ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Testing The Relationship Between Argument And Culture

Abstract: This paper proposes a framework for testing the relationship between argument and culture. The framework is based on the ideas that: 1) the minimal requirement for what constitutes argument across different cultures is the idea of argument as “linkage”, and 2) that arguments can be conceptualized in terms of the context of messages. A short exploratory analysis of a data set is used to illustrate the framework.

Keywords: argument, contexts, culture, Edward Hall, linkages

1. Introduction
The relationship between argument and culture has not been a common topic of consideration in the field of argumentation. The traditional view was that argument was a universal process that fundamentally operated the same everywhere. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the relationship between argument processes and culture, which has been manifest in an increasing use of “culture” in theoretical treatments of argumentation (e.g. Johnson, 2000), consideration of argument in non-Western traditions (Jensen, 1992; Combs, 2004), and studies of argumentation practices in various societies (Hornikx & Hoeken, 2007; Hazen & Inoue, 1991). However, even with this increased attention, what is missing in the literature is a systematic attempt to relate argument to culture.

We will contend that the study of argument across cultures reveals the limitations of existing definitions, the need for a more fundamental definition of argument that is part of the process of communication and that is linked to the phenomenological way argument is used among people. Therefore, we will explore the outline of such a framework by
1. defining argument as it can be applied across cultures,
2. relate argument to Hall’s theory of “contexting” (1977), and
3. examine the framework in terms of examples of cross-cultural argument.

2. Definitions of argument and cross-cultural considerations
To be able to outline the relationship between argument and culture, it is necessary to have a definition of argument that will work across cultures. Such a definition is necessary to insure that we are talking about the same phenomenon in different cultures.

Most definitions of argument have their origin in the Western tradition, and are closely associated with the following terms: logic, rationality, and reasoning. While a number of figures were involved with the development of argument in the West (Plato, Hermogoras, the author of the Ad Herennium, Cicero, and Quintilian), Aristotle is the pivotal figure in our thinking about the nature of argument. Aristotle’s ideas about argument are based on his observations of Athenian society. As such, they are complex and not totally systematic. On one hand, a number of his works deal with what has become known as formal or analytic argument with an emphasis on deduction and the syllogism designed to lead to certain knowledge. On the other hand, some of his works deal with the more informal or substantive processes of argument with an emphasis on the general acceptance of opinions (dialectic) or the convincing of an audience about a view (rhetorical) (van Eemeren, Grootendorst & Snoeck Henkemans, 1996; Wolf, 2010).

These viewpoints have proved problematic for the cross-cultural study of argument. First, forms of argument in the West and in other cultures may not appear to be comparable. Some of the forms of argument considered to be “valid” in western cultures may not be found or accepted in other cultures. Thus, Morrison (1972), in discussing Japan, asserted that there is a “virtual lack of any logical system resembling Aristotelian logic, experimental logic, or any other kind” (p. 90). His conclusion is based on a comparison of scholarly topics in Japan with those in the West, making it appear that comparable uses of argument do not appear across cultures. In addition, other forms of argument may be found in non-western cultures that do not seem to be the same as in Western cultures. Finally, cultures may have different norms about what are acceptable forms of argument. They may look with great displeasure on disagreement expressed in public situations. Thus, we are faced with a situation where our traditional ways of viewing argument do not seem to fit what we are finding in other cultures.

Second, the conditions under which our understanding of argument and logic developed in the West, and particularly in Athenian Greece and Republican Rome, were not typical at that point in time around the world and not been typical throughout most of human history. Athens was a city state (as opposed to larger entity like a kingdom or empire), and was quasi-democratic (as opposed to authoritarian as were most other states). These characteristics led Aristotle to focus his observations on the public use of argument to persuade others in democratic deliberations. Different political systems and assumptions about the role of the public and public discourse existed in other societies, which did not privilege certain elements of the argumentative process that were valued in some of the Western traditions. In an authoritarian society, public discourse and the attempt to persuade through argument is limited by the power structure and the assumptions of those in authority. When called upon to make arguments, people in these societies operated under tight constraints and faced dire consequences for the arguments that they made.

Third, as Aristotle and other thinkers have been interpreted and used over the course Western thought, there has been an over-emphasis on the proper forms or validity of arguments. While Aristotle discusses how argument works in everyday life, this emphasis has often been overlooked in Western thinking. He specifies that there is a rhetorical form of both induction (the example) and deduction (the enthymeme), where the key is that something is not explicitly stated in the message and the audience participates in the process a set of statements with the conclusion unstated or one example that serves to lead to a generalization. Such forms of argument could approximate the way people argue in everyday communication. One solution to this problem would be to simply default to the conclusion that argument varies across cultures and its forms are relative to the nature of a particular culture, however, such an approach would be premature. First, the comparison of western conceptual forms of argument with the description of eastern forms of actual argument is not a parallel type of analysis. The appropriate comparison would be the description of actual argument behavior in both the west and the east. Second, the frequency of use of a particular form of argument is not an indicator of whether a particular form exists in a culture or is capable of existing in the discourse of a culture. And third, if we see argument as completely under the direction of culture, then it overlooks a major force for cultural change and does not correspond to the actual analysis of historical events. Instead, a more fruitful approach may be to explore whether our definitions of argument are limiting what we see in other cultures. What are the bare essentials of argument? This question can be answered from the perspective of both function and form.

The result of these emphases in Western thought is a need for a view of argument that
a. would fit any culture,
b. would fit societies ranging from to democratic to authoritarian,
c. would fit historical examples as well as the present, and d) would deal with informal as well as formal views of argument.

3. The need for a cross-cultural definition of argument
We are interested in describing what arguments look like in other cultures. This necessitates going behind the labels and ways of talking about argument in one culture, and looking for what is in common in the process across cultures. Thus, we need a definition of argument that is minimalistic, i.e. would use the most basic or foundational aspect of argument to define the process.

My desire to think about arguments in a more fundamental sense grew out of my experiences attempting to explain argument within different cultures such as Japan, the Soviet Union (Russia) and later China. These experiences led me to believe that our conceptions of argument and logic while useful and worthwhile did not automatically encompass the concept at its most fundamental level; particularly as it applies to different cultures and different time periods.

This position can be explained in terms of an incident in my first intercultural experience. As part of the NCA’s Committee on International Discussion and Debate program, I found myself in Japan with two American students for a six week tour involving debate. At one stop, I was asked to give a lecture on what is logic to an audience of about 600 students and faculty. My immediate inclination was to fall back on my training in Western argumentation theory and discuss things as deduction and induction. However, since I knew that the members of this audience were less likely to be familiar with that tradition, I started to wonder whether there was some more fundamental way to explain argument to these people.

My concern was not meant to deny the importance of any of the highly elaborate and established systems of logic that have been developed in the West or even in such societies as India and China. Instead, I was asking a simple question about what is the most fundamental idea underlying the concept of argument, i.e. what constitutes the most minimal definition of argument? We know that in a culture such as Japan or China, there are long histories of intellectual inquiry, but that the concept of argument as set forth in Western societies is not present in the same forms. This does not mean that argument is not present or even thought about in those cultures, but it does mean that our way of thinking about argument may not be the most fundamental way of understanding the process. These concerns have led me to wonder whether our present conceptions of argument are the most basic ways of representing the fundamental nature of the argumentation process.

A consideration of this question can start with an article written by Corbett (1986), where he explored the question of how argumentation strategies have changed from ancient to modern times in the West. His thesis is that changes have occurred in the strategies of argumentation particularly as they relate to “kinds and combinations of attendant factors,” however, there is a single archetypal pattern that spans this period of time. The archetypal pattern, as he sees it is one in which a person makes an assertion and if it is not self-evident or cogent enough to compel conviction, then they present evidence or arguments to support the assertion. If we look at this pattern, he starts with an assertion that becomes linked indirectly to things that are self-evident such as cultural assumptions, or that compel acceptance by their implied elements or that directly present evidence to support the assertion.

Further analysis of the various treatments of argument and attendant concepts reveal a similar theme of linkage emerging from the thickets of difference and convolutedness. For example, in many discussions of formal logic and forms of valid reasoning, the word “inference” keeps reappearing. Kneale & Kneale (1962) in their monumental discussion of The Development of Logic, in their first sentence say that “logic is concerned with the principles of valid inference” and that such forms imply the seeking of “proof” (p. 1), which involves premises and arguments from them to some conclusion. The idea of drawing inferences from premises involves drawing “links” between ideas in a fashion that are judged as valid.

Standard treatments of argument in the mid-twentieth century, have similar suggestions. For example, Ehninger (1974) defines an argument as “a single capsule or unit of proof” that can be “grouped together into organized patterns” (p. 1). A similar traditional definition of an argument is that of a claim and reasons for it (Toulmin, Rieke & Janik, 1979), which also reveals the idea of linkage.

In the last half of the twentieth century, another view of argument became prominent, which viewed it as a disagreement between people. O’Keefe’s (1977) combined the two views by distinguishing between argument1 where argument is viewed as a kind of utterance that one makes and argument2 where argument is viewed as a kind of interaction or process. Argument1 exemplifies most of the traditional ways of thinking about argument, while argument2 takes the colloquial idea of disagreement and situates it within the accepted canon of what constitutes argument. Should we be concerned with whether arguments are seen as the products of interaction or seen as a process of interaction? Should we see argument as tied implicitly to the concepts of validity and “good” arguments versus “bad” arguments?

4. A cross-culture view of argument
In general, there is no conceptual problem with the accepted definitions, however, when approaching argument from a comparative and intercultural perspective, it is useful to think of it in a minimalistic sense. It is important to view argument in terms of the activities that perform the argument function in different cultures so as to not get caught up in disagreement about whether argument exists in particular cultures based on whether a particular label is used. This pragmatic approach is based on viewing phenomena as argument when they function as argument whether they are defined as argument in a particular society or not.

4.1 The form of argument
As discussed above, the question of “what is argument” in cross-cultural setting seems to be related to the idea of linking, i.e. it connects ideas and pieces of information so as to provide coherency and support between them. This perspective is broad enough to include the various definitions of argument and therefore is more parsimonious but more importantly, it starts to get at what argument is doing phenomenologically in different cultures. It describes the process that people actually use to justify their views and positions in communicative exchanges. The resulting linking process may be a generally accepted one such as going from a series of examples to a generalization or it may be a less familiar form where one goes from a period of silence to an implication about a person’s character. As a result, it is easier to see the argument function in any culture when it is viewed as linkages between things. When argument is defined in narrower ways such as in traditional Aristotelian forms of argument1, it may be seen as absent in cultures such as Japan (Morrison 1972) and when defined as argument2 it may be seen as inconsistent with the emphasis on harmony in Confucian cultures (Becker 1986). Therefore:

1. The form of argument should be thought of as involving the linking of any two ideas, concepts or feelings.

A major part of the proposed perspective on argument is the distinction between the form of argument and the function of argument. The aspects of form and function are often conflated in discussions of argument. For example when we talk about argument as a “kind of utterance” or a “kind of interaction” we seem to be suggesting something about the form of an argument and when we talk about induction and deduction, we are definitely referring to form. However, when we talk about reasoned decision-making, we could be talking about either form (the steps of the process) or function (the outcome of the process). Most of the discussions about argument in different cultures seem to focus on the form aspects of argument and conclude that argument is absent in a culture, if the form is absent (e.g. deduction or debate). However, when we shift to looking at function, we find a fundamental human outcome that takes a number of forms. We could leave the analysis at this point, and accept the idea that any form that fulfills the function is argument and while accepting the common function, explore the different forms. However, there is a further step to consider, whether the forms have anything in common?

