of the Bible (using authoritative arguments in classical taxonomy). Intellectual, semantic, historical component potentiates various strategies of argumentation.

The conception of strategic maneuvering enables us to analyze how the arguer uses the topical potential of the Bible and its presentational devices (direct quotation, lexical and phraseological units) to reach the most satisfactory outcome of argumentative speech.

The result of argumentative speech depends on how the field of audience interaction with the Bible is formed. Arguments from the Bible addressed to an audience of mixed religious beliefs (non Cristians and non believers), are somewhat able to affect it. As shown above, the domain of interaction with the biblical texts to a greater or lesser extent, has been formed as part of the human social environment. However, such arguments can be considered as a guide to action for deeply religious people, and they believe that “the Word of God” changes human way of thinking.

We will analyze the argumentative passage of Christian sermon “When Hope Is Dead, Hope On!”. The author William E. Sangster was one of the great British Methodist preachers of the 20th century. This message was preached for the British people during the most difficult periods of the World War II.

1 Many people think of hope as a poor, precarious thing, an illusion, a vanity, a disease of the mind. The cynic has said, “He, who lives on hope, will die starving”. Cowly said, “Hope is the most hopeless thing of all”. The soldier is apt to turn bright promises aside with a despondent question, “What hopes?”. Schopenhauer, the
5. distinguished German philosopher, looked upon hope as the bait by which nature gets her hook in our nose, and makes it serve her interests, though they may not be our own. That is the common assessment of hope in the world – a poor, vain, deceptive thing.
But hope is not so thought of in the New Testament. Paul makes Faith, Hope, and
10 Love the cardinal virtues of Christendom. “And now abideth faith, hope, love”. He speaks also of “the patience of hope” and of “hope that maketh not ashamed”. All through the New Testament, hope is spoken of in that same high way. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews bursts out into that daring paradox, “A hope both sure and steadfast”.
15 Now, how did this sharp contrast arise? An illusion: a steadfast reality. A dream: a fact. A disease of the mind: a cardinal virtue. Hope cannot be both. Is the world right, or the New Testament? Is it a bit of folly or is it precious beyond price? What is the solution of the dilemma?
The answer is not difficult. They are talking of different things. There is a higher
20 and a lower hope. There is a genuine quality and a counterfeit. There is a real article and a substitute. There is gold and there is gilt. Let us look at each of them in turn…

In accordance with the chosen method of analysis we will show how the arguer strategically uses the topical potential, adapts his message to the views and preferences of the audience and exploits some presentational devices. Analytically, four stages can be distinguished both in an argumentative dialogue and a monologic message. The presented passage is a confrontation stage in which a difference of opinion manifests itself through an opposition between one or more standpoints.

4.1. Strategic maneuvering evaluating
From the available topical potential the arguer selects the most appropriate topos for the audience under the circumstances which is connected with the theme of hope.

One of the presentational devices is an antithesis arising from contraposition of two opponents opposing (World and New Testament) in regard to how hope should be understood. The author forms a kind of argumentative dialogue (lines 1-14) between the first side members (people, cinic, soldier, scientists) and the second one (Apostle Paul, the text of New Testament, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews). Among the other presentational device one can note a hypothetical question and the antithesis on the phrasal level (line 4-18).

The statements from the first group are put forward as arguments (line 1-4) for better adapting the chosen topos, while the arguer mentions an entire audience, each member of which can be the author of these statements. A slight shift towards rhetorical aim is being traced, that is, strategic maneuvering in regard to the position of this party, known as “Hasty Generalization” fallacy. Dialectically it is not correct to posit that “the common assessment of hope in the world” as “a poor, vain, deceptive thing” based on the opinions of people listed is totally accepted. However, in accordance with the objectives of the article, it is more interesting for us to analyze the strategic use of topical potential of the sermon. The theme chosen by Sangster rather presupposes an appeal to emotions and intuition (ethos) than to logic (logos). It is known that there are several hundred topoi in the Bible related to the theme of hope These topoi are a kind of figures of scenes with their spatial and temporal scales. This allows the author, by quoting from the Scripture, to expand the topical potential of the sermon so as to form a series of disagreements between the two groups («An illusion: a steadfast reality. A dream: a fact. A disease of the mind: a cardinal virtue») and perform the aim of argumentative message at the given stage.

Obviously, the purpose of the whole speech is to convince the audience to think and act in a certain way and also to renew and strengthen their faith.

Realization of the third principle of the distributed cognition phenomenon, when earlier events, mentioned in the Books of the Scripture affect the subsequent events in people`s life, is clearly seen using this example.

5. Conclusion
Going back to the purposes of the article, we claim that the presented approach still requires a thorough scientific reflection. However, we can say that it opens a new vista of argumentation study in the aspect of communication. For instance, the biocognitive paradigm and in particular the theory of distributed cognition offers an alternative to transmission model of communication and dissolves the traditional divisions between the inside/outside boundary of the individual and the socium/cognition distinction.

An important conclusion is the fact that the fields of argumentation studies and communication studies have much to gain from one another. The biocognitive theory and its accompanying research areas have strong explanatory potential in explaining the issues in the argumentative communication functioning in various fields of human activities. The argumentative discourse by virtue of its tough addressing presents a fruitful ground for investigation the language orienting function.

We argue that ethos, which is realized in the socially and subjectively conditioned values, shared by members of a community, patterns of behavior, some stereotypes, images while being one of the constituent of the category topos, is also an implicit component of persuasion in interpersonal argumentation.

It is noteworthy that the concept of strategic maneuvering, which postulates that in the argumentative discourse the arguer`s goal – to win the debate, to convince the audience is always traced, confirms the conclusion of even a radical variant of biocognitive theory concerning the adaptive function of language.

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Delineating The Reasonable And Rational For Humans

Abstract: The notions of “rational” and “reasonable” have much in common but are not synonymous. Conducting a review of the literature points to (at least) two distinct but related ideas as well as a middle “grey” area. This paper investigates and compares some characterizations of these notions and defends the view that focusing on reasonableness is best for those interested in human instances of reasoning and argumentation.

Keywords: argumentation theory, consistency, human, rational, reasonable.

1. Introduction
Glenn Greenwald, while speaking of his and his colleague Laura’s initial gut instinct affirming the credibility of the leaker who would later be revealed as Edward Snowden, explains that, “[r]easonably and rationally, Laura and I knew that our faith in the leaker’s veracity might have been misplaced” (2014, p. 13). Greenwald then goes on to offer reasons for this claim, such as not knowing the leaker’s name, recognizing the possibility that the leak could be an attempt at entrapment, or that the leaker could be someone just looking to ruin their credibility. As an accomplished journalist, author, and former litigator, Greenwald is no stranger to recognizing the importance of words, their definitions, and how they are received by his audience. Thus, I suspect he articulated the possibility of his and Laura’s error on both reasonable and rational grounds for a reason, even though he does not provide an explanation regarding the difference between them.

As van Eemeren and Grootendorst have pointed out, “[w]ords like “rational” and “reasonable” are used in and out of season in ordinary language. It is often unclear exactly what they are supposed to mean, and even if it is clear, the meaning is not always consistent” (2004, p. 123). Accordingly, the point of this paper is to investigate some of the differences between the ideas of the reasonable and rational from a philosophical perspective, but which I hope will also sound reasonable to the everyday language user. In what follows I will argue that there is some consistency in the two related but distinct ideas which emerge across a variety of texts. I will further argue that the notion of the rational is typically narrower than the notion of the reasonable and that those interested in investigating human reasoning and argumentation ought to focus on reasonableness. In order to proceed, I will start the second section by reviewing some characterizations of the notion of rationality. The third section, then, will discuss the notion of the reasonable, followed by a comparison of the two ideas in the fourth section. The conclusion will summarize the arguments presented and indicate avenues for future research.

2. The rational
These days, discussions of the meaning of “rational” and what it is to be rational or to think or act rationally, commonly occur in economic and philosophical circles. While clearly there is not time enough to cover all of the conceptions of rationality which have been offered, in what follows I will use a general discussion provided by Amartya Sen which allows for easy connection to other views.

In his introduction to the book Rationality and Freedom, Sen notes that there are three common views of rationality described as “rational choice”. They are
1. internal consistency,
2. self-interest maximization, and
3. maximization in general.

Internal consistency is described as the assessment of the relation between choices in different situations, comparing what are chosen from different sets of alternatives entirely in terms of the choices themselves (2002, pp. 19-20). In other words, they are internal “in the sense that they require correspondence between different parts of a choice function, without invoking anything outside choice (such as motivations, objectives and substantive properties)” (p. 122).

Leaving aside discussion of the term “internal” from the economic literature, the notion of consistency is crucial for some explanations of rationality found in philosophy. For example, consistency is a dominant idea in what has been referred to as formal deductive logic, mathematical logic, or the introductory level of these topics, ‘baby logic. All of these views support the notion that an argument is considered rational to the extent that the premises are true and the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises (Johnson, 2012, p. 121). This consistency is ensured through the application of formally valid rules of logic, demonstrable through the use of truth tables and other theoretical apparatus.[i]

In terms of dialogue logic, rationality is also evaluated according to consistency. In the basic case of a simple question and answer dialogue that only permits ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, “The questioner’s objective is to force the answerer to affirm a proposition that implies the denial of some proposition that he or she had earlier answered” (Blair, 1998, p. 327). In other words, the questioner attempts to have the answerer provide inconsistent answers.

Finally, John Broome also highlights the importance of consistency to rationality as a matter of requirement. For Broome, the property of rationality is defined by the requirements of rationality, so listing those requirements is the way to describe it (2013, p. 149). Importantly, while he admits to providing only an incomplete list of requirements, his first four requirements of synchronic rationality (attitudes at a single time) have to do with consistency and deduction (pp. 149ff). For example, the requirement of No Contradictory Beliefs says that “rationality requires of N that N does not believe at t that p and also believe at t that not p” (p. 155).[ii] As well, as the Modus Ponens Requirement states that “Rationality requires of N that, if N believes at t that p, and N believes at t that if p then q, and if N cares at t whether q, then N believes at t that q” – in short, that Modus Ponens holds (p. 157).

Returning now to Sen’s discussion, given the difficulty in assessing the consistency of choices without invoking an outside principle, Sen claims that it is the second view of rationality that has dominated contemporary economics (2002, p. 22). Rationality on this view is the “intelligent pursuit of self-interest” wherein “the individual may value anything, but in this view he chooses entirely according to his reading of his own interests” (p. 23). One main difficulty with this view of rationality is the observed fact that people often work in cooperation and in situations counter to self-interest. For example, people often refrain from littering even if no one is around who might judge them if they were seen. A further problem is that such a view of rationality, because it comes from economic models, is focused on behaviour and action, i.e. practical reasoning and it says very little about the beliefs people come to, or their theoretical reasoning.

The third commonly held view, maximization in general, allows for people to act in cooperative and morally good ways – for example, by working toward a maximization of social welfare (p. 37). Such morality is, however, far from necessary. As Sen points out, “maximizing behavior can sometimes be patently stupid and lacking in reason assessment depending on what is being maximized” (p. 39). For this reason, as well as the reasons above,[iii] Sen rejects these three views as providing a sufficient account of rationality, even though he grants maximization in general the role of a necessary condition.

Instead, Sen champions a much broader view of rationality, interpreted, “as the discipline of subjecting one’s choices – of actions as well as of objectives, values and priorities – to reasoned scrutiny… as the need to subject one’s choices to the demands of reason.” (p. 4). On this view, rationality is not a formula or an essentialist doctrine, but rather, uses “reasoning to understand and assess goals and values, and it also involves the use of these goals and values to make systematic choices” (p. 46). Thus for Sen, rationality extends as far as, and into all the domains, that reason does.

