ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Rules Is Rules: Ethos And Situational Normativity

Abstract: One question in the debate between the rhetorical and dialectical approaches concerns the availability of rules and standards. Are there objective standards, or are they changeable and situational? In Part One I briefly identify three concepts, context, audience and ethos. In Part Two I focus on ethos and how it is endemic to argument with familiars. Part Three shows that ethos concerns many local factors is situational. Finally, in Part Four, it is shown how the pragma-dialectical Rule 1 is situational.

Keywords: context, ethos, pragma-dialectics rhetoric, Grice, familiars, argumentation.

If rational means scientific, there can be little doubt that most people are irrational” (Burke 1984, 17)

1. Introduction
I am going to distinguish, for the purposes of this talk, between rhetoric and dialectics in a particular way. I do not mean this to be the only difference or the essential difference, but the one I am focusing on for this discussion. I want to say that dialectics is concerned with rules that are to one degree or another independent of a particular audience or context, while rhetoric takes rules as being relative to audience and context. This is not to say that audience is completely irrelevant to dialecticians, but rather that the rules and their applications do not vary much as audiences change.

In my paper, “Natural Normativity” (Gilbert 2007), I argued that rules emerge from the interaction of interlocutors in a natural way governed primarily by social mores, face goals, and relationships. There are three important components of this interaction: ethos, audience and context. It will be noticed first that each of these is a sub-species of the subsequent. Ethos refers to an individual, and an audience is composed of individuals. Audiences occur in contexts that delineate who and what they are. Contexts are overarching and range from extremely broad to relatively narrow and concrete. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Towards A Foundation For Argumentation Theory

Abstract: I shall present and analyze numerous principles that argumentation theorists do agree upon (and some closely related one which they do not) and argue that the set presented here offers at best limited grounds for cross-theoretical evaluation.

Keywords: Acts, expressions, informational content, reasons, arguments, repeatable, abstract object

1. Introduction
Argumentation theorists disagree about many things. For example, is conductive reasoning distinct from deductive or inductive reasoning? Could a painting or a judo flip be an argument? How many types of fallacies are there? Are there any enthymemes? Is relevance an independent condition of a good argument? Can a non-virtuous arguer give a good argument? Are arguments better construed as acts or as propositions or as sentences? Are all arguments dialectical? Answering these sorts of questions are among the current challenges of argumentation theory.

One impediment to answering these questions is that differing answers are often grounded in different theoretical frameworks. Hence, the issue is not merely one of trying to marshal ‘the best’ reasons for a particular answer to one of these questions, but rather to produce ‘the best’ overall theory. But now a new problem emerges – how do we assess, across theories, whether theory X is right for saying an argument can have an infinite number of premises say, while theory Y is wrong for saying an argument cannot? We could of course try to adjudicate theories in the standard way in terms of simplicity, explanatory depth and breadth, etc., but such comparisons rarely generate a neat linear ordering. One theory may have advantages in one area of explanation, but do worse in another. Even worse, the theories may not agree on even the basic ontology and not agree on what sort of thing an argument is (or could be). Hence, one might doubt that it is possible to construct a fully adequate theory of argumentation. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Climate Scientist Stephen Schneider Versus The Sceptics: A Case Study Of Argumentation In Deep Disagreement

Abstract: Can deep disagreement be managed by argument? This case study examines the 2010 exchange between prominent climate scientist/climate communicator Stephen Schneider and an Australian television audience of self-described climate “sceptics.” An analysis of the moves made by audience members, the moderator, and Schneider himself shows that Schneider consistently reframed the interaction emphasize trust, refusing to respond in kind to attacks on his credibility. He exerted firm control on the issues. And at several points, he exercised his authority as a scientist in refusing to engage points that were outside the scientific consensus. Although some of Schneider’s moves might traditionally have been classified as fallacies, in this context they served as strategies for managing interactional challenges, and making an exchange of arguments possible.

Keywords: argument, argumentation, disagreement, normative pragmatics, authority, climate communication

1. Introduction
Arguments get made when people disagree (Goodwin, 2001; Govier, 1987; Jackson & Jacobs, 1980). But disagreeable interactions aren’t necessarily ideal environments for good reasons to flourish. Some argumentation theories try to side-step this difficulty by supposing that arguers’ surface disagreements rest on a deeper basis of cooperation. But even if we adopt this idealizing starting point for theory – and certainly if we do not (Goodwin, 2007) – we still have to inquire “how arguers make do under imperfect circumstances” (Jacobs & Jackson, 2006, pp. 123-124), that is, under the circumstances they are actually in. Thus lack of cooperation, fallacious moves and other symptoms of deep disagreement are not just problems for theorists to deal with; arguers in practice have to confront and manage them. “Argumentation is a self-regulating activity” (Jacobs, 2000, p. 274); it is primarily up to the arguers themselves to construct an interaction where they can use good reasons to get something done. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – The Matrix For The 21st Century Russian Education

Abstract: The paper deals with the problem of argumentation literacy in the field of modern Russian education. We carry out the analysis of argumentation that university students put forward while writing argumentative essays as a part of their final English test. The analysis concerns papers written by students at different exam levels: B2, C1. The command of English at these levels differs a lot and the analysis is aimed at revealing connection between students’ language ability and their argumentative ability.