4.2 The function of argument
Arguments should be defined in terms of the activities that fulfill a function not their labels. So, it does not matter if we call argument “logos,” “wen,” “logic,” or even “argument”. As a result, the task for argument theory is to explain the functioning of argument in different cultures, i.e. the process of convincing others of the best course of action whether it be in the democratic forms of decision-making or before an absolute monarch with the power of life and death, and the resulting forms it can take in different situations. The task for the study of culture is to outline the dynamic process that explains how meaning and conviction are generated in a culture. This means moving beyond the idea that culture dictates the nature of meaning and argument to a more nuanced idea that sees argument as sometimes influenced by cultures, sometimes reinforcing culture and sometimes changing or generating culture. The result is that in linking ideas, argument functions to make one idea related to another idea and in so doing increases the plausibility and believability of the original idea. Therefore:

2. The Argumentative Function is the linking of ideas so that they support each other and in doing so, making sense to people and influence others

It should be noted that this perspective is broader than it may initially appear. First, the use of phrases such as “justify” or “reasons” should not be taken to imply a degree of conscious intention as sometimes happens in Western theory. Instead, it implies a function that a person may or may not be aware of but that they still find makes sense. In addition, it should not be assumed that everything is explicitly stated in a verbal fashion. Indirectness, implication, and silence can all function as part of the argument process as can the verbal, nonverbal and situational. The result is a view of argument where ideas are linked in both conscious and unconscious fashions using a plethora of means going beyond the explicitly verbal with results that may be consciously intended or not.

If we look at the function of argument, its primary function has always been to convince someone of the truth, rightness or correctness of a claim. Argument does this by linking the claim to other things, which may, in the Toulmin sense, be called grounds, warrants, backing etc. or in non-western cultures, something else. Thus, functionally, arguments exist in cultures whenever someone presents two things (a claim and a reason?) as linked in an effort to convince someone else. What is accepted as the claim and what is accepted as support may vary from culture to culture, and what links are accepted as valid may also vary, however, at a bare minimum, ideas are linked together to function as a means of convincing someone else.

So, why have we not been able to see the argumentative function as operating in all cultures? There are at least five reasons. First, cultures vary in the degree to which they expect messages to be explicit or implicit. The problem here is that people from cultures that expect to see explicit arguments may not see the implicitness of arguments in other cultures. They may not be able to understand the claim or any of the kinds of support that are present because they expressed in an indirect fashion or even not verbally expressed at all.

Second, understood knowledge is often an important part of arguments, but much of that knowledge is cultural. Aristotle recognized this in his discussions of the enthymeme and the example as the rhetorical forms of deduction and induction. The problem is being able to see the presence, and understand the meaning of, such knowledge in cultures in which we are not immersed.

Third, cultures vary in the degree to which they depend on the verbal and the nonverbal to communicate. If the nonverbal is used to provide information in a message situation, someone from outside the culture may not be aware of its presence or meaning. Fourth, the norms for what is acceptable argument and for the presence of disagreement vary from culture to culture. Where public disagreement is frowned on, there is a tendency to use non-explicit forms of argument, which will probably not be apparent to an outsider.

Finally, the rhetorical exigencies of a culture and period of time often vary and constrain the types of argument used. In strongly authoritarian societies, the use of implicit and safe forms of argument are essential for survival. This does not mean that people are not capable of using explicit argument, just that it is not expedient. Thus, we can see that a major part of the problem of difference in argument forms across cultures is the inability to see how argument functions because of outsider status and the concomitant tendency to assume that argument ought to look like that with which we are familiar.

4.3 The importance of argument description cross-culturally
Describing arguments across cultures tells us what kind of arguments (linkages of ideas) people use and think make sense. The comparative perspective is primarily interested in argument from a descriptive point of view where we look at what is functioning as argument in any culture. It is not to be denied that a normative element can be overlaid on this definition by those who choose to do so, i.e. they can look for the pattern of idea linkages that they think are valid or lead to good decisions or that a society thinks are valid and may lead to good decisions. However, a descriptive approach to argument as a function can be seen as prior to the normative in that only when we can describe what people are doing argumentatively, can we make judgments about it. When a normative definition is privileged, it can result in situations where argument is equated with forms of democracy, free expression or types of decision-making. The result is that such forms of argument may not be present in a culture due to its political traditions even though the process of argument is still functioning in other ways. It is useful then to look at the phenomenon of argument as it functions in different cultures and then talk about what characteristic patterns of links are doing and what values they incorporate.

3. The cross-cultural study of argument or the argumentative function needs to describe how arguments are used in a culture before evaluating their validity

5. Argument & contextuality
The theory developed by Edward Hall, over a long career, provides a way of looking at the relationship between communication and culture that is compatible with the proposal developed in the previous section. He is famous for his aphorism: “Communication is culture and culture is communication,” however, the exact nature of the relationship is embodied in his idea of “contexting”. Contexting is based on the following question: What information do people pay attention to when communicating with each other? Hall assumes that people are presented with more information than they can pay attention to and as a result they have to choose what kinds of information to encode and to pay attention to. The patterns used for encoding and decoding are what he defines as “contexting.”

For Hall, contexting is a process that occurs at both the level of the culture and the level of messages, even though his basic definition of contexting is in terms of messages. Cultural contextuality can probably be best thought of as a set of norms that condition the perceptual tendency about where to look for information and how to encode it in messages. On the other hand, message contextuality ought to be thought of as a set of message features that provide or direct people to certain places for information.

For Hall, messages can fall along a continuum between low context messages on one end and high context messages on the other end. Low context messages are those where “the mass of the information is vested in the explicit code” (i.e. spoken or written communication). High context messages are where “most of the information is either in the physical context or internalized in the person.” The external or physical context of the message involves things such as the situation, the setting, the status of people involved, and the activity, while the internal context includes things such as past experiences, common cultural information, common cultural assumptions, the structure of the brain and nervous system, e.g. Gestalt rules of perception).

In most cases, messages are a mixture of explicit information and contextual information, which affects the appearance of arguments across cultures. Of course, this idea is closely related to Aristotle’s ideas of the enthymeme and the example. It can also be seen in the following discussion of the difference between formal systems of reasoning and everyday systems of reasoning by Johnson-Laird and Wason (1977) within the context of cognitive science. They argue that “The distinction between conscious deductions and everyday inference is probably a reflection of a more general contrast that can be drawn between explicit and implicit inferences” (p. 5). And of course, inferences involve the moving from one idea to another in a fashion so that they are linked.

People do not operate exclusively out of a low context or high context perspective. Individuals may move back and forth on the message continuum depending on the situation. For example, Americans, when talking with close friends where there is a high degree of homogeneity or familiarity among the communicators, are more likely to use messages toward the high context end of the continuum. But when talking with people they do not know or when communicating in formal settings like the legal system, they are more likely to explicitly spell out their arguments in low context messages.

The kind of process that Hall discusses in his ideas about the contextuality of messages is very similar to that proposed for thinking about arguments across cultures. The information in a message, whether explicitly expressed or not, provides the elements that can serve as an argument. Furthermore, in Hall’s conception, presumably the information that is expressed in the various parts of a message is seen as linked by the participants in the interaction. Thus, if all or part of the message functions as an argument that may or may not be explicitly expressed, then arguments may be contextualized in the culture and may function in any possible combination of explicit and implicit elements.

6. A cross-cultural exploration of the theory
To demonstrate how this theory might work, we will examine some data from a 2008 study by Hazen, Inoue, Fourcade and Maruta. The study compared the responses of 42 American students from a private southeastern university with 46 Japanese students from a public university in the southern part of Japan. We will look at a subset of the data to explore the relationship between arguments as linkages and contextual characteristics of print advertisements. Eight print ads from the United States and Japan were selected on the basis of a pilot study to represent both high and low context messages that would be interchangeable between the two cultures (Fourcade & Hazen, 2006).

The question will be what relationships exist between measures of linkage such as “making sense” and “cohesiveness” with a measure of “logicality” and with measures of contextuality such as “clearness,” “implicitness,” informativeness,” “completeness,” and “obviousness. Japan has usually been assumed to be a culture that makes greater use of high context arguments than the United States, which is seen as more likely to use low context arguments.

A ranking was made of the overall degree to which the participants saw each of the messages as making sense on a seven-point scale (1=makes sense). Two of the advertisements seemed to make sense to both the American and the Japanese samples, Fritolay chips (2.18) and Dell Printer (2.80), and one advertisement did not seem to make sense, Vodaphone cellphone (4.69) especially for the Japanese. There were also two advertisements that fell in the middle of sense continuum: Kanebo cold medicine (3.71) and HP speakers (3.71). Using these three references points, we will make some observations about the relationship between argument linkages and contextuality. In the original framing of these advertisements, FritoLay, Dell, and Kanebo were seen as on the low contextuality side, while Vodaphone and HP were seen as on the high contextuality side.

For Japanese sample, a couple of interesting relationships are present. In terms of logic, there is a significant negative correlation between making sense and logicality for both ends of the continuum (the high sense ads and the low sense ads), i.e. the more sense the ad made, the less logical it was seen as. Since logic is not a traditional concept in Japanese thought, it may be that this term does not fit into their thinking about arguments. In addition, the more sense that ads were seen as making, the more obvious they were seen as. Which is interesting because the relationship between sense making and certainty was seen as negative, i.e. the more sense an ad made, the less certain it was.

On the other hand, the American sample, generally did not see a relationship between making sense and logicality. In the one case where they did, for the Vodaphone ad, it was a significant positive relationship, i.e. the advertisement was not seen as making a lot of sense and it was not seen as logical. For all of the advertisements, the relationship between making sense and two contextuality characteristics, obviousness & clearness, were seen as consistently positive and significant, i.e. as the ads made more sense, they were seen as being more obvious and clear.

The preceding analysis of this data suggests that the framework of argument links (making sense) and contextuality characteristics can provide interesting insights into the way argument works and the differences between cultures.

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – The Linked-Convergent Distinction

Abstract: The linked-convergent distinction introduced by Stephen Thomas in 1977 is primarily a distinction between ways in which two or more reasons can directly support a claim, and only derivatively a distinction between types of structures, arguments, reasoning, reasons, or premisses. As with the deductive-inductive distinction, there may be no fact of the matter as to whether a given multi-premiss argument is linked or convergent.

Keywords: argument structure, coordinatively compound argumentation, convergent, linked, Monroe C. Beardsley, multiple argumentation, Stephen N. Thomas, support

1. Introduction
Once upon a time introductory logic textbooks did not mention the linked-convergent distinction. See for example Cohen and Nagel (1934), Black (1946), and Copi (1978). Stephen Thomas was the first one to draw it, in 1977.[i] Thomas took the term ‘convergent’ from Monroe Beardsley’s earlier textbook, from which come also the terms ‘divergent argument’ and ‘serial argument’ (Beardsley, 1950, p. 19). A contrast concept was already implicit in Beardsley’s recognition that a reason that “converges” along with one or more other reasons on a conclusion might itself consist internally of more than one coordinate premiss. Thomas refined Beardsley’s concept of convergence, made the contrast concept explicit, coined the term ‘linked’ for it, and supplemented Beardsley’s convention for diagramming convergent reasons with a convention for diagramming the linkage among the coordinate premisses of a multi-premiss reason. Independently of Thomas’s innovation, Michael Scriven (1976, p. 42) introduced a similar distinction, with a different diagramming convention, but used the term ‘balance of considerations’ to describe an argument with a convergent support structure. Johnson and Blair (1977, p. 177) and Hitchcock (1983, pp. 49-52) appropriate Scriven’s way of making the distinction.