Placing reason and reasons at the centre of rationality is relatable to another description of rationally found in argumentation theory, namely Johnson’s theory of Manifest Rationality. Building upon Siegel’s view that, “[w]e need an account of rationality which recognizes various sorts of reasons and which provides insight into the nature and epistemic force of reasons, and which affords the possibility of the rational scrutiny of ends” (1988, p. 131), Johnson describes rationality as “the disposition to, and the action of, using, giving, and-or acting on the basis of reasons” (2000, p. 161). Providing reasons, for example as a premise conclusion complex, is what Johnson calls the illative core. The correct employment of the illative, however, is not by itself sufficient for rationality (p. 165). The important role of scrutiny referred to by both Sen and Siegel also appears under the title of the dialectical tier. Both the illative core and the dialectical tier are a part of argumentation and rationality becomes manifest through argumentation.

Argumentation on this view is teleological and dialectical, that is, is aimed at the rational persuasion of another. Argumentation, then, embraces, increases, and exhibits rationality while depending on the mutual rationality of an Other. This Other, is the source of reasoned scrutiny and responding to them is a central feature of manifest rationality (pp. 159-164). Although Johnson does not say it explicitly, it seems then that on this view one can be considered rational to the extent to which they accurately function with both the illative core and dialectical tier of argumentation.

Both Siegel (pp. 127ff.) and Johnson (2000, p. 14) explicitly highlight that understanding rationality in this way is important for allowing moral considerations into descriptions of rationality and thus overcoming the instrumental conceptions of rationality outlined earlier. For them, rationality is more than finding the most efficient means to your end. It is about the appropriate use and appropriate scrutiny of reasons and reasoning in all of the fields they may be used.

So much for our limited discussion of rationality. The notion of the critical scrutiny of another provides a nice link, however, with one of the most prominent views of reasonableness found in argumentation theory, the pragma-dialectical view developed by Frans van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst, the topic to which we now turn.

3. The reasonable
As one of the most well-known theories of argumentation in the world, the pragma-dialectical theory places the notion of reasonableness at its core. After rejecting the “geometrical” (formally logical) approach and “anthropological” (audience relative) approach, van Eemeren and Grootendorst defend the “critical-rationalist” view of reasonableness which “proceeds on the basis of the fundamental fallibility of all human thought” (2004, p. 131) and attributes “value both to the formal properties of arguments and to the shared knowledge that is necessary to achieve consensus” (p. 129). Reasonableness on this view is achieved though conducting a critical discussion aimed at the resolution of a difference of opinion on the merits. Together, these characteristics mean that any topic of disagreement is open for discussion and reasonableness is determined according to how well or poorly the ideal model for a critical discussion is followed. Thus, reasonableness is viewed as a gradual concept (p. 16).

Further, critical-rationalists hold that “the dialectical scrutiny of claims in a critical discussion boils down to the exposure of (logical and pragmatic) inconsistencies” (p. 132). Van Eemeren and Grootendorst are clear, however, that “[a] procedure that promotes the resolution of differences of opinion cannot be exclusively confined to the logical relations by which conclusions are inferred from premises. It must consist of a system of regulations that cover all speech acts that need to be carried out in a critical discussion to resolve a difference of opinion” (p. 134). Broadening the ground for regulations to all speech acts allows for extra-logical instances of unreasonableness, sometimes known as informal fallacies, such as the use of force.

The discussion above regarding rationality touched upon what has been referred to here as the “geometrical” view. We have also now just reviewed the basics of the “critical-rationalist” position, leaving us still to review what has been called the “anthropological” view. This view, attributed most commonly to Perelman and Perelman and Obrechts-Tyteca places the audience at the center of the notion of reasonableness, thus earning it the title “anthropological”. What is reasonable, then, is audience dependant. Perelman states, “a rule of action defined as reasonable or even as self-evident at one moment or in a given situation can seem arbitrary and even ridiculous at another moment and in a different situation” (1979, p. 119). As we can also gather from this quote, in addition to the flexibility of the audience as determiner of reasonableness, the speaker must also be flexible with any rules of reasonableness. Thus, both rules and audience are context sensitive and play a role in determinations of reasonableness. On this view, the reasonable man, says Perelman, “is a man who in his judgements and conduct is influenced by common sense” (p. 118).

Nevertheless, on this view reasonableness is not so relativistic as to remain empty, since if everyone is reasonable, or has common sense, then to be reasonable is to “search, in all domains…for what should be accepted by all” (ibid). Reasonableness carries across instances because “what is reasonable must be a precedent which can inspire everyone in analogous circumstances” (p. 119. See also, Tindale, 2010)

4. Comparison
After reviewing such an array of viewpoints, a few comparative observations can be made. First, the first view of rationality, internal choice, seems to be in hard opposition to the last view of reasonableness, dubbed the anthropological view. Indeed, Perelman seems to have had this view of rationality in mind when he declared that, “[t]he rational corresponds to mathematical reason, for some a reflection of divine reasons, which grasps necessary relations” (p. 117). However, the two middle views presented, manifest rationality and critical-rationalist reasonableness, do not seem nearly as far apart.

What then are the characteristics of comparison from which we can assess the distance in views? Given this literature review a few characteristics stand out more clearly than others. The first is consistency. While a whole book (or more!) could be written about the role of consistency in notions of the rational and reasonable, I will limit that discussion here to only say that it seems to me that consistency is the ‘God’ of rationality, but only a ‘god’ for reasonableness. In other words, on the far side of notions of rationality, if consistency is violated, then immediately so too is rationality. On the far side of reasonableness, however, if consistency is violated, it may constitute pause for concern or questioning, but it far from immediately dismisses a positive evaluation of reasonableness.

The second characteristic is humanity. On the far side of rationality, humanity makes no appearance. Logic is true regardless of if there is a human mind to think it, or err in it. One of rationality’s greatest advantages is its independence from human fallibility. In this realm, calculations trump creativity and deduction holds in all possible worlds. On the other side, “reasonableness should contribute to the idea of the human” (Tindale, 1999, p. 202) and the idea of the human involves moral considerations crucial to reasonableness but nearly absent in rationality (see Boger, 2006).

When we move in from the ends, however, things are not so clear. Indeed there are aspects of Johnson’s theory of Manifest Rationality which clearly overlap with what has here been described as reasonableness. On the other side, the pragma-dialectical critical-rationalist view of reasonableness shares some clear overlap with some aspects which have here been identified under the title of rationality. For Johnson, manifest rationality calls for scrutiny which opens the door for morality, both of which are foreign to the far side of rationality but welcomed in reasonableness. For pragma-dialectics, the rigid dictate to attempt to meet ideal rules and the focus on consistency, rings closer to the notions of rationality we have discussed than to those found on the far side of reasonableness (van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 2004, pp. 16, 132).

Aside from being an interesting literature review, one might wonder why this matters for those working on reasoning and argumentation. Part of my interest in the topic began as response to the questions I received after telling people I was working on practical reasoning evaluation. For some, that meant I was working on topics like decision theory as found in economics. On this view, clearly the universal reach of mathematical reason holds the superior position for evaluating decisions over the fallibility of mere human thought. And there is much credit to such a view. For others, it meant I was studying psychology, and how dare I feel pompous enough to offer advice on what counts as reasonable, especially across a variety of contexts! And there is something to this view as well. One of the lessons I took from these sorts of comments is that the same words indicate for people very different ideas.

I then thought, given that argumentation theorists call their theories, or at least describe the results of argumentation evaluation, rational and/or reasonable, perhaps there is some consensus there. As I hope to have shown, that is not entirely the case. While I have argued that a few general trends can be identified, many of the authors seem content to either use the terms interchangeably or to offer stipulative definitions meant only to hold for that individual work. Although I acknowledge the big gray area in-between the terms, I still think as a community we can be at least a little more precise and consistent. For example, if our work is more focused on human aspects, we can try to stick to reasonableness. If we are less concerned with the human experience, we stick with rationality.

One main reason for holding this position is because, as I also hope to have illustrated above, the human divide seems to already be a prominent aspect in much of the literature. So, going with the flow and keeping the term reasonable for that idea seems more efficient than needlessly fighting the tide. Another reason, however, is because of how I see the relationship between reasonableness and rationality.

I agree with Rigotti and Greco Morasso when they state that reasonableness “exceeds rationality, as it also involves a more comprehensive and more articulated attitude of the human reason” (2009, p. 22). This means that the rational and the reasonable are not always in conflict. Indeed, I also agree with Perelman’s sentiment (1979, pp. 121-22) that when the rational and the reasonable mutually support each other there is no problem. But when fidelity to the spirit of a system leads to what seems to be an unacceptable conclusion, accounting for the human components of the system may justify rejection of its suggestion in favour of a more reasonable alternative.

5. Conclusion
Back to Greenwald. Using our observations, can we explain why he would use both “rationally and reasonably” to explain why his faith in the authenticity of his then unknown leaker might have been misguided? According to our discussion it could be argued that since faith is not a rational enterprise, but a human one, and it was faith that he had in the leaker, he recognized that faith as irrational. Faith, which it can be reasonable to have, is then also rejected based on the reasons he provides. i.e. the possibility of being entrapped or having been set up in an attempt to ruin his credibility. Thus, both rationally and reasonably his faith in the leaker’s veracity may have been misplaced.

Given that we have only scratched the surface of such a big, but I think important topic, there are many areas for future work. Due to space and time, I have knowingly omitted some very common views on rationality and reasonableness that will have to be addressed in future work – for example, scientific notions of rationality and legal/political notions of reasonableness. A future work could study the extent to which those notions are in congruence with the observations made here.

To conclude: In this paper I have argued that two distinct but related notions of the rational and the reasonable exist. Further, because of how different these ideas can be, it wold be helpful to consistently distinguish between them. I have characterized them based upon observations from a variety of sources where the ideas are commonly employed. The two main observations I have drawn from these characterizations is that while consistency can be viewed as the God of rationality, it is only one of many contributing factors to a notion of human reasonableness. In other words, inconstancy can be reasonable, but it is never rational. The other related observation is that reasonableness is predominantly a human characteristic while rationality remains largely abstract. Finally, while there are already invaluable works and no doubt crucial works still to be done in the realm of rationality, it seems that those most interested in the human experience of argumentation ought to keep the expanded notion of the reasonable in mind as they continue to conduct their research.

Special thanks to Christopher Tindale for spurring my interest in the topic. Many thanks also to all of the members of ArgLab for their patience and supportive discussion as my ideas continue to develop. In addition, during the presentation I benefited from very helpful comments from David Hitchcock, Hans Hansen, Dan Cohen, and David Godden. I would also like to acknowledge the support of IFL-Nova for the grant FCSH/IFL – PEst-OE/FIL/UI0183/2013 which has helped fund my research.

i. It should be noted that premise consistency is not a necessary condition for entailment. This has been clearly shown via the fact that any conclusion can be derived from a contradiction.
ii. In addition to the admitted incompletion of the list, it is also important to note Broome’s flexibility on the formulation of the differing requirements. For example, he says about this requirement “… I would not object to weakening the formulae in some suitable way” (2013, p. 155).
iii. As well as a number of others which are not crucial for our purposes here but are worthwhile nonetheless.

Blair, J. A. (1998). The Limits of the Dialogue Model of Argument. Argumentation, 12, 325-339.
Boger, G. (2006). Humanist Principles Underlying Philosophy of Argument. Informal Logic, 149-174.
Broome, J. (2013). Rationality Through Reasoning. Wiley Blackwell.
Greenwald, G. (2014). No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. Signal.
Johnson, R. (2000). Manifest Rationality. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Johnson, R. (2012). Informal Logic and Its Contribution to Argumentation Theory. In J. Riberio (Ed.), Inside Arguments: Logic and the Study of Argumentation (pp. 117-138). Newcastle upon Tyme: Cambridge Scholars Press.
Perelman, C. (1979). New Rhetoric and the Humanities. Dordrecht: Reidel.
Rigotti, E., & Greco Morasso, S. (2009). Argumentation as an Object of Interest and as a Social and Cultural Resource. In N. Muller Mirza, & A.-N. Perret-Clermont (Eds.), Argumentation and Education: Theoretical Foundations and Practices (pp. 9-66). Dordrecht: Springer.
Sen, A. (2002). Rationality and Freedom. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Siegel, H. (1988). Educating Reason: Rationality, Critical Thinking and Education. New York: Routledge.
Tindale, C. W. (1999). Acts of Arguing: A Rhetorical Model of Argument. Albany: State University of New York.
Tindale, C. W. (2010). Ways of Being Reasonable. Philosophy and Rhetoric, 337-361.
van Eemeren, F. H., & Grootendorst, R. (2004). A Systematic Theory of Argumentation: The pragma-dialectical approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Can Argumentation Skills Become A Therapeutic Resource? Results From An Observational Study In Diabetes Care

Abstract: The paper describes results from an observational study on argumentation in the medical setting, which show how and why argumentation skills can become a useful therapeutic tool in chronic care. The results of the study show that the therapeutic goals of chronic care are strongly linked to dialogic activities such as argumentation, explanation, decision making and information giving. The article discusses how doctors’ argumentation skills can be improved, especially in the crucial phase of shared decision making.