Keywords: Argumentative ability, CEFR, language competences, B2/C1 students.

1. Introduction
This paper addresses the study of relations between students’ argumentative ability and their foreign language ability and in particular, that part of relations that has to do with the skill to produce arguments in a foreign language (English in our research) and the level of the English language competence. The study makes use of the pragma-dialectical approach to argumentative discourse that unites normative and descriptive approaches to the argumentation. We start with some background information concerning the changes in educational approach to foreign language teaching that are being carried out in the field of Russian language education. Then we present the results of students’ essays analysis and finally make some conclusions. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Missiles As Messages: Appeals To Force In President Obama’s Strategic Maneuverability On The Use Of Chemical Weapons In Syria

Abstract: In the aftermath of the Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons, President Obama proposed a military response that would send “a message” via missiles. This paper explores the way that such a message blurs the line between force and persuasion in diplomatic argument, complicating the normative assumptions of argumentation theory and underwriting the conditions of possibility for Obama’s strategic maneuverability in the context of diplomatic argument.

Keywords: Diplomatic Context, Ad Baculum, Violence, Power, Presidential rhetoric.

Between August 21 and September 10, 2013 President Obama provided a rationale for military strikes in response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in the suburbs of Damascus. This period was punctuated by a White House assessment that the Syrian Government was responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Ghota, and two speeches by President Obama on the use of military force. The first speech came on August 31, and requested Congressional authorization to use military force against the Assad regime. The second came on September 10 amidst indications that Congress might not authorize the use of force against Syria. The second speech, however, called for Congress to postpone the vote in order for a joint U.S.-Russian diplomatic effort to “push” Assad to give up his chemical weapons. Our concern is primarily with the communicative dimensions of this “shift” between military action and diplomatic negotiations. To that end, it is useful to recall a series of events which led up to these moments.

The Syrian uprising against Bashar al-Assad began in March of 2011 was among a series of protests against authoritarian regimes in North Africa and Southwest Asia. By April of that year Assad had committed himself to a military response to the uprising. In August, President Obama claimed that Assad had lost his legitimacy to rule and called for him to step down. The U.S. imposed deep sanctions on the Assad regime going so far as to close its embassy in Syria (Harding, Mahmood, & Weaver, 2012). By early 2012, Assad’s forces had shelled opposition forces in the city of Homs, and the protests of March 2011had transfigured into an armed rebellion. As the situation escalated, President Obama rejected directly arming the rebellion but also warned the Assad regime that the use of chemical weapons would be a tragic mistake. By August of 2012 President Obama had drawn a “red line” on the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, noting that any violation of the so called “red line” would change U.S. policy regarding military intervention in Syria.

When Obama was asked by Chuck Todd whether or not he envisioned “using [the] US military, if simply for nothing else, the safe keeping of the chemical weapons, and if you’re confident that the chemical weapons are safe?” Obama responded by saying that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculations about military engagement.

I have, at this point, not ordered military engagement in the situation. But the point that you made about chemical and biological weapons is critical. That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria; it concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us. We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people. We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is when we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation (The White House, 2012). Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Disruptive Definition As A Method Of Deterritorialization In Modern Argumentative Contexts

Abstract: This paper proposes the concept of disruptive definitions as a tool to territorialize, deterritorialize, and reterritorialize argumentative space. Upon exploring definitional scholarship, I investigate the argumentative strategies of herders along the Mongolian/Chinese border. Then, I ask how cross-border protest movements have used disruptive definitions to deterritorialize and reterritorialize government definitions of citizenship. Finally, I juxtapose these protests to Deleuze and Guattari’s nomadology to investigate the complex terrain of political struggle in our hyper-globalized, internetworked society.

Keywords: Argumentation, China, definition, identity, Mongolia nomadology, protest, territorialization

1. Introduction
In this paper, I propose the concept of disrupting definitions as a tool to territorialize, deterritorialize, and reterritorialize argumentative space. Specifically, I examine arguments made by herders along the Mongolian/Chinese border where argumentative space is territorialized by governments that define identity by residency. Communities have resisted this territorialization through cross-border protest movements using what I call disruptive definitions, those that define identity by culture, religion, history, or access to open space to deterritorialize and reterritorialize argumentative space. To better understand the effect of these new argumentative spaces, I juxtapose this analysis to Deleuze and Guattari’s metaphor of nomadology to explore the process of culture and identity meaning making among modern herding communities. From this study, I argue that deterritorialization-by-definition may produce radically expanded argumentative definitions that can be used as tools to investigate the complex terrain of political struggle in our hyper-globalized, internetworked society. Read more

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