The distinction appears with Thomas’s labels and diagramming conventions as a topic in many introductory textbooks. See for example Freeman (1993, pp. 86-106), Ennis (1996, p. 39), LeBlanc (1998, pp. 32-36), Fisher (2001, pp. 32-38), Bailin and Battersby (2010, pp. 42-44), Govier (2010, pp. 37-39), Vaughn and MacDonald (2010, pp. 95-96), and Groarke and Tindale (2013, 115-119). Many of these textbooks explain the distinction in one short section, with exercises on applying it, but neither mention nor use the distinction elsewhere – a sign that its inclusion has become a piece of scholasticism.

The distinction is intuitively clear. Where more than one premiss is offered in direct support of a conclusion, the premisses sometimes work together to support it and are in this sense linked, whereas at other times distinct subsets of them offer independently relevant reasons that “converge” on the conclusion. A paradigm case of linked support would be a deductively valid two-premiss argument where neither premiss by itself entails the conclusion, such as the argument:

(1) There is no life on Mars, because its atmosphere is in a stable equilibrium, which would not be the case if there were life on that planet.

A paradigm case of convergent support would be an appeal to disparate considerations or criteria in support of the attribution of some supervenient status to their common subject, such as the following argument:

(2) There should be no capital punishment. The death penalty violates human rights codes that forbid cruel and unusual punishment, cannot be reversed or compensated for if it is discovered that a person was innocent of the crime for which they were executed, is no less effective as a deterrent than the likely alternative of a long prison term, and is not needed to prevent a person convicted of a capital crime from repeating that crime.

Despite this intuitive clarity, it has turned out to be difficult to spell out theoretically when premisses are linked and when they “converge”. This difficulty has given rise to several scholarly treatments of the distinction, among which Walton (1996) and Freeman (2011) stand out for making it a major focus of their books on argument structure.

In this paper I wish to make one main point: that the distinction is primarily a distinction among types of support, not among arguments, premisses, reasons or structures. Only derivatively can we apply the distinction to arguments, premisses, reasons and structures. This point seems to me to be obvious once one is made aware of it, but it seems not to have been made in the literature. It implies that the search is futile for a criterion of linkage in terms of the consequences for the strength of support of finding a premiss questionable or false (e.g. no support upon falsification, diminished type of support upon elimination, etc.). Nevertheless, I shall argue, the distinction is useful.

2. Convergence: not multiplicity of arguments
Initially we should be clear that the linked-convergent distinction is not a distinction between a single multi-premiss argument and multiple independent arguments. There is nothing particularly problematic about the concept of distinct arguments for a single conclusion. We have clear examples of such “piling on” of arguments, as in Aristotle’s 21 arguments in his Metaphysics against Plato’s theory of forms (Aristotle, 1984 [4th century BCE], 988a1-8 and 990a34-993a10), Thomas Aquinas’s five ways of proving the existence of God (Aquinas, 1913 [1269], I, Q. 2, Art. 3), and the 367 different ways of proving the Pythagorean theorem (; accessed 2014 05 24). The appropriate response to such texts is to treat each argument by itself: identifying, analyzing, interpreting and evaluating it as if no other argument for the conclusion were in the offing.

There is however some controversy over how to combine the results of such evaluations. Pollock (1995, pp. 101-102) doubts that there is accrual of independent reasons, and assumes that the degree of justification for a conclusion supported by separate undefeated arguments is simply the maximum of the strengths of those arguments. He argues that cases adduced as evidence of accrual of independent reasons, such as the greater reliability of testimony when given independently by two witnesses than when given by just one of them, are in fact cases where the separate pieces of information function as premisses of a single argument. Selinger (2014) on the other hand takes a new argument to reduce the uncertainty left by any preceding arguments for the same conclusion, provided that the premisses of the new argument are independent of the premisses of its predecessors. On the basis of this intuition, he provides a formula for calculating the degree of acceptability conferred on a conclusion by a set of such independent arguments. The inputs to this formula are provided by a valuation function which assigns to each premiss and each inference (but not to the conclusion) degrees of acceptability ranging from 0 for complete unacceptability via ½ for being neither acceptable nor unacceptable to 1 for complete acceptability. Let v(αij) be the degree of acceptability of a premiss αij of an argument j with conclusion α, and w(α|α1j, …, αnj) be the degree of conditional acceptability in this argument of its conclusion α given total acceptability of its premisses α1j, …, αnj. If the premisses of this argument are independent and the product of their degrees of acceptability is greater than ½ (meaning that the conjunction of the premisses is more acceptable than not), then the degree of acceptability vj(α) conferred on the conclusion α by the argument is the product v(α1j)’ …’ v(αnj)  w(αj|α1j,…, αnj). (This formula can be adjusted to accommodate cases where the premisses of an argument are not independent of one another.) The degree of acceptability conferred on α by m such arguments (m > 1) with independent premisses is given by the formula v1(α) vm(α), where xy = 2x + 2y – 2xy – 1. Selinger’s formula appears to give intuitively acceptable results. For example, according to the formula two independent proofs that each confer separately a total acceptability of 1 on a theorem confer together the same acceptability of 1, whereas two independent arguments that each confer an acceptability of 3/4 on a claim together confer an acceptability of 7/8 and a new independent argument that confers an acceptability on a claim only slightly greater than ½ raises the acceptability of this claim by a very small amount. Thus the conflict between Pollock’s rejection of accrual of independent reasons and Selinger’s acceptance of this sort of accrual comes down to a conflict of intuitions. It is an open question whether there is any compelling argument that would resolve the conflict.

There is also an interpretive difficulty in determining whether an additional supporting reason introduced by a bridging term like ‘besides’ or ‘moreover’ or ‘further’ is a new argument or merely an independently relevant part of a single argument. This difficulty is best resolved by applying a moderate principle of charity, according to which an ambiguous text or discourse is to be disambiguated in the way that makes it more plausible. The difference between independently relevant reasons in a single argument and multiple arguments for the same conclusion implies, as Freeman (2011, pp. 108-113) has pointed out, that the pragma-dialectical distinction between coordinatively compound argumentation and multiple argumentation is not the same as the linked-convergent distinction. Multiple argumentation involves distinct speech act complexes, in each of which one or more arguments are advanced in an attempt to justify a point of view – as it happens, the same one in each case. Coordinatively compound argumentation involves a single complex of speech acts in which more than one premiss is used in direct support of a point of view. From the pragma-dialectical perspective, the linked-convergent distinction is a distinction within the class of coordinatively compound argumentation. Snoeck Henkemans (1992, pp. 96-99), for example, recognizes two types of coordinatively compound argumentation, cumulative and complementary, which stand to each other roughly (but not exactly) as convergent arguments stand to linked arguments.

Beardsley and Thomas may have contributed to confusion between multiple arguments for a single conclusion and multiple independently relevant reasons in a single argument. Indeed, they may themselves have conflated these two concepts. They diagram convergent reasoning with a separate arrow from each independently relevant reason to the conclusion, thus giving the visual impression that there are distinct inferences to be evaluated but no need for a comprehensive assessment of how well the reasons taken together support the conclusion. Further, Beardsley refers to convergent reasoning as involving “independent reasons”– a phrase that could easily be read to cover independent arguments as well as independently relevant reasons in a single argument. Further, since Beardsley gives only two examples of convergent structures (one an argument from sign [1950, p. 18] and the other an [intuitively linked] argument for an evaluation [p. 21]) and makes nothing of the concept in his approach to evaluating arguments, it is hard to flesh out his ambiguous definition of a convergent argument as one in which “several independent reasons support the same conclusion” (p. 19). Beardsley in fact made less and less use of the concept of convergence in subsequent editions of his textbook; in the second (1956) edition it is merely mentioned at the beginning of a check-up quiz, and it is missing from the third (1966) and fourth (1975) editions. It seems then that users of the first edition did not find its concept of convergence particularly useful. For his part, Thomas (1977, p. 39) conflates independently relevant reasons in a single argument with distinct arguments sharing a conclusion by counting as convergent reasoning not only independent reasons for some action but also separate alleged proofs of a single claim, such as different arguments for the existence of God.[ii]

3. The primary sphere of the distinction
To get a sense of the primary field of application of the linked-convergent distinction, we need to go beyond the intuitive distinction between premisses that work together and premiss-sets that constitute independently relevant reasons. We need to look at how the distinction is used, and in particular how the concept of convergent reasoning is applied. For this purpose, our most extensive and therefore best sources are the treatment of practical decision-making in the various editions of Thomas’s textbook (1977, 1981, 1986, 1997) and the treatment of conductive reasoning in the various editions of Trudy Govier’s textbook (Govier, 1985, 1988, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2010).

In the last edition of his textbook (Thomas, 1997), which presumably incorporates his most developed thinking on the topic, Thomas devotes 57 pages (385-441) to practical decision-making. He recommends a five-component approach to important personal decision-making situations:

1. Identify mutually exclusive options.
2. For each option, articulate whatever possible reasons pro and con one can think of.
3. Evaluate separately the acceptability and relevance of each such reason.
4. Consider reasons bearing on the acceptability or relevance of each reason (and reasons bearing on the acceptability or relevance of those reasons, and so on).
5. Pick the option that is best supported by its undefeated pro reasons and least opposed by its undefeated con reasons.

Diagramming these components is helpful, and perhaps even essential, for keeping track of one’s reasoning. In diagramming the reasoning concerning each option, Thomas uses separate arrows for each reason–solid if it is a pro reason, dashed if it is a con reason (including a reason against the acceptability or relevance of another reason). He illustrates his recommended procedure with reference to two decision-making situations, described initially in the words of the decision-maker: a choice of living accommodation (pp. 395-404) and a choice of whether to move cities in order to get a better job in one’s company (pp. 414-430).

We find a similar approach in Trudy Govier’s treatment of what she calls “conductive arguments” (Govier, 2010, p. 353), which she characterizes as “arguments in which premises are put forward as separately and non-conclusively relevant to support a conclusion, against which negatively relevant considerations may also be acknowledged” (2011, p. 262) and whose structure she describes as “always convergent” (2010, p. 352). Like Thomas, she proposes that one evaluate such arguments by considering for each premiss separately not only whether it is rationally acceptable but also whether it is relevant, positively or negatively, to the conclusion. After having done so, one should judge the strength of support given by each positively relevant rationally acceptable reason separately and by these reasons cumulatively, the strength of opposition given by each negatively relevant rationally acceptable counter-consideration separately and by these counter-considerations cumulatively, and the size of the difference between the cumulative support and the cumulative opposition (Govier, 1999, p. 170; 2010, pp. 365-366). Govier illustrates this complex procedure with reference to an invented argument for legalizing voluntary euthanasia (Govier, 2010, pp. 360-363).