Keywords: argumentation schemes, chronic care, decision making, doctor-patient communication, medical argumentation.

1. Introduction
When we consider the relationship between the study of argumentation and the professions, the legal domain is probably the one in which the usefulness and applicability of argumentation skills for the achievement of professional goals is the clearest. Such link between the effective use of argumentation and professional goals, however, has not been as clear in other professional domains, such as the medical one.

The medical profession has developed in a such a way that for a long time it did not seem particularly relevant for physicians to be also good communicators and to have particular argumentation skills (see, Moja & Vegni, 2000; Roter & Hall, 2006). The trend of patient-centered care has progressively eroded the paternalistic, biomedical paradigm, collecting evidence to show that when communication between doctors and patients is good, significantly better clinical outcomes are reached. However, it has also been observed that there is still lack of evidence as to exactly which aspects of communication correlate positively with clinical outcomes (Epstein and Street, 2011).

The therapeutic goals of chronic care are to: educate, counsel and motivate patients. In spite of these goals, it is common to talk with medical doctors and discover that, for example, many of them cannot describe the difference between the activities of information giving and argumentation. It is also common for many of them to not understand immediately why argumentation skills should be useful to them in the first place. An interesting study conducted by the Association of Italian Diabetologists (Musacchio & Zilich, 2013) revealed that diabetes doctors in Italy overestimate the effects of information-giving and are highly frustrated by the fact that after having provided a large and fairly detailed amount of data, patients still do not adhere to prescriptions or suggested behaviors. I observed a similar kind of problem when conducting individual interviews with medical staff at a diabetes outpatient clinic in Italy: the members of staff felt they were conducting rather accurate and complete shared decision-making phases with their patients, but videorecordings collected during the consultations revealed that this was not always the case.

In considering both the goals of chronic care consultations and this disconnect between what doctors do and what they think they are doing, the specific question I address in this paper is if and how argumentation skills could become actual therapeutic tools in the chronic care consultation.

I address this issue by presenting results from an observational study on argumentation in doctor-patient consultations in a diabetes care setting. The aim of the paper is to show that consciously mastering certain argumentation skills could actually become a significant resource for chronic care doctors in their effort to achieve the therapeutic goals of the consultation with their patients. On a more theoretical level, the results of the analysis show that real-life data are necessary to argumentation scholars as a basis to define more specifically the role argumentation can play in a specific context as opposed to other discursive activities, such as explanation, information giving, or others.

2. The study
The data I present in the following sections were collected within the framework of an observational study conducted at a diabetes outpatient clinic in northern Italy[i]. The study was aimed at collecting data and insights on the most frequent communicative and argumentative patterns in doctor-patient encounters in an Italian chronic care setting. The clinic is part of the Italian public system and patients are referred to the clinic by their general doctors.

All the members of the medical staff at the clinic participated in the study: three medical doctors, specialized in diabetes care; two professional nurses, specifically trained for diabetes care; and one dietician. I also recruited 20 patients among the ones assisted at the clinic: 10 men and 10 women affected by Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, whose ages ranged between 60 and 90. All of them had been assisted at the clinic for more than 5 years and they were chosen randomly. An informed consent was obtained from all the patients involved in the study and from all the members of staff at the clinic.

Data collection
Every time the recruited patients came in for a visit, their encounter with the health care providers was videorecorded. This resulted in an uneven distribution of the recordings for each patient. The recording went on for 21 months and resulted in a collection of 60 videos, for a total of about 1.800 minutes of recorded material.

For the aims of the study, I proceeded by first describing the consultations according to the following phases:

1. opening;
2. record updating;
3. discussion of therapy or of eating habits/physical examination;
4. assessment;
5. shared decision making on therapy modifications/dietary recommendations/prescription of new exams;
6. closing/ These phases have been identified by slightly modifying Byrne and Long’s (1976) famous representation of the medical consultation to adapt it to the specific features of the encounter in diabetes care.’

Given the specific clinical and therapeutic aims of each phase, in my analysis of the argumentative practices I focused on phase 5, where it was more likely for argumentation to be used. More specifically, I analyzed the process of shared decision making as an instance of deliberation dialogue (Walton and Krabbe, 1995; Walton, 2006; Walton et al., 2010; Walton, 2010). As in deliberation dialogues, also in this part of the interaction the parties’ aim is to answer the question: what should we do?[ii]. Deliberation dialogues usually develop in three stages: opening, argumentation and closing.

In the opening stage the parties agree on a common goal and acknowledge that action is needed to achieve it. In the argumentation stage, the parties conduct a discussion on which course of action is the best way to reach the common goal. During the discussion, new information is often introduced, which can bring the parties to alter their original proposals and formulate new ones. In the concluding stage, the parties agree on one proposal for action, which in the model is supposed to be a joint action, while in the case of medical encounters it is usually something that will be carried out by the patients.

For the description of the argumentation schemes, I followed the approach proposed in Walton (1996, 2006), Walton & Reed (2002), and Walton, Reed & Macagno (2008).

The next section draws on the results of such analysis to answer the question central to this paper: if and how argumentation skills can become therapeutic tools in the chronic care encounter. I first describe the results of the analysis that refer to the occurrence of the argumentation stage in interactions. I then report a few examples of doctors’ argumentation and a few examples of patients’ replies to doctors. Especially in the case of patients’ responses, the examples show that identifying argumentation is not always straightforward, calling for a wider and deeper analysis of the kind of communication activities that are performed by the interlocutors.

3. The results
The results presented here are a subset from a detailed analysis of 31 out of the 60 videos collected during the observational study. The analyzed videos concern patients talking with doctors or with the dietician. These interactions differ in many ways from the ones with the nurses, which I analyze and describe separately in a paper in preparation.

The argumentation stage
Only in 3 cases out of 31 it is possible to describe an actual argumentation stage, in which doctor and patient both contribute to the discussion by putting forward alternative proposals to achieve a certain shared goal (Walton et al., 2010). In most of the other cases, doctors argue in favor of a generic line of conduct – e.g., “you should exercise more”, or “you should lose weight” – without engaging with their patients in a discussion on specific action items. In a minority of cases, there is no argumentation stage because the patient’s diabetes is within acceptable ranges and there seems to be no need to change neither the therapy nor the patient’s behaviors.

Doctors’ argumentation schemes
In my data, doctors’ argumentation is realized most frequently by arguments from positive/negative consequences, from means to end, and from cause to effects.

In the following example[iii] of an argument from positive consequences, doctor and patient are discussing about things to do to prevent episodes of hypoglycemia, which is a very dangerous complication deriving from the sugar in the blood dropping below certain levels and causing patients a variety of serious symptoms, among which are trembling, dizziness, sweating, loss of consciousness, emotional instability, or aggressiveness. The most effective remedy when the patient starts feeling the first symptoms is to eat some sugar, but what if the crisis happens while driving, on the street, in a store? The doctor argues as follows:

“You should always carry a sugar sachet in your wallet and not in the pocket of your trousers, because nobody leaves the house without their wallet, but you do change your trousers from time to time, so if you keep the sugar in your wallet you will never forget it”

The following is an example of argument from negative consequences, in which the dietician explains to the patient why she should be careful about eating croissants or similar food too frequently:

“Croissant is not ideal for you because it is very rich in sugar and fat, and since you need to lose a bit of weight, this does not help you. If you happen to eat it on special occasions, it’s ok. But if it happens every day, it is not ok”

The argument from means to end in my data occurs almost exclusively to argue in favor of better performed self-monitoring of blood glucose and in favor of always bringing the glucometer and self-monitoring journal to the encounter. In the following example, the doctor has noticed that the patient is writing in his journal very different (lower) values from the ones that have been recorded in the glucometer. She presupposes (but does not verify explicitly) that the patient is trying to hide the very high values from her and reacts with the following argument:

“I don’t know if you made a mistake or if you wrote down a different value […], but what you write in your journal is for yourself, it’s not for me. Is this clear? We are collaborating. In this moment I am working together with you to help you feel better and have a better health. If you do not show all the information, I cannot help you improve”

In another case, the patient asks the doctor if it is really necessary for him to take the insulin three times a day, implicitly suggesting that maybe he could take less. The doctor uses an argument from causes to effects in response to the patient’s question:

“Yes, because insulin controls your blood sugar. If you were not taking insulin your values would be above 400, which can be really damaging for you”

There are also a few cases in which the doctors reason in favor of or against a certain explanation provided by patients to make sense of a phenomenon. In these cases, again, one frequent argument is the one from causes to effects, as in the case below, where the patient complains that ever since he started taking insulin he has seen a weight loss of 10 kilos. The doctor does not agree:

“You did not lose weight because of the insulin you are taking, but because the management of your diabetes is not perfect yet. When diabetes is not well controlled, you lose weight.”

In very few cases, I have observed the use of the argument from waste (Walton 1996). This argumentation scheme is based on the concept that wasting resources or efforts is negative, as in the following example, in which the doctor observes that the patient has worsened and comments:

(6) “It’s such a pity because you had improved last time”

The implicit point the doctor is making is that the patient could have done a better job at keeping his diabetes under control, because now he has wasted all the effort made previously.

Patients’ responses
As reported in many other empirical studies on doctor-patient consultations, also in my data patients are not the ones who do most of the talking. However, they do participate and one dimension of this participation that is particularly relevant to the point of this paper regards the motivations patients offer for their behaviors, in response to doctors’ noticing a worsening of their diabetes.

Most frequently, these motivations are either offered at the very beginning of the consultation, in the opening phase, or when the doctor asks to see the tests and the self-monitoring; at other times, they come up during the discussion about lifestyles, after the doctor has looked at the general situation and has begun to conduct a deeper analysis of single behaviors.

The motivations patients offer mostly have to do with social events or conditions that somehow get in the way of a proper management of the diabetes. Below I report a few examples:

“I haven’t always taken my therapy nor done the self-monitoring properly in the past few months because my husband has been very sick and I had to take care of him”

“I haven’t done the self-monitoring because I have spent a couple of months with my family in Calabria [in the South of Italy] and people were always offering me good things to eat, so then it was not the case to measure my blood glucose”

“I have been traveling often lately and when I travel I let myself go a little and I don’t do the self-monitoring the way I should”

“With the job I have, it’s difficult for me to eat properly and to do the self-monitoring when I’m at work”

“I’ve stopped going to the gym because I got lazy”

A different set of motivations refer to other conditions affecting the patient that impacted on the quality of diabetes self-management:

“A couple of months ago, I broke my arm, I was so upset, I had to undergo rehabilitation, so I just set aside the diet and the self-monitoring”

“I have been to the Emergency Room three times last month and maybe that impacted on my diabetes”

“I have had a flu earlier this month and I think that caused my sugar values to become higher”

4. Discussion
I now turn to discuss the results of the analysis in view of the question I set out to answer: can argumentation skills become a therapeutic resource?, by highlighting how and why argumentation in this kind of encounters could be improved.

First, the analysis showed that a complete and effective argumentation stage is almost always missing in the interactions. Literature on shared decision making in the medical encounter has shown a high positive correlation between the presence of shared decision making and patient outcomes, especially patient self-efficacy (Heisler et al., 2013; Lafata et al., 2013; Epstein and Gramling, 2013)[iv] As the model of the deliberation dialogue shows, effective shared decision making is based on the ability to use argumentation as a means to support or criticize proposed lines of conduct, therefore it would be crucial for medical doctors to become aware of the process and be able to activate it and conduct it in ways beneficial to patient active participation.