Thomas and Govier have developed more extensively than any other authors a procedure for evaluating convergent reasoning and argument. Although their procedures differ and are illustrated by application to different types of arguments, they have an important commonality: separate judgment of the relevance to some conclusion of each of a number of diverse considerations, criteria, or signs. The point of distinguishing independently relevant, or putatively relevant, reasons pro and con in a convergent structure is thus to isolate them for separate consideration. If a given reason turns out to be unacceptable, questionable or irrelevant, it is still possible to estimate the strength of support that the remaining acceptable and relevant reasons give to the conclusion. The partitioning into distinct reasons is a necessary preliminary to this evaluative approach, but would generally not be helpful for evaluating other types of arguments.

The appropriate criterion for convergence, then, is the independent relevance to a conclusion of distinct sub-sets of an argument’s premisses. Relevance in this sense is an ontic property, that of counting in context for or against the conclusion drawn. It is not a mental property of the person putting forward the argument, such as the arguer’s intention or belief. Nor is it a property of the argumentative text, such as a claim or textual indication that the supporting reasons are being put forward as independently relevant. Convergence is thus primarily a feature of the way in which multiple coordinate premisses of a piece of reasoning or argument in fact work to support the conclusion. They do so convergently when and only when distinct sub-sets of the premisses adduce distinct considerations or criteria or signs that are in fact relevant, positively or negatively, to the conclusion drawn.

Although convergence is primarily a property of the support that multiple coordinate premisses provide to a conclusion, one can apply the concept derivatively to reasoning, arguments, premisses, reasons and argument structures. Reasoning and argument are convergent when they have multiple coordinate premisses that can be partitioned into distinct sub-sets that it is plausible to interpret as put forward as independently relevant to the conclusion. In that case, the reasoning or argument can be said to have a convergent structure. The reasons constituted by such distinct sub-sets should then be treated as being put forward as convergent, i.e. as independently relevant to the conclusion, even if on evaluation not all of them turn out to be both rationally acceptable and relevant. If any such reason consists of a single premiss, then one can take that premiss to be put forward as convergent; otherwise, the concept of convergence should not be applied to the individual premisses.

Since convergence is primarily a way that a claim can be supported, there is judgment involved in deciding to treat a piece of reasoning or argument by the procedure appropriate to a convergent support structure. In cases where the reasons into which one partitions multiple coordinate premisses are not all rationally acceptable and relevant, the decision to partition may rest on syntactical considerations (e.g. a number of premisses attributing various characteristics to a common subject to which the conclusion attributes some further characteristic), semantic considerations (e.g. the status of the conclusion as a policy decision and the corresponding status of the distinct premiss-sets as diverse consequences or rules or deontic principles, or the status of the conclusion as a diagnosis and the corresponding status of the distinct premiss-sets as diverse signs or symptoms), textual considerations (e.g. the introduction of a subsequent premiss-set by the word ‘besides’), and perhaps other sorts of considerations. Decisions to partition premisses based on such considerations are not correct or incorrect, but only more or less reasonable. Thus there may be no fact of the matter about whether a particular piece of reasoning or argument with multiple coordinate premisses is convergent, since the case for partitioning the premisses may be about as strong as the case against partitioning them. In this respect, the situation is exactly like that of deciding whether a piece of reasoning or argument is deductive, i.e. appropriately evaluated by the standard of deductive validity. The claim of the present paper that convergence is primarily a way in which a claim can be supported rather than primarily a type of argument is exactly parallel to my claim long ago that deduction is primarily a type of validity rather than a type of argument (Hitchcock, 1979).

What about the concept of linkage? If we take linkage to be the complement of convergence, we can define it as support by multiple coordinate premisses in some way other than by distinct considerations or criteria or signs that are separately relevant, positively or negatively, to the conclusion drawn. As with convergence, we can derivatively define linked reasoning, arguments, premisses, and argument structures as those that it is appropriate to treat for evaluative purposes as linked. Judgment will be involved in making the decision about appropriateness.

This conception of linkage is purely negative. It implies nothing about the effect on the strength of support of finding that a premiss of an argument with linked support is questionable or unacceptable. And a fortiori it implies nothing about this effect in the case of an argument or reasoning that one decides, appropriately or not, to treat as linked for evaluative purposes. Thus, if we accept this conception of linkage, we should regard as exercises in futility the many attempts in the literature to find a criterion for linkage in the consequences of “suspending” a premiss or finding it false: diminished support upon falsification (Thomas, 1977, p. 38), no support upon falsification (Copi, 1982, p. 21), insufficient support upon elimination (Snoeck Henkemans, 1992), type reduction upon elimination (Vorobej, 1994), and so forth. In any case, there is a useless spinning of wheels in applying any such test if the point of classifying an argument as linked is to facilitate evaluation, since one has to do the evaluation first in order to classify the argument in a way that indicates how one is to do the evaluation. Better just to do the evaluation and forget about the classification.

It might be doubted that suspension or falsification of a premiss in an argument with linked support for the conclusion can have no effect at all on the strength of support that it gives to that conclusion. A simple example of such an argument is one that has a redundant premiss whose suspension or falsification does not affect the status of the other premisses–for example, the argument:

(3) If there were life on Mars, its atmosphere would be in an unstable equilibrium; the atmosphere on Mars is not in an unstable equilibrium; Mars is an asteroid; therefore, there is no life on Mars.

The third premiss is known to be false, but this fact does not affect the strength of support given by the argument, which is in fact conclusive, given that the first and second premisses are both known to be true.

How then should we evaluate an argument that we decide to treat as if its support were linked? A straightforward way is to judge first the status of each premiss separately, in terms for example of whether it is acceptable, questionable or unacceptable. Then determine how strongly the premisses with their attributed statuses collectively support the conclusion and whether in context that degree of support is enough. It is important in such an exercise not to treat a premiss found to be questionable as if it had never been part of the argument, since its questionable status might affect the strength of support differently than its omission would have. Consider for example the following argument:

(4) Since everyone would agree on reflection that public knowledge that physicians may deceive their patients about their medical status would have worse consequences than public knowledge that physicians may not so deceive their patients, then physicians should not engage in such deception, for violations of the moral rule against deception are not justified under such conditions (cf. Gert, 2005).

If one finds the major premiss questionable, then one should take the argument to provide at best weak support for the conclusion, whereas one might reasonably take a variant of the argument without the major premiss to provide moderate support for the conclusion.

4. Conclusion
The linked-convergent distinction introduced by Stephen Thomas (1977) is not the same as the distinction between a single argument for a claim and multiple arguments for a claim. It is a distinction to be applied within the class of single arguments for a claim, specifically to such arguments with more than one premiss. It is primarily a distinction between ways in which two or more premisses in such an argument can directly support a claim. Support is convergent if the premisses can be partitioned into independently relevant reasons that each consist of rationally acceptable premisses. Support is linked if the premisses cannot be partitioned into independently relevant reasons that each consist of rationally acceptable premisses. One can classify arguments, reasoning, premisses, or structures as linked or convergent only in a secondary or derivative sense, where what is involved is a judgment call on what type of support the argument, reasoning or component is attempting to provide. Hence, as with the deductive-inductive distinction, there may be no fact of the matter as to whether a given multi-premiss argument is linked or convergent.

The value of the distinction lies in the consequences of treating an argument component as having convergent structure. Such a decision introduces into the evaluation of the premisses a consideration of the independent relevance of each premiss-set that is partitioned as a reason – a step that makes no sense if one is treating it as having linked structure. We should not automatically assume, however, that we can refute an argument component that we are treating as having linked structure by refuting just one of its premisses. We need to check and see.

i. He claims (1986, p. 457) to have introduced it in the 1973 edition of his Practical Reasoning in Natural Language, but I have been unable to find a copy of this textbook published before 1977, despite the claim (Thomas, 1977, p. ii) of copyright in 1973, 1974 and 1975.
ii. This example disappears from the fourth (1997) edition of his textbook. A third type of example, in which a claim is supported both by evidence and by testimony, occurs only in the first two editions (1977, 1981) of his textbook

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – A General Rule For Analogy

Abstract: The following contribution attempts to introduce a number of candidate descriptions that can render an argument from analogy deductive. The starting point is the much–discussed notion that one of the argument’s premises could comprise a ‘general rule’ which helps guarantee the conclusion’s necessity. Taking Wohlrapp’s (2008) pragmatic approach to the issue, the general rule in analogy can be described in terms of its contribution to satisfy individuals’ need of orientation.

Keywords: argument from analogy; argument structure; deductive analogy; general rule; orientation; pragmatism; Wohlrapp

1. The rule issue with arguments from analogy

Imagine, Anna is a student who comes to see her professor during office hours saying

1. I need an extension on my paper


2. My classmate got an extension, too .

Evidently, what Anna is using here is an argument from analogy: it crucially relies on relevant similarity of two cases and it obviously comprises the characteristic general structure known at least since Aristotle (2003, 1131f):

A : B = C : D

A and B are properties of case I (Anna’s classmate’s case) and C and D are properties of case II (Anna’s case). Anna lets us know that her classmate (A) got an extension (B) and that Anna herself (C) should get an extension (D). But how does this work?

Often it is hard to prove what can be taken to belong to analogical argumentation in terms of form. Arguments from analogy are known for their pervasive logical structure. Parameters for assigning a certain category generally involve what element (A, B, C, D) or which relation of elements (similarity, causality, probability, necessity, etc.) is being backed up, which of these are used for the backing up and in which way. For figurative analogy, for example, elements and relations might even be invented and represented so as to fit logical and semantic conditions in order to make a point. In finding out how analogy works in a specific case, textbooks and research on informal logic also recommend the application of critical questions (cf. amongst others Walton, 2006; Tindale, 2007; van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 1992).

Here is an example: According to Walton, Reed & Macagno (in the following Walton et al., 2008), Anna’s professor might ask, whether case I and II are relevantly similar and in which respect. Such questions about relevant similarity are commonly held to be the most important critical questions of the argument’s scheme. Anna might answer ‘yes’, and when asked for a backup, she might say something like: Well, my classmate really needed the extension. And I really really need it, too. Now if the professor wanted to know explicitly, whether there is a rule at work here, the professor could ask Anna something like this: ‘So, if somebody really needs an extension, then this person should get it? Is that what you are saying?’ Anna might then go on and specify the case of her classmate, saying that her classmate was not personally liable for the delay in case I and that Anna herself also got held up on the way of meeting her deadline due to some incident she was not responsible for. The professor then, taking the next turn, might ask: ‘So if somebody really needs the extension and was not personally responsible for the delay, then the person should get the extension? Is that then what you are saying?’ And again, Anna might go on specifying further characteristics and the professor might go on committing her to a rule and so on.

The problem here is not so much a problem of logic: If such a rule is applied correctly conforming to the formal standards of deduction, the argument is valid. The problem lies in the question whether the rule is justified as something we are allowed to even expect from analogical reasoning: May analogies be pinned down to have that rule?

Analogical arguments are generally either called inductive or figurative (Govier, 1987; 1989; see also Garssen & Kienpointner, 2011 for a current view). But analogy can also be deductive if the truth of its conclusion follows necessarily from true premises. The central question of my contribution asks from a pragmatic perspective whether and under which conditions analogies can be held to comprise a rule-like major premise that might help guarantee such necessity.

Within a kind of negotiation on whether there is a rule and what it might contain (e.g. one similar to the adjustment Weinreb, 2005, p. 31 suggests), the professor seems to commit Anna to a formal standard also implicating that there should be a rule of a certain content and that it should be followed.

Anna’s point, on the other hand, seems to rely entirely on the classmate’s case and on its similarity to her own. In this respect, her reasoning appears to be so different from the professor’s that it becomes hard to believe, they are both using and negotiating the same argument scheme: Like any analogy, Anna’s argument appears to her as the plausible way to go presumably because she lacks a better one. She simply needs the extension. The only thing she has got is some analog case of a classmate of which she might not even be sure whether it is an appropriate role model for her own.

Because analogies lack explicit formal requirements inherent to inductive and deductive schemes and precisely for the reason analogies lack the explicit rule, they are called fallacies on formal and deductive accounts, like e.g. Lumer’s (2000; 2011). For the same reasons they are weak and defeasible arguments in informal accounts, like Walton’s et al. (2008). And taken in one account with striking common traits analogies share with argumentative forms of classification, precedence, comparison, appeal to authority and others, the absence of the rule also allows analogies to appear in a hard to define category of arguments reasoning by similarity (cf. amongst others van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 1992; Hoppmann, 2009).

Because having the rule is clearly a sign of formal quality, it might righteously be expected during a conversation and even analogy can turn out to have it during a testing procedure in a dialog. On the other hand, not having the rule can also be part of the conventional meaning of putting forward an argument from analogy: Who ever argues from analogy then seems to state implicitly ‘I don’t know any better’ or even: ‘I don’t need to know any better’.

Therefore, we come to a first intermediate conclusion: When analyzing analogy, logical structure does not alone suffice in finding out what Anna is doing here. We need to get to know more about what standards and conventions of language use are involved and applied and to what end this is the case as Anna brings forth her argument from analogy.

2. The goal of argumentation and its role in reconstruction
At least since the 1950s purely formal argument analysis has been flanked by argument analysis including context (at least the works of Toulmin, 2003 (1958) and Perelman & Olbrecht-Tyteca 1971, (1958) are to be mentioned). And at least since the 1980s the notion of argumentation as speech acting has both become prominent and proven useful for analyzing and describing language used for argumentation. Context and function of argumentative talk have been taken to play a key role in reconstructing the form and content of (parts of) arguments. Looking at what is presumably the most influential theory of argumentation today, it appears, that bringing forth an argument entails speaking with a purpose: In Pragma-Dialectics (cf. van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 1984; 2003) resolving a difference of opinion is the one master-goal of a critical discussion. Like Searle (1969; 1985) and Grice (1957; 1967), both of whose insights van Eemeren & Grootendorst use in their framework, Pragma-Dialectics also aims to make explicit what remains implicit when an utterance is made. Grice and Searle start with the propositional content of an utterance, and ultimately relate it to the speakers’ intention: Intentional States of the mind set up conditions for a Speech Act to carry meaning. But although Pragma-Dialectics draw from Grice and Searle, their suggested reconstruction apparatus identifies implicit premises slightly differently: Reconstruction does begin with the propositional content of an utterance, too. Then the reconstruction process works along the normative criteria of Pragma-Dialectics. But every step in the process and the result of the reconstruction as a whole is ultimately warranted by the normative goal of any argument within Pragma-Dialectics: The resolution of a difference of opinion.

So talking about argumentation as speech action, at least two conditions apply both for the evaluation of arguments and for the reconstruction of arguments uttered in context. These conditions are also rooted in Searle’s and Grice’s accounts of meaning. In matters of argumentative speech they can be found within the Amsterdam approach and others: First, there must be a starting point for the reconstruction based on the actual utterance made. Second, we have to relate this raw material of explicit language used to the goal of the utterance made. As the goal is set, the utterance’s conditions of success are set. Despite the striking similarities between Argumentation Theory and Speech Act Theory,[i] the reconstruction of implicit premises has proven tricky when specific goals are set and assumed by the analyst and so applied within the reconstruction process. Criticism includes this might not do justice to the actual goals people follow when communicating and even influence the outcome of the reconstruction process: People tend to spell out reasoning for various purposes which does not necessarily include asserting something or even convincing somebody, explaining, arguing, etc. (Jacobs, 1989, p. 352).

Now I would like to briefly demonstrate that Wohlrapp’s account of argument can fulfill both necessary conditions for reconstruction and that his approach might be a suitable candidate framework for reconstructing implicit parts of argumentation, too. In addition to that, this might allow us a fresh perspective on the rule issue from analogy.

3. Argument-evaluation in terms of orientation
According to Wohlrapp (2008, p. 86), it is orientation that we seek when doing science, when spelling out reasoning or arguing in any professional or everyday context (Wohlrapp draws from and reformulates what had been started as the pragmatist endeavor around the beginning of the 20th century). And orientation is needed wherever our practice fails or where it can reasonably be expected to fail. We then identify the problem as well as we can; such a problem might involve finding the way to the station in an unfamiliar city or an inconsistency within our set of beliefs; it might involve assembling a Swedish shoe rack, getting an extension on a seminar paper from a professor, or, if we are the professor, finding out whether an extension is justified. Such a lack of orientation, according to Wohlrapp (2008, p. 123), yields the forming of a theory: a theory of how a problem might be solved satisfactorily, of what might satisfy the need of orientation. A theory will be relevant and therefore count as provisionally true in as much as it succeeds in practice.

How to form such a theory? Sticking with the examples just mentioned, such a theory might just contain how to exactly hold the screwdriver when assembling the rack. The content of the theory need not only be suitable for the goal of action. We also make use of what we know, to a great deal, from experience. We use knowledge of what has already worked in the past: ‘How did I get the extension last time?’ ‘What worked out fine for me and for others in similar cases?’ ‘Was the extension given to me right away or did I have to go into details argumentatively?’; ‘Why?’; Why not?’: In this way, we do not only form a theory of what might work now but also why it might work now.

How to evaluate the theories? The theory is put into practice and is then judged by its degree of success. This includes that the actual outcomes of practice are weighed against the expected outcomes of it. Whether an irregular verb in Italian is used correctly, we can tell by being understood, or almost correctly understood, or not understood at all, etc. Good arguments are theories, which succeed when put into practice. At best, they suffice in guiding our present and future practice. When our need of orientation contains a rule for deduction and all we get is a vague reference to a remotely similar case, we are unsatisfied. If, on the other hand, we are in a hurry and all we need is a rough clue, a vaguely put analogy might be just fine.

Speaking of our two necessary conditions for reconstruction mentioned earlier, Wohlrapp might not need the notions of ‘propositional content’ and ‘conventional meaning’. In finding out, whether an utterance meets the need of orientation, people would make use of successful experience with similar stretches of speech in similar contexts. Therefore, both necessary conditions are fulfilled within Wohlrapp’s framework.

4. A lack of orientation: who needs the rule and what is it needed for?
In line with Wohlrapp’s view, two individuals engaging in argumentative discourse have individual needs of orientation and individual knowledge which they can involve in figuring out whether an utterance satisfies the need of orientation or not. Translated into our example, we can then assume, that also Anna and her professor each have their own need of orientation. Say, for example,

would like to get the extension; she also
would not like to make too bad an impression on her professor given that she is about to miss her deadline; she also
still needs to go shopping for groceries that afternoon and the shops are about to close and
for politeness reasons she wants to avoid talking about any private issues of her classmate who got the extension in case I.

The professor on the other hand
wants to help Anna out in some way but still
fears that even more students could claim an extension without any specific reasons,
cannot recall what warranted the extension in case I and
wants to find that out;
has other classes to prepare that day and
would like to find a reliable solution in Anna’s case which will likely save her time in the future.

None of these possible goals of Anna and her professor are necessary or sufficient for absolute certainty about the rule’s form or content or even about whether it ‘is there’ or not. More than that, the rule’s form and content seem to depend on whether and to which degree the interlocutors make use of it. Within Anna’s and the professor’s individual search for orientation, the rule can play at least three roles.

Firstly, it can be part of the need of orientation. For example: Both Anna and the professor might like a solution for Anna’s case which applies now and in the future when other students have a similar concern. Both might also want to set an appropriate precedent: The rule should now exclude cases which shall be excluded in the future and the rule should now capture and include cases, which shall allow for the extension in the future. This might motivate both or either of them to ask the other a couple of straightforward questions about the relevant similarities of case I and case II in order to abstract a rule from them.

Secondly, the rule might be part of the theory, provisionally set up to satisfy the need of orientation. This holds both for Anna and for the professor as well. Both might identify relevantly similar characteristics in both cases and form a rule like the following:

Based on the relevance of properties 1… n in case 1, if another case has properties
1… n, then an extension can provisionally count as justified.

The professor would probably have a special interest in fine-tuning the properties in terms of quantity and quality: If the rule becomes too general, it will warrant an entire lot of unwanted future extensions. If it is tied by very specific properties almost exclusively inherent in case I and II, the rule might unfavorably exclude relevant future cases. Also the sheer number of properties needs to come in handy for taking decisions quick and easy while still maintaining a favorable level of decision quality. Doing all this, the professor might follow a complex agenda, which might involve the appraisal of Anna’s argument at hand in order to weigh the pros and cons of the rule in the light of predictable future cases and in the light of Anna’s case, including assumptions about Anna’s need of orientation.

Of course, Anna can recognize as well that a rule might be needed because each interlocutor has her own need of orientation and also makes assumptions of what the need of the other person could be: Anna might therefore include the rule in her argument, too. And she could even purposefully not include it for strategic reasons, for example.

Thirdly, the rule might be part of a person’s knowledge and serve forming a suitable theory. Anna and her professor might have made the experience that in certain contexts transparence of argument structure is required: in decisions involving great sums of money, for example, in legal decisions, etc. When asking for an extension, Anna might have just not thought, this is one such context and the extension to be not such a big deal. The rather blunt remarks: ‘My classmate got it, too’ and ‘I really need it’ might have satisfied her need of orientation in the beginning. Later, she finds out, her need of orientation must conform at least to some degree with that of the professor in order to find a solution they are both satisfied with.

5. Conclusion
In the first bit, I described roughly, what the rule-issue in arguments from analogy is about. Then I was able to show that two aspects necessary for reconstructing parts of arguments, which are speech acts, are fulfilled by Wohlrapp’s notion of orientation. Therefore it might generally be a suitable candidate framework for reconstructing implicit parts of arguments. More precisely, the general rule in analogy can be described in terms of its contribution to satisfy the individuals’ need of orientation. The rule can be part of the orientation needed, it can be part of the provisional theory put into practice and it can be part of the knowledge that serves individuals in forming such a theory. Therefore the question: ‘Does every analogy have such a rule?’ can be plausibly rephrased as: ‘Does the individual’s need of orientation require the analogy to have the rule?’.[ii] If so, the argument can draw additional strength from its content. Additionally, this contribution has hinted at some future opportunities for research including advantages and disadvantages of Wohlrapp’s account compared to Pragma-Dialectics and problems of negotiating the shared need of orientation by interlocutors.