Secondly, in the previous section I reported a description of the argumentation schemes that are frequently used by the doctors in my data. I don’t think these argumentation schemes pose problems of acceptability or validity, but I believe that in some cases they do at least open questions regarding their effectiveness. If we consider the argument from positive/negative consequences, we know it presupposes agreement between the parties on what is considered positive or negative, on what is considered better or worse. In the data, discussions on value hierarchies never emerge and the value of good health above everything else is taken for granted. This may be correct in a general sense, but diabetes is a disease that does not have particularly annoying symptoms until it is too late. It is likely that patients tend to underestimate the risks connected to their condition because actually they are feeling pretty good, and therefore the possibility of eating a croissant (example (2)) every now and then in practice is placed above the value of good health, simply because the risk connected to eating the croissant is underestimated. This hypothesis is supported by empirical research in the field of psychology, showing that in making decisions people tend to underestimate the probabilities of failure of complex systems, believing that it is more likely for one part at a time to stop functioning (among others, Tversky and Kahneman, 1974). Unfortunately uncontrolled diabetes will impact on eyes, heart, kidneys and nerves all at the same time, leading to the system’s complete failure in the long run. Therefore, also in this case, the awareness of the importance of agreement on values as a precondition for the effectiveness of the argument from positive/negative consequences seems to be a skill that is lacking and that could be very useful to doctors.

Regarding the use of the argument from means to end, the question arises whether the importance of the end is actually shared by the parties. In example (3), the doctor argues that the patient should report in his journal his exact values, because otherwise she – in her capacities of doctor and counsellor – will not be able to help him appropriately. This end may not be shared by the patient, who might have an understanding of the doctor’s role as that of a ‘controller’ rather than a ‘helper’. Indeed, in a few other encounters the patients expressed quite clearly their perception of the doctor as the person who not only guides but also controls them. Evidence needs to be collected regarding patients’ perceptions of doctors’ authority in order to determine the effectiveness potential of the argument from means to end used in this way.

The argument from cause to effect is often necessary as a means of patient education: but are causal relations regarding scientific phenomena always understood by patients? Examples (4) and (5) provide rather clear causal correlations, but would it help the patient to understand why and how insulin keeps the blood sugar down? Or why and how uncontrolled diabetes makes him lose weight? Maybe it would, at least according to researchers in education, who show that understanding is at the heart of behavior change (Asterhan and Schwartz, 2009). Other scholars in the same field have also collected evidence to show that understanding is not improved by listening to explanations about phenomena but by talking about phenomena and their causes (De Vries, Lund and Baker, 2002).

Finally, I point out an analytical difficulty that emerged in relation to the description of doctors’ argumentation practices. There are many cases in the data in which it is very difficult to decide whether we are looking at instances of argumentation or explanation. Typically, these are cases in which patients are not doing well clinically and have not adhered to the recommended behaviors (correct self-monitoring; lifestyle changes). In almost all of these cases, the doctors assess the situation and then start providing information about the causal relations between the correct behavior and the possibility to achieve a better health condition, while the patients remain silent. From the point of view of the analysis, the difficulty is posed by the fact that in order to describe these causal relations as instances of explanations or argumentation we would need to know what the doctor had in mind, i.e. if she presumed to be addressing a misunderstading – in which case her response would function as an explanation – or a disagreement – in which case, her response would function as an instance of argumentation.

Also regarding the examples showing patients’ responses to doctors, a similar question arises: should patients’ responses be accounted for as instances of argumentation? If so, which are the standpoints being supported or criticized? Are patients casting doubt on the doctors’ points of view or are they doing something else?[v]

If we take examples (7) to (11) and consider them in the context of the interactions in which they occur, it is very difficult to describe them as moves aimed at casting doubt on the doctors’ claim that the self-monitoring has not been done correctly, that the diet needs to be followed more accurately, or that exercising more is necessary. Rather, they look more like instances of dispreferred responses, i.e. turns in which a party is in a position to provide the response that is considered to be contrary to the interlocutor’s expectations (Pomerantz and Heritage, 2013; Pomerantz, 1984).

Are the patients therefore not arguing? And if not, what are they doing? My understanding is that patients in these cases are using argumentation but not with the aim of making a conceptual point, rather in favor of behaviors that can be generally defined as ‘incorrect’, except in the specific circumstances described in each case. What the patients seem to be saying is that since the contextual conditions in which they found themselves had temporarily changed a behavior that would normally have been considered as unacceptable could be excused. This strategy probably has a main face-saving function and the doctors must be somehow aware of it because they seldom press the patients to admit that their behaviors were actually not excusable. Instead, they either change the subject, or just put forward rather generic recommendations to behave differently from now on. In spite of being socially preferred, perhaps this kind of reaction from the doctors is not the most functional to the attainment of the therapeutic goal of patient education, because the special conditions the patients in examples (7)-(11) describe are precisely the kind of conditions in which one should keep his/her diet, exercise and self-monitoring even more under control. A potential misunderstanding of the nature of their disease underlies these patients’ motivations, but the doctors do not seem to perceive it and they do not address it.

As regards the other set of examples, (12)-(14), I consider them different from the previous ones because they aim at describing a relation of cause-effect between an additional health condition and a change in the sugar values. They look more like explanations and indeed in these cases the doctors responded by accepting them and providing argumentation to support them, thus fulfilling their goal of patient education.

In summary, the set of examples regarding patients’ responses shows patients arguing that in certain specific circumstances a normally unacceptable behavior could be accepted. In other words, patients show how their ‘lifeworld’ is impacting on the self-management of their diabetes, disclosing important information in relation to their lifestyles. The potential for an instructive and constructive discussion on what is the best line of conduct even in those exceptional circumstances is there, but doctors rarely see it and take advantage of it.

Finally, in many cases, patients’ accounts for their behaviors are provided at the very beginning of the consultation or just as the doctors are beginning to analyze the patient’s clinical picture. These cases are very interesting because they are usually preceded by some form of self-accusation, which triggers always the socially preferred reaction of the doctors who immediately disagree with the self-accusation (Pomerantz, 1984). The problem is that this ‘social game’ seems to ‘distract’ the doctors from their clinical goal, which is to assess the reasons why the patient believes s/he has not behaved properly. This almost never happens, and the patients are excused but not further questioned about their behaviors.

The observational study on which this paper is based has of course a few limitations. First, it did not aim at quantitative representativeness. The data were collected in only one clinic and a somewhat peculiar one, as it is not the norm for diabetes doctors in Italy to be working in such a big team of professionals.

Secondly, the medical staff at the clinic had all had some training at different moments in their professional life on patient-centered care or communication with patients. It would be interesting to observe the communication practices of doctors with no such training.

I did not have the possibility to collect feedback from the patients regarding their perceptions on the encounters with the doctors, which would also have been interesting for a deeper understanding of the dynamics within the encounter.

Finally, it was not always possible to place the videocamera so as to make it totally unobtrusive. The videos give the impression that this did not substantially alter the spontaneity of the interactions, but of course this cannot be proved in any way and it may well be that without the camera in place the persons involved would have behaved differently.

5. Conclusions
Can argumentation skills become a therapeutic resource? Could argumentation skills become a normal professional asset for chronic care doctors? I believe even the limited results reported in this contribution point in the direction of an affirmative answer to these questions. Becoming aware of and mastering argumentation skills could actually provide chronic care doctors with crucial tools for the achievement of therapeutic goals that almost entirely depend on the quality of communication during the encounter with patients.

Interestingly, by looking at argumentation practices from this perspective can also inspire argumentation scholars to improve and refine their methods of analysis. The analytical challenge I faced when trying to make a clear-cut distinction between instances of argumentation and explanation reveals the necessity for the young field of medical argumentation to take a closer look at the context of interaction it is studying, in order to describe its relevant features and the criteria to identify and evaluate the instances of argumentation within its boundaries.

The study described in this article was partly supported by a Research Fellowship granted by the Faculty of Linguistic Sciences and Foreign Literatures of the Catholic University of Milano (Italy) for the year 2012. For their ready collaboration, kindness and willingness to make the interdisciplinary effort involved in the project, I wish to thank Dr. Nicoletta Musacchio and her staff at the diabetes outpatient clinic ICP, in Cusano Milanino: Dr. Annalisa Giancaterini, Dr. Ilaria Ciullo, Dr. Augusto Lovagnini, nurses Silvia Maino and Rosana Gaiofatto, and dietician Laura Pessina. The author is currently developing her research on argumentation in the medical field thanks to a grant from the Italian Ministry for University and Research (MIUR – “FIR 2013”, Grant: RBFR13FQ5J) for a project titled, “Healthy Reasoning. Strategies and Mechanisms of Persuasion in Chronic Care”, which will be conducted in collaboration with the Italian Association of Diabetologists (AMD).

I am particularly grateful to the speakers and the audience in my ISSA panel on Medical Argumentation for their insightful comments, which improved a previous version of this paper.

i. The project’s website can be found at: On the project’s results, see Bigi 2014
ii. In my analysis, I did keep in mind the fact that deliberation dialogues often overlap with information-seeking dialogues and persuasion dialogues, but I am not giving a detailed account of this overlap in this paper. An article discussing the use of the deliberation dialogue as a useful model for the interpretation and analysis of this phase of interactions in the medical context has been submitted by the author to a scientific journal and is currently under review.
iii. All examples have been translated by the author from the original data in Italian.
iv. Self-efficacy is defined as patients’ understanding of their condition and treatment, and patients’ self-confidence in their own self-care abilities (Heisler et al., 2002).
v. I thank Nanon Labrie and Fabrizio Macagno for inspiring discussions on this specific topic.

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – What Is Informal Logic?

Abstract: In this keynote address at the eighth ISSA conference on argumentation I describe the emergence of two themes that I think are key to the constitution of informal logic. One is the development of analytic tools for the recognition, identification and display of so-called “non-interactive” arguments. The other is the development of evaluative tools for assessing deductive, inductive, and other kinds of arguments. At the end I mention several current interests of informal logic.

Keywords: argument analysis, argument appraisal, informal logic, non-interactive argument, reasoning appraisal

1. Prefatory remarks
Good morning.

If you consider this year’s ISSA keynoters, you can’t help but get the impression of a kind of Aristotelian trivium of argumentation theory – rhetoric, dialectic and logic. Professor Fahnestock represents rhetoric. Professor van Eemeren represents dialectic (at least the Pragma version of it). So Professor Blair must represent logic. Alas, I am no logician, as my friends are quick to tell me. What I will try to do is represent informal logic, which is a some-what different kettle of fish.

I must insert here two unplanned remarks. First, as you know, Frans van Eemeren did not rep-resent dialectic in particular in his address yesterday. Instead, he took the point of view of an eagle flying high above, surveying the argumentation forest below – albeit a Pragma-dialectical eagle. Today, in contrast, I will be taking the point of view of a sparrow, surveying just one species of tree in the forest.

Second, in case you have read it in the conference program, you will know that, along with Ralph Johnson, I am credited with inventing and developing informal logic. I would be happy to take that credit. However, there are some dozens of other people, several of whom are in this room today and many who have stood on this dais at earlier ISSA conferences, who would rightly take exception. “What about me?” they can say. No, informal logic’s rise and development are due to the contributions of many scholars, and no one or two people can take credit for it. And in my talk this morning, of course, I speak only for myself.

2. Introduction
What motivated my topic – What is Informal Logic? – is my difficulty in coming up with a one or two sentence answer whenever someone asks me, “What IS informal logic, anyway?” or “What exactly is informal logic?”

It’s not easy to say what informal logic is. I’m not entirely happy with the latest definition by Johnson and me that is quoted in the chapter on informal logic in HAT – the Handbook of Argumentation Theory, which is the successor to FAT, Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory. (By the way, the HAT chapter on informal logic is excellent.) Also, I’m quite unhappy with several features of the informal logic entries in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and in The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy and The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. But instead of itemizing my differences, I want to use this occasion to spell out what I take informal logic to be.

I will do this by telling the story of two themes that feature in its development and that I think are central to what constitutes informal logic.

A word of warning before I start. You need to be wary of the notion that in the term “informal logic,” the word ‘informal’ means “informal” and the word ‘logic’ means “logic.” It’s like the use of the term ‘football’ north of Mexico. In the USA and in Canada, the games called “foot-ball” don’t much call for the players to control a ball with their feet. Informal logicians use variables, and talk about argument schemes, which are quasi formal. So informal logic is not strictly-speaking informal. And if you understand by logic the study of axiomatized deductive systems, informal logic is not logic. There is a story about how informal logic got its name, but it sheds no light on what informal logic is, so I won’t tell it today.

3. Background
Let me start with a bit of background.

Informal logic, from the beginning in the 1970s and 1980s, has been motivated by goals of philosophy classroom instruction. Its subject matter was reasoning and arguments. And the enterprise was normative. The objective might be to improve reasoning or critical thinking skills, or to assess the logic of everyday discourse. Reasoning and critical thinking skills were seen to be skills in judging the probative value of one’s own reasoning and of others’ arguments. Assessing logic was seen as recognizing, interpreting and evaluating the probative value of arguments. The telos of the enterprise was the formation of justifiable cognitive and affective attitudes, and the assumption was that understanding the norms of cogent reasoning and arguments, and acquiring some skill in their application, will contribute to that end.

The value in question was and is epistemic or probative merit – not communicative or rhetorical merit. A logically good argument, on this view, contributes to justifying adopting the attitude in question – be it a belief, a judgement, a disposition to act, an emotion, or whatever. Whether such justification is in some cases – or always – relative to audiences or circumstances was and is an open question.

We focused, in the beginning, on the arguments found in the print media: in newspapers and magazines. We did so for several reasons. For one thing, these were not the artificial arguments of traditional logic textbooks – arguments that were designed to illustrate elementary valid argument forms or for practicing the use of truth tables – like this one from Irving Copi’s Symbolic Logic (1954):

If I work then I earn money, and if I don’t work then I enjoy myself. Therefore if I don’t earn money then I enjoy myself.

Those examples sent the wrong message to the students, who wanted to improve their ability to understand and assess the arguments used in public life. So the arguments we used for teaching purposes were about the topical issues of the day. They thereby served to demonstrate that arguments are thought to make a difference. Their content might be expected to be familiar to students and of interest to them, and the course would not have to presuppose technical background knowledge. Short examples could be found in letters to the editor; slightly longer ones in editorials; and even longer ones in opinion columns. One wag said we were teaching “newspaper logic.”

If you need a label for such writings, you might call them “non-interactive” (see Govier 1999). While targeting some set of readers, the writer is not engaged in a face-to-face dialogue with anyone. The writer might be responding to previous comments and the arguments might antic-ipate and respond to various kinds of objections. So the text can be dialectical. However, any direct interplay is between the writer and that commentator or objector, not between the writer and just any reader. In the early days, informal logicians did not think to take these non-interactive pieces to be conversations or dialogues. Later, some were attracted to the view that such texts might fruitfully be modeled as having salient properties of two-party conversational interactions. Others, however, resisted that model as misleading for non-interactive contexts.

As teachers of what we originally thought of as practical or applied logic, we were interested in guiding our students in assessing the logic of the reasoning employed in the arguments expressed in these non-interactive writings. To do so required recognizing the presence of arguments and getting at their features. Hence, the first task was to devise guidelines to aid in finding and extracting arguments, and then displaying them for critical examination. The second task was to assess their cogency, either from the point of view of an onlooker or from the point of view of the target audience.

4. Analysis
I want to talk a bit about what we came to see as required to “get at” the arguments. This is the first theme in informal logic’s development. In a few minutes I will turn to the second theme, the question of the logical norms to be used in judging the arguments’ cogency.

We quickly learned that sending students off to find arguments requires them to recognize that a communication might well be serving other purposes. Often it will consist of just a report or a description or a non-argumentative narrative. Sometimes the text is confused or confusing, so that it’s unclear whether its author intends to be arguing. Sometimes the text makes some gestures in the direction of arguing, but on any interpretation the author’s reasoning is muddled.

So it turns out that the interpretive tasks of argument recognition and identification, on the one hand, and argument assessment, on the other hand, while they’re distinguishable, are not independent. That’s because whether the author may be taken to be presenting an argument can depend on whether an at least plausible argument can be attributed to what he or she has written. That can depend on whether there are sentences that may plausibly be taken to be functioning in probative support relationships with other sentences. So the recognition and identification of arguments in such writings can require the logical assessment of argument candidates.

To recognize the presence of argument in non-interactive texts, we found that it helps to identify what might be called the rhetorical situation of the text. Doing so includes, when possible, noting such features as the identity of the author, the author’s ethos, the intended audience, the occasion, the venue, the surrounding circumstances, the author’s objectives, any applicable institutional norms, and the function of the discourse. It also helps, we found, to identify what might be called the dialectical environment of the text. Here I have in mind such things as debates, disagreements, controversies and so on surrounding the author’s topic; alternative positions to the author’s view; and any particular opponent with whom the author has a history of dispute.

It also helps to have some knowledge of the habitats of arguments in general, such as locations of controversies or other contexts where burdens of proof arise. It requires knowing the signs of arguments, such as illation-indicator terms, qualifiers and hedging expressions, plus an appreciation of their fickleness. And it can help to have a sense for what counts as a reason in the subject-matter in question.

By the way, speaking of fickle illative terms, have you noticed the non-illative use of ‘so’ that has become widely used by experts interviewed in the media? They’ll start off their explanations with a “so”: “So, our study shows that … .” It seems to function like taking a breath before speaking.

So, having recognized the presence of argument, next is the identification of the argument. We’ve established that it’s a bird making those noises in the bushes, but what kind of bird is it? Identifying the argument means identifying its parts and their functions, and identifying its structure. Here are to be set out the reasons, broken down into premises, and the claims, identified as their conclusions. Qualifications and hedging are to be noticed. We debated the distinctions among patterns of direct support such as linked, convergent, cumulative, and chained or serial. (And I see from the conference program that this is still a live issue.) Also, aside from direct support for the main conclusion, what various defensive supporting functions might be being served? We distinguished among defending a premise against an objection, defending a premise-conclusion link against an objection, arguing against alternatives to the conclusion, and defending the conclusion against arguments directly opposing it. Some called for, or allowed for, the reformulation of parts of the author’s original text so that the roles of given sentences in the argument can be made more evident. And some argued that unexpressed but assumed or needed components have to be identified and inserted. It also helped here to have some familiarity with the subject matter.

Having developed guidelines to help understand the argument, we sought ways to portray that understanding so the argument could be methodically assessed. Many developed premise and conclusion numbering conventions that designate any sentence’s place in the structure of the argument and/or its function in the argument. As well, many developed tree diagram conventions that do the same jobs. In my experience, often students who can easily master the numbering conventions have trouble working with tree diagrams, and vice versa, so having both seems pedagogically useful.

These tasks of recognition, identification, and display lead up to the assessment of arguments in non-interactive texts. The guidelines help any assessor to gain an understanding of the arguments and so be in a position to judge their probative merits.

By the way, the need to formulate such guidelines does not belong to informal logic in particular. It belongs to any approach that undertakes to analyze the arguments in non-interactive texts. Still, one thread in informal logic is the generation of practical advice for the recognition, identification and display of arguments in non-interactive discourse. This thread was and is practice-driven; and workable and economically teachable guidelines were and are its objective.

5. Appraisal
I now turn to the second theme that I’m claiming characterizes informal logic, namely the logical appraisal of these arguments.

To judge the logical merits of an argument, two kinds of decision are needed. Number one: how acceptable are the reasons? And number two: how well justified are the inferences from the reasons to the claims?

Some informal logicians, me among them, have thought that these questions can be asked from at least the following two perspectives. One perspective is that of an addressee or target of the argument. This can be a person or group to whom the author is directing his or her argument. Or it can be anyone who is interested in the argument because he or she wants to decide whether to accept its conclusion. An addressee would be someone trying to decide on a course of action, such as how to vote, whom the arguer is trying to win over, or she’d be a scientist presented with evidence for a novel theory in her field, who wants to decide whether to give it credence. The other perspective is that of an onlooker. By an onlooker I mean someone who can detach himself or herself from interests or commitments touched by the argument, and who is in the position of judging how well the arguer makes his or her case to the audience in question. An onlooker would be a teacher grading a student’s essay or a referee for a submission to an academic journal, each of whom has to decide how well the author has made his or her case relative to the burden of proof that’s appropriate in the circumstances.

5.1 Premise acceptability
Let me first say a word about the informal logic criterion for the appraisal of reasons.

Any inference made in reasoning, or invited in an argument, is clearly only as good as what it starts from: namely, its reasons, expressed through its premises. Now, you must understand that most nascent informal logicians had been trained in the analytic philosophy of the mid-twentieth century, according to which good premises are true premises. So it required a break with our upbringing to abandon this tradition and follow some of Charles Hamblin’s arguments in his 1970 monograph, Fallacies. Hamblin proposed that, for cogency, the truth of premises alone is not sufficient, since premises would have to be not only true but also known to be true. And truth is not necessary, either, he said, since “reasonably probable” premises would be good enough (see Hamblin 1970, Ch. 7). However, not many informal logicians went all the way with Hamblin’s dialectical conception. According to it, the appropriate criterion (both necessary and sufficient) for premises is that they be accepted, in the sense that they be commitments of the addressee of the argument. But there’s a problem for non-interactive arguments addressed to a diverse or unknown audience: whose commitments are we talking about? Furthermore, in some cases there are propositions available for use as premises that are obviously true and known by all concerned to be true. But in the absence of obvious truth, many informal logicians opted instead for the criterion that the premises at least must be worthy of acceptance, that is, be acceptable. Of course, then the question is, “What counts as acceptability? That is, what makes claims that are used as premises in reasoning or arguments worthy of acceptance, and by whom?” Informal logicians have made serious, even booklength, attempts to answer that question.

5.2 Logical assessment: Deductive validity and inductive strength
Besides the acceptability of the reasons, there is the assessment of the consequence relations – the premise-conclusion links – of reasoning and arguments.

Our thinking about premise-conclusion relations developed along the following lines. Our education in analytic philosophy meant that our basic training in logic, a training almost everyone shared, was in the symbolic logics of the day – at a minimum, formal propositional logic and predicate logic. These are logics of the deductive inference relation called “validity.” To use formal methods to test the inference relations of arguments in a natural language for deductive validity requires that the arguments be translated into standard logical form. However, doing so requires an understanding of standard logical form. We’d have to teach our students some propositional and predicate logic before they could even interpret these newspaper arguments. Moreover, we discovered that reformulating the newspaper texts usually required simplifying their sentences and thus changing the sense of the arguments. And finally, when inspected for conformity to the established rules of inference of deductive logic, such arguments often proved to be deductively invalid, even when, independently, they seemed to be cogent.

One hypothesis suggested to explain this last anomaly was that the arguer was making unexpressed assumptions, which, once added to the stated argument as additional premises, would render it deductively valid. The trouble is that, in many cases, the candidates for such needed missing premises are patently false. Often, a plausible argument’s deductive validity could be saved only by adding problematic or false assumptions to it.

Of course many of these arguments were not intended to be deductively valid, but instead, to be inductively strong. Thus arguments in support of causal explanations, statistical generalizations from samples to populations, inductive analogies, and so on, could have their conclusions well-supported by their premises even though they were deductively invalid. So the options became that an argument with acceptable premises would be logically cogent if it were either deductively valid or else, if deductively invalid, if it were inductively strong.

5.3 The deductive/inductive dichotomy challenged
An early question debated in the informal logic community was whether deductive validity and inductive strength are the only criteria for logically respectable inferences from reasons to claims. That is, are all arguments either deductive or inductive – is the deductive-inductive dichotomy exhaustive?