I owe thanks to Thomas Becker and Jan Henning Schulze from Otto-Friedrich-University, Bamberg (Germany) and to Nikil Mukerji from Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich (Germany) for most helpful remarks and comments on this paper. I am also grateful for funding I have received from the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, Germany.

i. Cf. Budzynska & Reed (2011). More recently, bridges between the theories of argumentation and speech action have been the focus of intensive work again, see Budzynska, van Eemeren & Koszowy; Snoek Henkemans; Goodwin (all in Święczkowska & Trzęsicki (ed.), 2014).
ii. In staying consistent with Wohlrapp’s overall approach, this change might be even necessary, namely to avoid a logicistic („logizistische“) reconstruction (cf. Wohlrapp a.o. 2008; 1999).

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Internal Logic: Persuasive Form And Hierarchy In Kenneth Burke

Abstract: According to Kenneth Burke, language contains highly persuasive structures that are not necessarily detectable at the level of arguments. Every author or speaker constructs a unique vocabulary where words are given different nuances of meaning and operate within networks of form and hierarchies of values. These structures form an “internal logic” or a “pattern of experience” which creates both vertical and horizontal convergence. Burke’s unique method of analysis, “indexing,” reveals these implicit argumentation structures.

Keywords: Aesthetic truth, equations, god-terms, hierarchies, indexing, internal logic, Kenneth Burke, literary form, persuasive form.

1. Introduction
In Strategic Maneuvering in Argumentative Discourse, Eemeren conducts a brief review of the field of rhetoric and the most cited rhetorical scholars. Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, Toulmin, Zarefsky, Fahnestock, and Kennedy are most cited and discussed, whereas Kenneth Burke is only given a few passing remarks. The few times Kenneth Burke is mentioned he is credited with expanding the definition of rhetoric from “persuasion” to “identification” (Eemeren, p. 74) and being part of the theoretical foundation for Fahnestock’s research on rhetorical devices. I think this is much less attention than Kenneth Burke deserves from students of argumentation. What I hope to do with this presentation is to show how Burke gives us the vocabulary to discuss some central persuasive features of texts, which I will call “persuasive form” and “hierarchy,” and also gives us the critical tools we need to analyze these features.

What does a text do and how does it do it? I think we all agree that texts are not simply delivery devices for information, for a text does not simply tell us “what to think,” it also tells us “how to think.” As Burke writes in Counter-Statement (1957): “A text can, by its function as name and definition, give simplicity and order to an otherwise unclarified complexity. It provides a terminology of thoughts, actions, emotions, attitudes for codifying a pattern of experience” (p. 154). Burke saw two connected mechanisms operating within a text: the psychology of form and the psychology of information. The psychology of information operates by revelation, as in a Whodunit crime novel where information is slowly released to clarify the picture of how the murder was committed and who did it. Suspense is its natural artistic expression. The psychology of form, on the other hand, operates by ritual and initiation, as in a tragedy where the sacrificial victim goes through the inevitable downfall due to his hubris. It is not the ending, but the process, the unfolding of events and thoughts which grips us and keeps us interested. Unlike a crime novel, we may return to this form of literature again and again to enjoy the experience of literary form. A key lesson for argumentation theorists is that all texts use both of these mechanisms, but the “internal logic” of form can be more subtle and therefore avoid detection if it is not critically examined.

What do I mean by literary form? Kenneth Burke (1957) defines form as “the arousal and fulfilling of expectations or desires. A work has form in so far as one part of it leads a reader to anticipate another part, to be gratified by the sequence” (p. 124). This principle is in operation even now as I started the text by creating an expectation of what I would provide with this text, and hopefully I am in the process of fulfilling that expectation. It seems pretty obvious and straight-forward. However, this same principle also operates on the level of words and their associated terms. Burke (1973) writes that, “The ‘symbolism’ of a word consists in the fact that no one quite uses the word in its mere dictionary sense. And the overtones of usage are revealed ‘by the company it keeps’ in the utterances of a given speaker or writer” (p. 35). When we read a text, we are being initiated into a different vocabulary that has different meanings for words than those we normally use. For example, we are gradually taught by Harriett Beecher Stowe in Uncle Tom’s Cabin that “lawful” and “constitutional” are dirty words which are opposed to “conscience, truth, and the will of God.” In the same way, the concepts of “security” and “risk” are given new meanings in the 2003 State of the Union Address by George W. Bush, where risk is connected to “inaction” and security is connected to “war.”

The vocabulary itself and the relationships between key terms set patterns of expectation which the speaker then fulfills, thereby achieving consistency or aesthetic truth. When something is aesthetically true it means that it conforms to the rules which have been set up by the ritual or text. As Burke (1957) comments, “In so far as the audience, from its acquaintance with the premises, feels the rightness of the conclusion, the work is formal. The arrows of our desires are turned in a certain direction, and the plot follows the direction of the arrows” (p. 124). When a work satisfies the expectations it has aroused in us it is aesthetically true, even though it may be far from scientific truth. In a text it is the author, rather than the laws of science or logical validity, which establishes the boundaries for what can and cannot happen.

We therefore have a structure of “internal logic” which operates by different rules than Aristotelian logic or even the normal structure of argumentation. If we look at a logical argument from Aristotelian logic we have a major premise, minor premise, and conclusion: “All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal.” The test of validity here lies in definition. The major premise is like an axiom which does not need to be proven since it can rely on the structures of reality already established by the community. It is not proven that all men are mortal, just commonly accepted. This structure of reality operates almost as an invisible Higgs field which lends its weight to the argument. In contrast, “internal logic” makes the elements of its argument interact with a structure of reality set up by the unique vocabulary of the text. The text functions as an interpretation of life, and the argument simply needs to be consistent with that interpretation. In a sense, this form of argument operates more like a cloth of interwoven connections rather than as a chain. There are many features of internal logic, but I want to briefly discuss two of them: persuasive form and hierarchy.

2. Persuasive form
In A Rhetoric of Motives (1969b), Burke describes the rhetorical effect form can have: “Once you grasp the trend of the form, it invites participation regardless of the subject matter. Formally, you will find yourself swinging along . . . Thus, you are drawn to the form . . . and this attitude of assent may be transferred to the matter which happens to be associated with the form” (p. 58). The form involves identification through participation in a “universal appeal” and then connects that appeal with “a partisan statement” (p. 59). The strongest result or rhetorical effect of form is amplification: “as extension, expatiation, the saying of something in various ways until it increases in persuasiveness by sheer accumulation, amplification can come to name a purely poetic process of development, such systematic exploitation of a theme as we find in lyrics built about a refrain” (Burke, 1969b, p. 69).

In language, an idea or image is infused and connected with associations and relationships which are not necessarily synonyms or words logically related to it, yet these connections can amplify and enlarge the original idea by accumulation. As Burke (1969b) writes, “You can’t point to the house that appears in a poem . . . For ‘house’ will also stand for relations alien to the concept of house as such. The conceptual house is a dwelling of such-and-such structure . . . The poetic house built of identifications. (Thus it may equal sufferings in childhood, or sense of great security in childhood; a retreat from combat . . . etc.)” (p. 84-5). For example, one politician may mention words such as “house, homes, families, national security, peace, father, children, safety, watchful care, government, homeland, defense, sleep” in grammatical structures that do not specifically connect them all, yet poetically and rhetorically they may work to amplify an idea of “house” which includes these separate concepts and metaphorically extends the borders of “home” to include national borders, and extends the concept of father to government. These “equations” make up what Kenneth Burke calls “the underlying pattern of experience.” It is a substructure of images, terms, concepts, and emotions that are connected together by association.

The restatement of a theme like this through “equations” constructs a kind of rhythm for us as an audience. It invites participation, and soon we feel ourselves swinging along. This is the “magic” of form arousing and fulfilling expectations in us. In Counter-Statement (1957), Kenneth Burke writes, “The artist possessed by a certain pattern of experience is an ‘expert’ in this pattern. He should thus be equipped to make it convincing . . . By thoroughness he should be able to overwhelm his reader, and thus compel the reader to accept his interpretations. For a pattern of experience is an interpretation of life” (p. 176).

So how does this work in a dialectic argumentation? Persuasive form works as a “presentational device” which helps to create identification between the speaker and the audience. Vertical convergence means that “all aspects of a strategic maneuver made by the speaker or writer reinforce each other.” One way all the aspects can reinforce each other is by the speaker using language that is unified with a form of interrelated terms

Kenneth Burke recommended a method of close reading which he called “indexing” in order to uncover the implicit equations in a given text. The basic concept is that one follows a set of what appears as central terms throughout a text and see which other terms they frequently occur with. After a while one then gets clusters of words which center around common themes or motivations, where some will be more central and others will be more peripheral, based on their frequency and intensity (importance for creating meaning) in the text. This will make visible the restatement and amplification that occurs in the text and may show how this persuasive form is connected to different partisan statements. For example, we can study the term “atomic bomb” in the speech given by President Harry Truman (1945) after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. What we find is a cluster of terms that includes “scientists of distinction,” “greatest scientific gamble in history,” “the race of discovery,” “battle of the laboratories,” “industrial and financial resources,” “manpower,” “greatest achievement in the history of science,” and “harnessing the basic power of the universe.” Already at this level we see some interesting connections, with the atomic bomb connected to metaphors from sports and gambling, and hailed as a great achievement and example of the American will to gamble and risk much in order to get the a handsome pay-out or reward for the trouble. However, it is first by studying the effect of hierarchy that the deeper ideological implications involved become more transparent.

3. Hierarchy
Kenneth Burke (1969b) writes that “no expression can be more profoundly appealing than a rhetoric which follows in the direction of a perfect dialectical symmetry” (p. 291). What he means by dialectical symmetry is something like the rhetoric Plato uses in Phaedrus where writing is connected to love and love again is connected to the eternal progression of the soul and the gods. Seen in this perspective, the criteria for good writing follow as a natural consequence of the “big picture” or hierarchy which Plato has constructed, and the dialogue therefore has dialectical symmetry. So a hierarchy which is internally consistent is the manifestation of dialectical symmetry.

To give a simple example of hierarchy, humans of all ages, ethnicities, and persuasions can be gathered up, dialectically, in the term “human.” Humans again can be classed with dogs, bears, and cows as “mammals.” and mammals again can, by a few more steps, be categorized as a form of “life.” The movement here is from concrete to more abstract form. I can be touched as a concrete object. However, the principle “human” cannot be felt or experienced in the same way. It has already become too abstract to really touch. Further, a “mammal” can be touched, but the concept of mammal cannot. Finally, we come to “life,” which may be the closest we get to an ultimate term in that vocabulary. This is a hierarchy constructed according to the biological definition of what it means to be “human.” This hierarchy tells an implicit story about what and who we are, and it has very different implications than a hierarchy that is based on for example a definition from Christian theology, which would find humans “a little lower than the angels,” but still created by and belonging to God. For example, if we look at death penalty from these different perspectives it makes little sense to end biological life to punish the end of other biological life, yet it may make sense to hasten an already expected day of judgment for a killer. One important principle in Burke’s (1969b) concept of hierarchy is the concept of movement:

On the way up the steps of the hierarchy there is a distancing from the everyday, for the mystic, “a crossing into a realm that transcends everyday judgments – after which there may be a return: the Upward Way is matched by a Downward Way . . .” whereupon the visionary can once again resume his commerce with the world, which he now sees in a new light, in terms of the vision earned during his stage of exile. (p. 95)

The highest term in such a hierarchy, or God-term, is a self-causing motivational term which works as the explanatory principle for all the other terms in the hierarchy. In Burke’s words, the encounter with the “God-term” changes the perspective on the world, just as Plato’s discussion of love as divine madness and the myth of the ascending chariots changes our outlook on writing. The world now looks different, and infused more powerfully with a new vocabulary of motivations.