To be sure, that dichotomy can be made exhaustive by definitional fiat. Inductive reasoning can be defined as any reasoning that is not deductive. But the plausibility of this dichotomy relies on assuming a very broad conception of induction. For logicians, however, inductive reasoning provides support for its conclusions in degrees of probability specifiable numerically, or it is reasoning that relies on the assumption that experienced regularities provide a guide to unexperienced regularities. Here, for instance, is a passage from the introduction of the article on inductive logic in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Hawthorne 2014):

This article will focus on the kind of … approach to inductive logic most widely studied by philosophers and logicians in recent years. These logics employ conditional probability functions to represent measures of the degree to which evidence statements support hypotheses. This kind of approach usually draws on Bayes’ theorem, which is a theorem of probability theory, to articulate how the implications of hypotheses about evidence claims influences the degree to which hypotheses are supported by those evidence claims.

Well, that is a not a broad conception of induction. It leaves out reasoning in which probability in the sense of plausibility or reasonableness is the appropriate qualifier or where it makes no sense to express the strength of support as a numerical probability. It leaves out reasoning that relies on reasons other than experienced regularities. Denying that the deductive-inductive dichotomy is exhaustive implies that there can be logically good reasoning that is deductively invalid and to which the norms of induction narrowly defined do not apply.

Two examples were proposed early on in the informal logic community to show that some reasoning doesn’t seem to fit either the deductive or the narrow inductive category. One example, due to John Wisdom (1991), was the reasoning or the argument that Govier (1999) has called “a priori analogy.” Here’s an example:

Ellen’s essay merits a high grade by virtue of the lucid clarity of its organization and expression, the thoroughness of its argumentation and the cogency of its arguments. Jay’s essay is similarly clearly organized and expressed, its argumentation is similarly thorough and its arguments similarly cogent. So Jay’s essay merits a similarly high grade.

Generalized, this is the reasoning that, when a certain property belongs to something by virtue of that thing’s satisfying certain criteria to a given extent, and another thing of the same sort as the first one is judged also to satisfy those criteria to a similar extent, then one may infer that the property in question belongs to the second thing as well.

The premises of cogent reasoning or arguments from a priori analogy do not deductively entail their conclusions, because the second thing might have, besides the stated qualifying properties, others that disqualify it from having the feature in question. (Maybe Jay’s essay was submitted well after the due date, and was not on the assigned topic.) Since it can’t be known in advance what all the possible disqualifiers are, a list of them cannot be built into the criteria. Moreover, such reasoning or arguments are not narrowly inductive either, for there is no basis for assigning a numerical probability to their conclusions. Nor are they arguments from known regularities.

The other example, due to Carl Wellman (1971), is what he called “conductive” reasoning. It’s also known as balance-of-considerations reasoning. Here is an example:

The blueberries for sale today are ripe, fresh and wild, and I adore wild blueberries; so I should buy them. On the other hand, they’re outrageously overpriced and I don’t really need them; so I shouldn’t buy them. But I can afford them, and I need to indulge myself just now. So, everything considered, I should buy them.

In such reasoning, the reasoner takes one set of considerations to favour a claim, and at the same time takes another set of considerations to tell against that claim. The reasoner judges one set to outweigh the other, and on that basis judges the claim to be acceptable or unacceptable.

The premises of cogent balance-of-considerations reasoning or arguments don’t entail their conclusions, because new information can tip the balance in the other direction, thereby affecting the legitimacy of the inference to the main conclusion. (For example, my wife tells me that there is no room in the refrigerator for the blueberries, or that she has already bought some.) But these are not narrowly inductive arguments either. There is no basis for assigning a numerical probability to the reasonableness of my decision to buy the blueberries. And again, there is no argument from known regularities here.

Based on examples like these two, many informal logicians concluded that it’s false that all reasoning is either deductive or narrowly inductive. Some reasoning requires other criteria of inference appraisal than deductive validity and, for instance, statistical probability.

5.4 General tools for assessing inference strength
Most informal logicians did not address the question of what this other kind of reasoning is, beyond the judgment that it is not deductive and not narrowly inductive. Their motivation was classroom instruction, and the immediate need was useful teaching tools. So they adopted, adapted or invented various general methods of inference appraisal. These supposedly apply to reasoning and arguments of any sort, whether they are intended to be deductively valid, or inductively strong, or to belong to neither of these two categories.

At least five such methods turn up in the informal logic literature. I’ll describe each of them very briefly.

5.4.1 Fallacy theory
One early proposal was that an argument free of fallacies is probatively sound, and in particular, its consequence relation is fine so long as it is free of inferential fallacies. This answer leads straight to fallacy theory, and that was an early preoccupation of informal logicians. That fact led some people, understandably but mistakenly, to identify informal logic with the study of informal fallacies.

A broad consensus emerged that fallacies are not patterns of mistaken reasoning. Rather, they are errors in the sense of misfires or misuses of otherwise legitimate patterns of reasoning. What distinguishes the informal logic approach to fallacies is that not all fallacies are viewed as dialectical or rhetorical misdemeanors: many are seen as particular errors of reasoning. Some are confused deductions, some hasty inductions, and some other types of malfunctioning reasoning. I need to add that there are some informal logicians who deny that the concept of fallacy has any legitimate application.

5.4.2 Acceptability, relevance, sufficiency
Another general method of assessment is to use the triad of Acceptability, Relevance and Sufficiency-ARS. Acceptability, as I have already noted, is a criterion for premises. Relevance and sufficiency are criteria for the adequacy of the link between premises and conclusion: the reasons offered must be probatively relevant to the conclusion, and they have to supply enough of the right kinds of evidence to justify accepting it.

It’s been argued that relevance is redundant, since sufficiency already presupposes it. You can’t have enough evidence unless what you count as evidence is already relevant. That is true. However, people’s arguments sometimes include irrelevant premises. Those have to be identified and set aside before judging the sufficiency of the relevant ones that remain.

Sufficiency has become seen to require not only reasons that directly support a claim but also those that support it indirectly, by way of refuting or weakening objections or criticisms of various kinds. How far that indirect support should go is a matter that continues to be debated.

The ARS criteria are general, in that deductively valid and inductively strong reasoning and arguments, as well as those with other kinds of good consequence relations, all will pass their test. They have been widely adopted as teaching tools and their introduction has led to scholarly reflections on all three concepts.

Some people, again mistakenly, identify informal logic with the ARS method of argument assessment.

5.4.3 Inference warrants
Some informal logicians have been attracted to Stephen Toulmin’s (1958) concepts of warrant and backing as an account of what justifies reasoning and argument inferences in general. The idea is that any particular inference relies on a general rule or warrant that licenses inferences of that sort. An inference is justified provided that its warrant is itself defensible, that is, can be backed up if questioned. Although Toulmin did not emphasize this point, a warrant can be a deductive rule of inference, such as modus ponens, or an inductive principle, as well as such things as rules of practices. So warrant justification is general too.

An obvious objection to this approach is that the backing of a warrant is itself an argument, thereby involving an inference that must rely on another warrant that can be backed up if questioned – and so there begins an infinite regress. A reply to this objection is that, while an infinite regress of warrants and backings is in principle possible, in practice, in short order one arrives at backing that is either clearly solid or obviously dubious.

5.4.4 Testing by possible counterexamples
A fourth general method that informal logicians have used for evaluating the inferences of reasoning and arguments is testing them by means of counterexamples.

The method is to think of considerations that are consistent with the given reasons but inconsistent with the claim being inferred or argued for. Depending on whether any such counterexamples are conceivable, and if so, either probable or plausible to some extent, the reasoning can be determined to be deductively valid, or invalid but with some degree of inductive strength, or invalid but more or less reasonable.

This method is only as good as the assessors’ ability to imagine possible counter-examples and the accuracy of their judgements of the possibility, probability, or plausibility or reasonableness of such counter-examples. This ability often depends on subject-specific knowledge about the topic of the reasoning or argument in question.

5.4.5 Reasoning or argument scheme theory
I call the fifth method, “argument scheme theory.” Douglas Walton is one theorist who has proposed an account of non-deductive, non-inductive kinds of reasoning. According to Walton (1996), such reasoning is presumptive. That is, it is reasoning that establishes, or shifts, a burden of proof. A general approach for assessing deductive, inductive and presumptive reasoning, according to Walton and others, is the use of reasoning or argument schemes.

A reasoning or argument scheme is a generalization of a token of reasoning or argument. I gave examples of two such schemes earlier – the schemes for reasoning by a priori analogy and the scheme for balance-of-considerations reasoning.

Such generalizations can be deductive, inductive or presumptive. Scheme theorists think it is reasonable to accept the conclusion of an instance of such a scheme as the consequence of its premises, so long as the questions that test its vulnerable features – the so-called “critical questions” – are answered satisfactorily in the given case.

These five methods – freedom from inferential fallacy; the sufficiency of relevant offered reasons; justification by an adequately-backed warrant; passing the test of counter-examples; and being an acceptable instance of a reasoning scheme – are all general methods of assessing the inferences of reasoning or arguments. That is, they apply to reasoning or arguments with supposed deductive validity, or inductive strength, or other kinds of cogency. Whether these five initiatives are compatible, equivalent or otherwise related, whether they are correct, and whether the list is exhaustive, all remains to be seen.

6. Other developments, and conclusion
So far I have described two themes that have animated informal logic. One is the development of guidelines for the analysis of the reasoning in non-interactive arguments. The other is the articulation of generally applicable methods for evaluating the reasoning – that is, the reasons and the inferences – exhibited in arguments. My contention is that these are the principal defining threads of informal logic. Fortunately, for me, and for you, I don’t have time to defend that assumption on this occasion. I just have time to add a few footnotes.

One footnote is that informal logicians came to realize that, although they had started out analyzing arguments in non-interactive texts for teaching purposes, what they are also interested in is the logic of the non-deductive, non-narrowly-inductive reasoning employed in any arguments, in whatever setting they are communicated (whether a dialogue, a group discussion, or a speech), by whatever mode they are communicated (whether orally or in writing, visually, or mixed-modally), for whatever purpose they are communicated (whether for persuasion, or disagreement resolution, or communication repair, or justification, or any other purpose), and with whatever subject-matter they are concerned.

A second footnote is that, belatedly, at least some informal logicians have come to appreciate the need to understand the rhetorical functions of communication in order to recognize and identify arguments, and in order to understand the nature and force of the reasoning expressed in them.

And a final footnote: I hope it is clear that informal logic does not aim to account for all the pragmatic and communicative properties of arguments. Nor is it a theory of argumentation, understanding by such a theory an account of the dynamics of, and the norms for, various kinds of exchanges of arguments for various purposes. It does not address the psychology, sociology, or politics of exchanges of arguments. If informal logicians happen to take up such topics, as some do, they do so flying other colours, such as “argumentation theorist.”

Well, it is high time for me to stop. By now I hope you can see why I have difficulty conveying an understanding of what informal logic is in a couple of sentences. If you will allow my remarks this morning to stand as a long footnote, my summary would run as follows. Informal logic is the combination of two related things. It is the development and justification of practical guidelines for recognizing, identifying and displaying the reasoning expressed and invited in arguments, especially arguments found in non-interactive discourse or other modes of non-interactive communication. And it is the development and justification of the probative norms applicable to the reasons, and applicable to the non-deductive, non-inductive inferential links, employed in the reasoning that is expressed or invited in any argument.
Thank you.

My thanks to Fellows at the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric for critical comments on, and suggestions for improvements of, earlier drafts of this address, including Hans Hansen, Catherine Hundleby, Leo Groarke, Marcello Guarini, Bruno Leclercq, Christopher Tindale, and especially Ralph Johnson and Robert Pinto.

Copi, Irving M. (1954). Symbolic logic. New York: The Macmillan Company.
Govier, Trudy (1999). The philosophy of argument. Newport News, VA: Vale Press.
Hamblin, C.L. (1970). Fallacies. London: Methuen.
Hawthorne, James (2014). “Inductive logic”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming
URL = <>.
Toulmin, Stephen N. (1958). The uses of argument. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Walton, Douglas N. (1996). Argument schemes for presumptive reasoning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Wellman, Carl (1971). Challenge and response, Justification in ethics. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.
Wisdom, John (1991). Proof and explanation, The Virginia lectures (ed. by Stephen F. Barker). Lanham. MD: University Press of America. (Originally delivered at the University of Virginia in spring 1957.)

ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Evolutionary Arguments In The Birth Control Debate: Casuistic Shifting In Conservative Rhetoric

Abstract: We use dramatism to explore the birth control controversy and how it complicates conservative agent-focused arguments. Conservatives borrow from evolutionary discourse and argue that females are not agents. They are agents-minus that are irrational and subordinate to the scene. To remain loyal to underlying religious values, conservatives situationally abandon, rather than permanently stretch, their focus on the agent. This casuistic shifting enables conservatives to undermine female agency while remaining within their idealistic framework.

Keywords: argumentation, birth control, Burke, casuistic shifting, conservative rhetoric, gender, human origins, rhetoric, War on Women

1. Introduction
The United States Supreme Court recently ruled on Burwell v Hobby Lobby and decided on whether for-profit companies would be required to cover birth control on health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Part of the argument against this mandate is that offering birth control as a preventative measure is seen as tantamount to supporting abortion and thus violates the owner’s religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby founder David Green, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, said, “These abortion-causing pills go against our faith, and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families” (Rovner, 2014, para. 14).

The Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby and other privately held companies claiming religious exemption do not have to cover employee birth control costs. This ruling appealed to the free exercise clause and stated that the fines levied on businesses that would not provide coverage for contraceptives would be a “substantial burden” on business owners (Schwartz, 2014, para. 2). No matter the medical purpose for which it might be used, birth control will now become more expensive for some females whose employers can opt out of covering birth control without punitive government measures. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in her dissent, noted that females will now experience the burden of “cost barriers operated to block many women from obtaining needed care” (Ohlheiser, 2014, p. 3-4). The Supreme Court ruled that it is worse to constrain the choices of business owners (to deny birth control on religious grounds) than to constrain the ability of females (to access birth control).

In general, conservatives were in favor of the Hobby Lobby decision. But, in favoring the outcome, conservatives had to rhetorically establish the humanness of businesses and the non-humanness of females. Arguments that undermine individual agency are not often the territory of conservatives. Instead, conservative arguments about economics, political advocacy, and social issues such as gay marriage, often advocate unconstrained, individual choice. People can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, support themselves without government intervention, and choose their sexuality (Cloud, 1996; Brummett, 1979). Conservatives are more likely than liberals to use agent-focused arguments that produce responsibility and culpability for the individual without a concern for mitigating circumstances (Bloomfield & Sangalang, forthcoming). Conservative rhetoric is often linked to idealism, the power of the mind, and the unwavering support for political independence (Brock, 1990).

Birth control arguments are inherently complicated for conservatives, because they prompt a shift in rhetorical emphasis away from the agent. Glorifying the power of the female as an agent with the power to control her own body would be to support access to birth control. Some conservative rhetoric has abandoned the argumentative resource of the agent and has instead shifted to a scenic focus. Emphasizing the scene links to the ideology of materialism that undermines the power of the agent and reduces them to an agent-minus status (Brock, 1990).

This seemingly contradictory shift can be illuminated through Burke’s pentad. The pentad is a useful heuristic tool for mapping how various emphases inform arguments and ideologies. Burke (1945/1969) argued that the way people use language and the parts of the pentad they emphasize, reveal underlying loyalties to a “subtle, personal test of propriety” (p. 237). Abandoning a certain focus challenges the “common stake in some unifying attitude” of the person (Burke, 1945/1969, p. 237). Pentadic ratios are difficult to change as this change represents a large effort to adjust one’s worldview (Burke, 1945/1969; Brummett 1979). Brummett (1979) argued that, “Life makes sense for most of us as we repeatedly explain experience to ourselves and others with one term or ratio” (p. 252). When new information challenges this guiding ratio, the entire framework is questioned. If the new information is accepted and incorporated, a new identity is formed by its inclusion in a new and adjusted guiding framework.

Although this shift may seem contradictory when considering associations between conservatives and idealism, this inquiry argues that an overarching commitment to certain values can trump loyalty to argumentative resources. This temporary shift is only reflective of a deeper need to remain loyal to religious and moral ideologies. Furthermore, the brief borrowing of scenic language is not meant to remove females from responsibility. Scenic language, then, is only used as a temporary argumentative tactic as opposed to representing a stretching of the conservative framework and worldview. The rhetorical adjustment within the birth control controversy challenges the universal applicability of casuistic stretching and prompts further inquiry into this unique rhetorical situation. We propose the term casuistic shifting to reflect the only temporary incorporation of new information that does not stretch or permanently adjust a framework. Casuistic shifting serves a starting point to explore the nuances of contemporary, polarized argument where new orientations are rejected and abandoned as quickly as they are adopted.

A series of proposed laws and vitriolic statements from conservative politicians, a few of which will be discussed in further detail, have prompted the phrase, “The War on Women” (ACLU 2014; Rosenthal, 2012). This phrase represents a prominent and ongoing struggle to argue for women’s rights against a changing, argumentative community. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (2014) defines the War on Women as a phrase that “describes the legislative and rhetorical attacks on women and women’s rights taking place across the nation” (para. 1) In particular, many of these attacks have focused on reproductive rights and healthcare (Miller, 2012; Rosenthal, 2012), and are often associated with conservatives. While the phrase ‘War on Women’ gained considerable cachet in 2012, neither the idea of a War on Women nor the metaphors used in its arguments are novel; they are continuations of older struggles for women’s rights (Faludi, 1991/2006; Solinger, 2005).

This inquiry employs generalized terms such as ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’ for the sake of simplicity, but recognizes that these are not fully generalizable labels. The terms male and female are used similarly; this is an indication of the ways in which sex is most commonly discussed in birth control discourse, rather than a reinforcement of sex or gender binaries or essentialisms. We will analyze prominent conservative statements that serve as indicators of a trend in conservative rhetoric. These exemplars are not meant to be inclusive of all conservative rhetoric, but instead highlights of an emerging pattern in the use of argumentative rhetoric.

These conservative statements will be analyzed using the metaphor of human origins. The evolution and creationism controversy encompasses themes also present in the birth control debate: the dichotomy between agent and scene, action and motion, and organism and machine. Human origins arguments mirror the inclusion or exclusion of religious influence in the creation and maintenance of human life. Creationism maps easily onto agent-focused arguments and evolution maps easily onto scene-focused ones (Bloomfield, forthcoming). This comparison helps us interrogate the difficulty in shifting between pentadic ratios and their corresponding ideologies.

2. Ratios in the human origins controversy
When forming arguments to support claims, people will draw from resources that fit within their guiding ideology and framework. Brummett (1979) argued that “ideologies motivate and guide political rhetoric and give it purpose” (p. 251). An ideology thus supplies the argumentative foundation for the creation and maintenance of a political identity. Choices made in alignment with this ideology become self-consistent because they influence future choices through the screen or filter that is created.

Preferencing certain facets of the pentad creates a ratio that determines who or what should be blamed for the performance of an act. Tonn, Endress, and Diamond (1993) and Ling (1970) argued that emphasizing a dangerous scene or a ‘wrong place, wrong time’ situation undermines the responsibility of the agent for an act. Emphasizing the agent, however, can heighten the agent’s complicity and responsibility, such as touting one’s food choices as responsible for one’s health (Bloomfield & Sangalang, 2014). Ascribed to idealism, conservatives tend to draw from the power of the agent to support conservative claims. Black (1970) argued that these associations are not arbitrary, but instead point to a “beckoning archetype” that can be used by a critic to move between ideology and the language that embodies it (p. 199). Idealist arguments often emerge from conservatives because they support an overarching framework that syncs with the conservative ideology.

Part of this ideology is informed by the conservative origin narrative or cosmology. O’Leary (1994) argued that a group’s cosmology creates proper definitions for the elements of the pentad (p. 25). Creationism and evolution are cosmologies that reflect emphases on the agent and the scene, respectively (Bloomfield, forthcoming). A belief in creationism, or that humans were created in their present form through supernatural intervention, emphasizes the individual as divinely inspired and in the image of a deity. People act and control their environment, which was created for them by God to inhabit, conquer, and use. Human life is inscribed with ultimate culpability for situations and actions. Conservative rhetoric tends to pull from this religious origin story, and conservatives are the party most strongly associated with religious values, the Moral Majority, and religious followers (Domke & Coe, 2010).

Liberal arguments tend to draw from the scene, emphasize mitigating circumstances, and support assistance to others. Burke (1945/1969) argued that individuals are reduced to an agent-minus status where they are never completely removed from their ability to act, but they are heavily or overwhelming influenced by their environment, circumstances, and scene. The agent-minus is not a rational being that weighs choices or has a purpose; the agent-minus instead merely reacts to stimulus and responds to its environment.

Although conservatives share the same pentadic emphases and argumentative framework of creationists, they abandon those idealist arguments in the birth control controversy. To remain faithful to the power of the agent that guides their view of economics or government intervention would be to support female autonomy. For many conservatives, this violates an underlying religious and moral framework that requires female abstinence and chastity. Idealist arguments would require conservatives to emphasize the rationality, autonomy, and decision-making power of females over their environments and bodies. This is a possibility that conservatives are trying to avoid and thus cannot draw from their traditional argument resources. Instead, they borrow from evolutionary language that emphasizes the scene. Females are transformed from being purposefully created and empowered individuals that are capable of rational decision making to being agents-minus. Conservatives and the government, then, must protect females by making decisions for them.

Conservatives primarily rely on metaphor to construct the female as a non-agent or agent-minus. To more fully explore these metaphors, prominent conservative statements will be analyzed. These metaphors attack and undermine the character of females and their ability to make decisions about their bodies. They work by changing the female body from being classified as a human to two other non-human states. Females are constructed into animals or machines. If females are not humans, then they do not have agent status and are not complicit in the agent:act ideology typical of conservative rhetoric. “Rhetoric,” Burke (1945/1969) argued, “stands at the boundaries of contradictions” and explores how definitions, meanings, and symbols are negotiated (p. 19). These two conservative redefinitions of female as agent-minus reconstruct the notion of what it means to be female, what females are capable of doing, and whether they can be considered public and political figures capable of decision making.

3. Females as agent-minus
In the narrative of evolution, the scene is the controlling pentadic aspect. An animal’s environment determines its action and ultimately, whether it will live or die. The animal itself does not evolve, but simply responds to its environment, irrationally, and only with the purpose to survive in order to pass on its genes. The physical environment, the presence or absence of food and predators, and changes in group dynamics affect the animal’s mortality more than the animal itself. This emphasis gives the scene control of the evolutionary process, which makes evolution purposeless, thoughtless, and random. Creationism, however, imparts intelligence and control to the mind over the environment to make rational and purposeful decisions. Humans can interact with and change their environment.

The language of motion, animality, and evolution has been applied to females seeking birth control. One aspect of animality is the inability to choose or restrict sexual partners. In an evolutionary world that is motivated by the proliferation of offspring, the urge to procreate is a driving force. The ‘libido’ of animals is focused only towards quantity and frequency with the purpose of procreation. These themes of animal-like sexuality emerged in conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh’s response to Sandra Fluke’s request for birth control subsidies at a Congressional hearing. Limbaugh called her a “slut” 78 times, mimicking the quantity and frequency of irrational sex: “She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception” (Limbaugh, quoted in Mirkinson, 2012, para. 6). This statement reduced Fluke, and all females, to their uncontrollable sexual libidos and positioned them as only interested in casual sex. The adoption of evolutionary language reduced females to animals that are powerless to their sexual appetites to the point of fiscal irresponsibility.

Limbaugh’s comment echoes older arguments about birth control. With the introduction of reliable hormonal birth control methods in the 1960s, females became seen as “seriously deficient choice makers” at fault for any “unintended pregnancies [because of their] ‘laziness, stupidity and reluctance’” (Solinger, 2005, p. 170). Single women, women of color, and poor women were seen as especially irresponsible and unlikely to make rational reproductive choices. Often, the only acceptable use of birth control is when males have the decision-making power.

Conservative arguments that are for birth control under specific circumstances similarly frame females as animals who cannot rationally decide for themselves. Unlike sex outside of marriage, sex within marriage is seen by a conditionally pro-birth control contingent of Catholics as being “noble” rather than something that is “perform[ed] blindly and instinctively” (Foss, 1983, p. 35). Sex within marriage is a choice and human action rather than an animal motion; for this reason, married couples should be able to choose contraception since this is a way of exercising their God-given free will. Notably, however, any decision that could be construed from a Catholic viewpoint as an acceptable use of birth control is only capable of being made in conjunction with a male. While obviously this sub-group of Catholics is not representative of all conservatives, nor does this take into account non-married and non-heteronormative couples, it illustrates how males are the ultimate decision makers and actors, while females are reduced to mere animals and movers.

Females are also framed as non-human machines. On August 20th, 2012, Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) said, “It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down” (Moore, 2012, para. 3). Akin’s comment became an exemplar of a lack of public knowledge about birth control, the female body, and rape. The thinking, feeling, and acting organism was replaced with the motion of a machine that can ‘shut down’ harmful processes. The symbolic system of language was replaced with 0s and 1s, and the mind was separated from the robotic body. Faced with a ‘legitimate rape,’ the body simply reacts and performs motion. Machines cannot think and are only programmed. More recently, Akin defended his controversial ‘legitimate rape’ comment, claiming that he was referring to the connection between stress and fertilization (Marcotte, 2014). This comment framed the female body as a machine that is programmed to perform in certain ways, for example:

if (rape) {
pregnancy=shut down from stress;
} else {

This code constructs females as producing output that is the natural consequence of input they receive, rather than emerging from rational thought.

The metaphor of females as non-human agents-minus focuses on motion instead of action. Action, for Burke (1945/1969), is the performance of motion inscribed with symbolic purpose. Only rational agents (or humans) can perform action because they are the only animals with symbol systems capable of commenting on their existence. If females are animals or machines, then they are non-communicative and devoid of language. Females, subsequently, do not have the symbolic capabilities that males have and are therefore silenced, even in debates where the discussion is about the agency of their own bodies. Females cannot form arguments, justify themselves, or be capable of verbal or physical action.

Females were silenced in the precipitating events to Limbaugh’s comments. The 2012 Congressional hearings on birth control included panels composed entirely of males, and Fluke was initially denied as a potential participant. The female gender is a defining identity, whereas males can be fully human and only descriptively male in their status as political participants (Ray, 2007). Conservative arguments construct females as non-human animals and machines, who only occupy agent-minus status. Akin’s legitimate rape comment argued that females are incapable of deciding whether they were raped or not. Females may say they were raped but they lack the symbolic capabilities to decide this, leaving only their bodies’ motion and response to genetic input as acceptable proof. Females are stripped of their rational decision-making power because they are re-framed as sexualized animals and irrational machines.

4. Casuistic shifting
Casuistic stretching is a foundational Burkean concept that helps critics interrogate worldviews, how they change, and the arguments they construct. Applying casuistic stretching to the birth control controversy, however, misrepresents the incorporation of scene in conservative arguments. The concept of stretching assumes that the scene will remain a part of the conservative worldview. It is, of course, impossible to completely separate the aspects of the pentad (Burke, 1945/1969). However, for conservatives to abandon a focus on the agent and idealism would be to sacrifice their very identity. The focus on the scene, therefore, can only be temporary if the conservative party is to remain intact. This is, in part, why conservatives must emphasize the scene to justify their stance on birth control; they are also bound to their emphasis on religious and moral values. To remain true to anti-choice rhetoric is also to deny rational decision-making power to females, resulting in a necessary shift in argument strategy. The ideology still remains unchallenged and is returned to in order to justify the overall conservative position on issues.

Despite the use of metaphors that question the agent-status of females, conservatives have tried to brand themselves as the party for females. Former Republican presidential nominee Mike Huckabee said:

Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women. That’s not a war on them. It’s a war for them. If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. (Blake, 2014, para. 2 & 4)

Huckabee claimed that the conservative party is actually in support of the ‘capacity’ of females. This capacity does not extend to the ability to decide about health, however, illustrating an important nexus of the agent- and scene- focus. Although ascribing females non-agent status through the repetitive use of metaphors, Huckabee still stands by the idealist ideology. He asserts that females are equal and capable and argues that it is the Democrats that undermine their abilities. His quotation reframes the situation so that the government is providing birth control as a crutch for the uncontrollable, sexual urges of females. What this reveals, however, is that Huckabee believes that the urges of females are irrational and uncontrollable; it is because of the Democratic Party’s evil that females cannot control themselves. At first, his words can seem like they bolster females’ agent-status, but they still embrace the scenic focus on female irrationality. This quotation represents the subtle shift back and forth between agent and scene.

While claiming to stand for the “equality of women and the capacity of women,” Huckabee is actually denying females agent status. They are portrayed as vulnerable to the Democrat’s arguments. The supposed scene of “Uncle Sugar” handing out birth control pills is acknowledged, but females are ultimately to blame for their inability to control themselves. While the scene is what is “making them believe that they are helpless,” it is not what is ultimately at fault; females choosing to believe this is. In other words, females become the agents responsible for the current situation in regards to birth control. They are agents who are simply making the wrong decisions, rather than non-agents or agent-minuses who are scenically reduced into being incapable of rational decision making.

Another example of casuistic shifting comes from the recent National Right to Life Convention. Conservative radio host and speaker Joy Pinto argued that the ‘real’ War on Women was not attacks on birth control but was instead birth control itself. According to Pinto, women have “bit the apple” and “believed the lie” that it is acceptable and not immoral to use contraception. While Pinto acknowledged scenic elements such as the culture and institutions that promote the “lie” of birth control, blame is laid on women. Importantly, Pinto’s use of the phrase “bit the apple” (an allusion to the Biblical story of Eve’s temptation with the Tree of Knowledge and humanity’s subsequent fall from grace) is an important indicator of a casuistic stretch rather than a casuistic shift. Ultimately, blame still falls on women, who are incapable of making rational choices. According to both the temptation of Eve and Pinto’s account of birth control, females who seek information and equality, whether from the Tree of Knowledge or from birth control, are at fault for the moral degradation of the world today.

Conservative rhetoric puts females’ agent status in flux. It is simultaneously trumpeted, undermined, forgotten, overshadowed, and blamed in the birth control controversy. These mixed messages work as a rhetorical strategy themselves by appealing to various frameworks and their views of the female. They all unite in their support of anti-choice policies but interpret the role of females differently. Conservatives have rhetorically re-defined how females should be considered in terms of their actions, beliefs, and attitudes. This re-definition crosses ideological lines strategically to polarize the birth control controversy. Casuistic shifting is an important contribution to interrogating the polarized nexus of the current controversy. The need to appeal to fringe opinions and the center’s wavering disloyalty has created new argument strategies that purposefully isolate one segment of the voting population.

It is not clear, however, that this strategy is isolating the female vote. Though the gender gap in voting has increased in recent elections (“Gender Gap,” 2012), there has also been an increase in visibility of conservative females that oppose the feminist movement. They are working to redefine what it means to be female and advocate for female issues. Hosts on Fox & Friends discussed rebranding feminism so that it more closely aligns the female role with traditional biblical views. Guest Gina Loudon, owner of the conservative site PolitiChicks, argued that the new feminists:

want less government in their lives, they want to make their own decisions, they want freedom to choose for their children and their families. That’s what women really want. And they also want real men. We love real men. (Taibi, 2014, para. 6)

This new phase of ‘updating’ feminism focuses on equating the struggle for female empowerment with what is actually a reduction of female choice. Similar to Huckabee, the host connects female choice with conservative policies. This trumpeting of agency, however, is only allowed by choosing conservative, traditional, and role-related (e.g., wives and mothers) aspects of being female.

What these examples share in common is the casuistic shift from agent to scene to hyper agent. These shifts are temporary and contingent on the needs of a particular argument. Where a casuistic stretch is a move to a new framework, a casuistic shift is simply a short-term visit. From the standard conservative starting point of an agent-focused framework, the shift is made to scenic language so as to attribute females with agent-minus status. Almost immediately, however, a turn is made which makes females hyper-agents, responsible for creating that same scene to which they were previously described as being vulnerable. The offering of choice and agency comes with the baggage of pre-determined decisions in order for females to be ‘real’ women. The traditional idealist approach to arguments, therefore, is inherently laden with removing agent-status from females. This shift is not applied to other arguments nor does it undermine their ability to claim the language of the agent. The shift, instead, represents a temporary strategy to appeal to certain segments of the population that ascribe to the importance of the agent and hold immense and unshakeable loyalties to anti-choice policies.

Faludi (1996/2001) argued that there is a repeating historical pattern of a retaliation against women whenever there is a perceived gain in women’s rights, which could, in part explain the perceived need for such an argumentation strategy. In the 1980s and 90s, this backlash took the form of adopting much of the language of female empowerment but using it to promote conceptions of women and femininity that ran counter to the message of the 1970s feminist movement. For example, media accounts often portrayed women who tried to ‘have it all’ as being unsatisfied and depressed, instead finding themselves happier and more fulfilled when they stayed at home to take care of their house, husband, and children.

Conservative arguments against birth control follow much of this same pattern. In an effort to counteract made by the advent of hormonal birth control and its argumentative sphere, conservatives adopt the language of that argumentative sphere (i.e., they make the casuistic shift to a more agent-focused argumentative track, allowing that females can have agency). Once they have reversed the gains they see as harmful, however, they quickly shift away from that tactic and return to their original underlying pentadic framework. In other words, changing conservative arguments about birth control do not represent a change in ideology, but rather a desire to return to an earlier time and reverse changes in the world that have already occurred.

5. Conclusion
When she read about the 2012 Congressional birth control hearings, Senator Patty Murray remarked that attending the hearing:

was like stepping into a time machine and going back 50 years. It’s a picture that says a thousand words, and it’s one that most women thought was left behind when pictures only came in black and white. (quoted in Miller, 2012)

While obviously things have changed in that time, the fact is that so many of the arguments and the metaphors that undermine women remain. Strides have been made in areas of equality, but the birth control controversy illuminates the ongoing struggle to consider females as capable of rational decision making. Females are very much still second-class citizens; institutional structures, similar to racial ones (Cloud, 1996), serve as obstacles to their realization and consideration as political beings. The birth control controversy provides evidence for the continuing rhetorical problems of women’s rights and female advocacy. Furthermore, this controversy illuminates an important intersection of argumentation, rhetoric, and women’s studies that echoes long-standing gender divides in America.

Conservative rhetoric makes use of an argumentative strategy that undermines the agent-status of women despite conservatives’ idealist ideology. They adopt evolutionary language and a scenic focus to compare females to animals and machines. In doing so, they empower other agents, such as the government, to restrict their choices to manageable, moral, and rational options. Conservatives do not casuistically stretch their idealism to include the scene permanently. Instead, evolutionary language is used only to displace the female as a rational decision maker while simultaneously blaming her for those irrationalities.

The War on Women serves as one example of a casuistic shift in conservative arguments. Evolutionary language is adopted so as to frame the issue scenically; women are attacked as being irrational and thus incapable of being agents. There may be other instances where such a temporary argument strategy results in a shift in ideology rather than a stretch. In this case, however, casuistic stretching allows us to better account for the apparent rhetorical inconsistencies in conservative rhetoric. The Hobby Lobby decision has reignited the attention paid to religious and conservative argumentative strategies in regards to the birth control controversy, which is an ongoing nexus of deliberation that engages politics, sexuality, health, gender, and religion. In this deliberation, conservatives have attempted to lay new deliberative grounds instead of highlighting the power of the agent as is their traditional strategy, both responding and contributing to political polarization. This argumentative shift illuminates contemporary rhetorical strategies and how they incorporate issues of agency and agent-status in issues of gender.

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