Hierarchy creates the effect of order and symmetry, which creates the illusion of naturalness or unavoidability. The different steps of the hierarchy lead into each other so naturally that they seem to be an integral part of the fabric of the world, much like the real hierarchy of feudalism was at one time seen as unavoidable and established by divine decree.

Burke (1969b) claimed that there is no more persuasive rhetoric than the one that follows the steps of dialectical transcendence. One example of the explicit use of hierarchy is President Ronald Reagan’s (1986) remarks at the memorial service for the astronauts who died in the Challenger disaster. The disaster, and the death of the people in the space shuttle, is transcended by viewing it in terms of “progress,” where mankind moves forwards through toil, danger and sacrifice. The people who died as the result of bad engineering, constrained budgets, and what has become a classic example of “group think,” are now instead exalted as martyrs of American progress, alongside the pioneers who died on the Oregon Trail and in the end help to pave the ascent of mankind towards the stars. What may have otherwise inspired anger and frustration now inspires admiration and the willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. Reagan’s implicit argument in this text goes from the personal to the astronomical and historical, yet the hierarchy of terms he uses to get from the one to the other is “symmetrical” in the sense that one part naturally leads into the next.

To go back to the concrete example of Truman’s speech on the atomic bomb, the cluster of terms or equations we have found are hierarchical in relation to one another. In order to find which terms belong on the different rungs of the hierarchy, we can start by asking which terms are most concrete. On that level we can find the “scientists of distinction,” the “industrial and financial resources,” and the enormous “manpower” that went into this project. To go upwards we can then find titles to describe the different facets of the project; the larger categories that the more concrete terms belong to. The project is described respectively as “the greatest scientific gamble in history,” “the race of discovery,” and “the battle of the laboratories.” This all culminated in “the greatest achievement in the history of science,” which was to make the atomic bomb. However, it becomes clear that the atomic bomb is not an end in itself, but that it is itself merely a means to a higher end. Truman states that it “contributes” to the “increasing power” of the armed forces of the United States, and is merely an expression of man’s “harnessing the basic power of the universe.” Therefore, in the hierarchy of this text, scientific achievement is in service of power and is subordinated to it as a value. Power stands as the God-term. Once we have arrived at this point in our analysis, we, like Burke’s mystic, can return for a new look at the text and see it in light of its inherent ideological structure.

4 . Conclusion
So what are some lessons we can learn from Burke’s “internal logic”? I have a few suggestions to conclude:

1. A text is not a neutral delivery device for information. In fact every text contains an implicit ideology which it teaches us by symbolic initiation.
2. This ideological structure can be persuasive and can be used to give an argument the experience or semblance of validity through aesthetic consistency.
3. The features of persuasive form and hierarchy at the level of terms can be traced and analyzed by Kenneth Burke’s method of indexing.
4. If they are not analyzed, these structures remain tacit and implicit and therefore they also remain unquestioned, leading to lack of understanding and criticism.

Burke, K. (1957). Counter-Statement. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Burke, K. (1969b). A Rhetoric of Motives. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Burke, K. (1973). The Philosophy of Literary Form: Studies in Symbolic Action. 3rd ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1973.
Bush, G. W. (2003, January). 2003 State of the Union Address. American Rhetoric. House of Representatives. Washington, D.C.
Eemeren, F. H. van (2010). Strategic Maneuvering in Argumentative Discourse. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
Plato. (2005). Phaedrus. Trans. Christopher Rowe. New York, NY: Penguin Classics.
Reagan, R. (1986, January). Speech on Challenger Disaster. Houston, TX. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from
Stowe, H. B. (1969). Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Columbus, OH: C. E. Merrill.
Truman, H. S. (1945, August). Statement by the President of the United States. Washington, D.C. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from

ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Deference, Distrust, And Delegation: Three Design Hypotheses

Abstract: A design hypothesis in argumentation is a broad notion about how argumentative practice can be shaped toward greater reasonableness. Different design hypotheses do not compete with one another in the way empirical hypotheses do; each may add to our overall rationality in some circumstance, and each may have unwanted by-products. The complicated controversy over childhood vaccination displays tensions among three quite different design hypotheses related to the role of expert opinion in decision-making.

Keywords: argument from authority, design theory, expertise, vaccination controversy.

1. Introduction
A central premise of a design theory of argumentation (Jackson, 2012) is that argumentation is a set of invented cultural practices that change over time to adjust to material circumstances, including the emergence of new communication technologies. A design perspective suggests that societies try out ideas about how to reach conclusions and agreements, embodying them in techniques and technical systems, some of which accrete to a durable set of reasoning practices, even though they may not be consistent with ideas that have already been added to the set. The result at any point in time is some collection of practices carried forward from the past, plus new, emerging ideas that must somehow co-exist with the old.

I have argued elsewhere (Jackson, 2012; Jackson & Aakhus, 2014) that design is becoming much more important to our understanding of argumentation. New methods of inquiry may be needed that are neither empirical nor critical. Nelson and Stolterman (2012) describe design as a “third way of knowing,” complementary to scientific and humanistic inquiry.

My purpose in this paper is to take a familiar kind of problem for argumentation theory and use it to explore what this third way of knowing might add to argumentation theory.

2. Weighing expert advice
Many contemporary controversies include disagreement over the reliability of expert opinion. One such controversy, very active in the US and UK, concerns childhood vaccination. Public health officials in both countries are overwhelmingly supportive of vaccinating children for a range of infectious diseases. Within the public, however, a significant minority of parents refuse to vaccinate their children, justifying this refusal on a variety of grounds, but mostly on the suspicion that vaccination may cause dangerous and irreversible side effects such as autism.

Anti-vaccination movements have often accompanied a change in public health policy. Jones (2010) documents one of the earliest, a protest against smallpox immunization that spread from Muncie, Indiana, to the other localities within the state. Many of the themes seen in the current controversy over MMR are identical to those documented by Jones. In the 1893 protests against mandatory smallpox vaccination, as in today’s resistance to the MMR vaccine, citizens questioned the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, but also objected to health officials denying them a free choice in whether to be vaccinated; and as is happening today, these citizens were represented as irrational in their refusal to defer to expert opinion. Then and now, the controversy was as much about individual responsibility for choice as about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

But the environment for argumentation changed in the hundred years between the outbreak of protest over smallpox vaccination and the outbreak of protest against MMR vaccination. In Muncie, print journalism controlled the pace of the controversy and eventually throttled the ability of dissenters to publish their views. In the communication platforms that define the current media ecology, people move in and out of the active discussion as its relevance for their own lives shifts. At every moment there are participants who are absolutely new to the discussion (wondering whether to vaccinate their child) and participants who have grown jaded by seeing the same arguments recycled over and over. The controversy seems to pulse as interested participants enter, make their decisions, and exit. Various kinds of uninvolved commentators are part of the discourse, including academics introducing new concepts like “argument enclaves.” It is an unsettled discourse that does not appear to be moving toward a single resolution of the central question for parents (should they vaccinate their babies) or for communities (should vaccination be required by law for all babies).

John (2011) characterizes the controversy as “an instance of a general phenomenon: non-expert failure to defer to expert testimony.” He continues: “It seems intuitive that something has gone wrong in such cases, and that non-experts ought, in some objective sense, to have deferred to expert testimony” (p. 497). When non-experts “fail to defer,” is it really the non-experts who have failed? An important element of the public resistance to vaccination, especially the MMR vaccine, is the suspicion that this vaccine is linked to the onset of autism, a suspicion grounded in parents’ own firsthand observations. Offit and Coffin (2003) fault the press (especially the television news program 60 Minutes) for presenting emotionally affecting content without scientifically meaningful interrogation of that content. Parents’ direct observations of symptoms of autism in their own children, appearing soon after vaccination, are a continuing source of evidence for the link. Offit and Coffin explain how 60 Minutes might have presented observational evidence of this kind within a context that would have helped parents and viewers to reason more clearly about causality.

Burgess, Burgess, and Leask (2006) apply a general framework for understanding “public outrage” to the MMR vaccine controversy. This framework specifies a dozen situational factors – for example, perceived coercion – that amplify outrage. All of these factors were present to some degree in the way the public health establishment reacted to a conjecture, published in the medical journal The Lancet, that MMR vaccination might trigger autism through other immediate physiological reactions to the vaccine (Wakefield et al., 1998; retracted by the journal’s editors in 2010). One factor of special significance was the unresponsiveness of the public health establishment to parental fears–a dismissiveness that eroded trust in the expert community. Tindale (2012) makes a similar point from an entirely different set of background assumptions: what happened here was not citizens’ failure to defer but experts’ failure to win trust. So against John’s characterization of this as a case of failure to defer, we have a number of other analyses of failure to inform and failure to persuade.

Note that all of these accounts assume that citizen and parental resistance to vaccination really should have been overcome in the end. But two empirical studies, Hobson-West (2007) and Hample (2012), raise doubts about whether it is useful, or even accurate, to see this controversy as a failure of anything. Both examined groups critical of mandatory vaccination. Hobson-West’s data came from face-to-face interviews with leaders of 10 groups organized around a range of issues spanning decades of debate in the UK over vaccination. Hample’s data came from online discussions within a virtual community formed around resistance to required vaccination in the US. The picture of citizen reasoning emerging from these analyses is complex and multi-faceted, not reducible to a matter of deferring to expertise or refusing to do so. Hobson-West’s qualitative analysis of interviews with group leaders exposed a number of themes having nothing to do with questions of expertise. One important theme (of five) was the notion that vaccination is a governmental strategy used in place of more fundamental improvement in living conditions, especially for the poor; against this notion, the safety and efficacy of vaccines are beside the point. Hample’s detailed qualitative content analysis of an online discussion group identified several additional themes of interest: suspicion of government/industry conspiracy, feelings of guilt associated with both vaccinating and not vaccinating, and supporting community members in their off-line confrontations with “provaxxers.” Both studies contradict any simple characterization of vaccine resistance as an irrational refusal to defer to expert authority.

Very importantly, both of these empirical studies also portray contemporary resistance to vaccination as a difficult and socially costly choice that involves active search for information beyond what is typically received from the family physician. Parents who resist medical advice on vaccination do not simply reject expert opinion but engage in serious and sustained inquiry. In some cases, resistance to vaccination also involves active search for physicians who will provide the kind of treatment judged best by the parent. Empirically, this controversy is not about argument from expert testimony, nor about general epistemic postures such as deference to expertise. For most participants, the controversy is simply about whether to vaccinate their children. Much is at stake in this decision, and the resources available for making the decision are extraordinarily difficult to evaluate.

3. A problem for argumentation
Given that there are experts and non-experts, and that both are often parties to a controversy, what should happen when most experts line up on one side of the controversy? This is an open question for argumentation theory. John (2011) suggests that in such cases, people behaving rationally should defer to experts, and in some cases they may have a moral obligation to do so. Mizrahi (2013) argues, to the contrary, that expert opinion is a poor basis for deciding what to believe or do, because experts, notwithstanding knowledge superior to that of non-experts, still do not demonstrate a high enough correlation between truth and expert belief. In other words, relying on experts does not yield a high enough proportion of good decisions. Responding to Mizrahi, Seidel (2014) argues that to forego expert advice is “self-undermining,” recommending instead a policy of “reasonable scrutiny” that would help differentiate between reliable expert judgments and unreliable ones.

These three very recent papers give contemporary interpretations of ideas that have waxed and waned throughout Western intellectual history. Different times and circumstances have favored any of three competing ideas:

(a) that rational people should defer to authority greater than their own;
(b) that they should distrust all authority and attempt direct examination of any question of importance; and
(c) that they should trust authority once it has been adequately tested for reliability. Each of these postures may be considered to be a mid-range epistemic policy – a preference for reasoning of some particular kind, or a disdain for that kind of reasoning.

Each of these epistemic policies has been considered a way of being rational, and each has also been subject to sustained critique. As uniformly applied policy, these postures are mutually incompatible, and all have vulnerabilities. Hence, what to do with authority in general, and expert opinion in particular, remains challenging for argumentation theory.

But these theoretical ideas about appeal to authority also reflect change in argumentation as a practice. Appeal to authority has actually been a different kind of argument over the centuries – depending on many factors, but especially on what at each time and place has been considered the source of authority. Nowadays, appeal to authority mostly means reliance on experts, and this requires entirely different argument evaluation strategies than those employed before there was such a thing as an expert in a specific field – a modern notion, not an ancient one. Asking whether a speaker is an authority “in X” would have made little sense until perhaps the middle of the 19th century, even though it is certainly also the case that there have been people with extraordinary knowledge and skill, meriting others’ deference in some specific domain but not in others, throughout human history. Nor has appeal to authority remained static in the post-WWII era, as it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate scientific authority from government policy.

Structurally, appeal to authority may have had very similar characteristics across the ages. But if the environment changes, the strengths and weaknesses of this argument form may also change. In some contexts, appeal to authority may be the best available basis for a conclusion; in others, it may be only a shortcut; in still others, it may represent a refusal to engage in deeper thinking about a topic. In other words, argumentation practice is sensitive to change in media ecology, and our theoretical assessments of particular argument forms may need constant updating.

4. From argument appraisal to design hypothesis
If we understand argumentation as a changeable practice that is constantly being redesigned to meet the needs of its practitioners, all ideas about argumentation are liable to affect the practice. A design hypothesis is any notion, theoretical or intuitive, about how argumentation might be conducted to better achieve its purpose. Like an empirical hypothesis, a design hypothesis must conform with facts, but its real test is its ability to support particular human purposes in particular circumstances. Design hypotheses do not compete with one another in the way empirical hypotheses do; each new design hypothesis may add to our overall rationality in some circumstance. New problems, or new contexts for old problems, may need new design ideas. Design theory builds by adding options.

In a design theory of argumentation, normative components can take the form of design hypotheses, and these may concern not only standards for appraisal but also procedures to follow or resources to provide or anything else that may improve the outcomes of argumentation. Both deferring to experts and challenging the authority of experts can be reframed as design hypotheses. And other design hypotheses can be imagined. One of these is the idea of making a deliberate prior choice to delegate a difficult question to someone who can be trusted to find the best possible answer. Deference, distrust, and delegation are three distinct ideas about how to integrate expert opinion into a discussion; each tends to add distinctive features to how people interact.

4.1 Deference
A posture of deference is based on the idea that people should accept conclusions that are accepted by those most knowledgeable about a topic. In some places and times, this has been not just an epistemic policy, but a sort of social obligation involving the giving of respect to people who have in some sense earned that respect. If deference is built into the rules of a kind of interaction, the only reasonable question to ask of an authority is what they believe or what they recommend.

A strong contemporary defense of deference can be found in the work of the Third Wave science studies group led by Collins and Evans (2007). Based on careful examination of what is involved in becoming an expert in anything, Collins and Evans aim for a philosophical defense of deference to experts. Within their framework, expertise is defined primarily in relation to expert communities. Individuals may have various kinds of expertise depending on how they stand with respect to an expert community. Collins and Evans have distinguished several forms of expertise, of which the most relevant to my topic are contributory expertise, interactional expertise, and primary source knowledge.

Contributory expertise, interpreted within a wide range of enterprises other than science, consists in having the capacity to move a discussion forward, toward a resolution of disagreement among experts themselves. People who publish original research in the specialized literature of a field are contributory experts. The contributory expert helps to build the expert field through direct extension of what an expert in that field knows. According to Collins and Evans, contributory expertise can only be acquired by immersion in the expert community and direct practice in contributing.

Interactional expertise is an understanding of the field sufficient to be in conversation with experts even if unable to contribute anything new. This form of expertise involves understanding the methods of the field, and even being able to critique the application of these methods to scientific problems, but it is expertise developed toward an end other than contributing new knowledge. Interactional expertise is not just a diminished version of contributory expertise but an acquired ability to do a different job. Interactional expertise is partly generalizable across fields, but it must also be developed in interaction with contributory experts.

Primary source knowledge is a form of expertise that is acquired at a distance from the expert community. A person can acquire primary source knowledge by reading the expert literature. However, this is a very different kind of knowledge than the knowledge possessed by even a novice contributor. The relationship to the expert field is completely unidirectional in this case and lacks the tacit knowledge that contributory experts possess but do not (and maybe cannot) communicate in writing. As Collins and Weinel (2011, p 402) point out, “to become an expert in a technical domain means acquiring the tacit knowledge pertaining to the domain. As far as is known, there is only one way to acquire tacit knowledge and that is through some form of ‘socialisation’; tacit knowledge cannot be transferred via written or other symbolic form so some form of sustained social contact with the group that has the tacit knowledge is necessary.” This is extremely important; it means that no matter how diligently a person studies what has been written about a topic, that person will still lack important components of expert judgment.

In short, the argument for deference is that to really understand an expert’s judgment requires prolonged immersion in the material and social world of the expert – in other words, altering one’s life course to become an expert. Attempting to retrace an expert’s reasoning or to evaluate the same evidence the expert had available will not replicate expert judgment, because tacit knowledge and experience are indispensable ingredients in such judgments. Except in special conditions where experts’ trustworthiness is compromised, our most rational posture toward expert fields, according to Collins and Evans, is to believe what they say.

As a design hypothesis, deference works by acknowledging true gaps between what an expert knows and what can be fully defended to skeptical non-experts. In sustained questioning of experts by non-experts, a point must always be reached where the expert “just knows” something that cannot be known in the same way by anyone who has not been socialized into the expert community. If experts are part of a discussion, they must be allowed their expertise, even if what they see when they look at evidence is uninterpretable to anyone else looking at the same evidence.

Collins and Evans describe their own aim as a normative theory of expertise that includes an “approach to the question of who should and who should not be contributing to decision-making in virtue of their expertise” (p. 52). Designing around deference generally means differentiating among the participants in a discourse and assigning special communication privileges to some but not others; it may involve forms of compulsion (such as rules and laws) that take matters out of the realm of individual reasoning. It can mean limiting the kinds of questions that can be asked of experts or the kinds of arguments that can be raised against their conclusions. In the vaccination controversy, laws that require vaccination for enrolment in school enforce deference to medical science, at least in the US. An individual has options for avoiding compliance, but not for escaping the societal deference that is paid to medical research.

4.2 (Dis)trust
A posture of distrust is based on the idea that accepting anything without question is dangerous and that authority is most dangerous when it is most difficult or most costly to question. In some places and times, this posture has been accompanied by the assumption that all citizens are capable of making independent assessments of facts and reasoning if they are willing to inform themselves – and that they have a duty to do so. In contemporary practice, this notion leads motivated citizens to conduct exhaustive “primary source” research on topics of interest to them. The challenge for this posture is the collapse of the assumption that ordinary citizens, sufficiently motivated, can reach independent conclusions of a quality equal to the conclusions of experts. If Collins and Evans are correct about what expertise really consists of, no amount of exposure to “primary sources” of expert fields will allow the consumer to develop expert judgment. However, even those who agree with Collins and Evans on the nature of expert communities do not always give up on the idea that non-experts should withhold trust until experts themselves have been tested. The idea of retracing and directly evaluating an expert’s reasoning has not completely disappeared within the general public, but among theorists it has given way to the idea that what can be interrogated is whether the authority should be trusted. To competently interrogate authority requires a different, potentially generalizable set of skills, possibly included in what Collins and Evans call “interactional expertise.”

Theoretically, distrust of authority can co-exist nicely with trust in expert opinion, so long as expert opinion can be evaluated through non-expert questioning. This is demonstrated in Walton’s (1997, 2002) very detailed analyses of arguments from expertise, which include explorations of how institutions (e.g., courts of law) design procedures for rigorous testing of whether to admit expert testimony and for specifying what can be concluded from any particular piece of expert testimony. Distrust is a starting position from which non-experts can arrive at confidence in experts, but only after those experts have been thoroughly scrutinized.

As a design hypothesis, distrust operates through audit-like procedures that check for anything being hidden, anything that might incentivize experts to prefer one judgment over another, anything that experts might be missing or ignoring, any change in meaning as an assertion passes from context to context, and so on. This has design implications both for citizens and for experts, including implications for how to design participation formats to fit particular controversies: formats that adjust to differing degrees of citizen trust in expert communities and public bureaucracies. For example, in “post-trust societies” (as described by Löfstedt, 2005), there may be greater public calls for openness of information and transparency in how information is used. It can also mean regulating the experts themselves. Snoeck-Henkemans and Wagemans (2012) pointed out that one protection that makes it reasonable for patients to trust their physicians is a Dutch law that requires physicians to cooperate in patients’ efforts to get a second medical opinion when they do have doubts.

4.3 Delegation
A third design hypothesis, less visible within argumentation theory, is delegation of a decision through implicit or explicit bilateral agreement. The core idea behind delegation is that some issues require such sustained analytic effort that the only feasible way to make progress toward resolution is to transfer responsibility to some trusted person or group that willingly accepts this responsibility. Where deference and critical trust may be seen either as epistemic policies or as design hypotheses, delegation really only makes sense as something designed into a broader framework for making decisions. Retrospectively, accepting a result from a delegated inquiry may look like any other argument from expert opinion. Procedurally, it is quite different.

Delegating responsibility for a question implies that the answer will be accepted once it has been returned from the delegation process, so it is tempting to see this as a version of the deference posture. But delegation is not just deference, and indeed, sometimes it involves nothing that could be mistaken for deference to authority. For example, delegation is the design principle behind use of trial juries, where a judgment that any citizen is capable of making is handed over to selected individuals who agree to invest time, attention, and effort in arriving at their judgment.

But delegation is different from deference in another very important respect. Deference is an acknowledgement that some individual possesses superior knowledge that others are not in a position to question. Delegation involves a sort of agreement between the community as a whole and the individuals who take responsibility for the community’s questions about a domain. When important matters are delegated to experts, it is assumed and often explicitly stated that the experts owe a duty of care to anyone who depends on their expertise. Delegation may require someone to become an expert on the question at hand – for example, as a juror – but that expertise does not merit deference unless understood as part of an implicit contract in which acting in good faith is as important as being knowledgeable. In other words, deference does not involve any accountability, while delegation does.

As a design hypothesis, delegation works through a kind of bargain in which deference to a judgment is promised in exchange for dutiful performance. Without some form of accountability to ordinary citizens, experts and expert communities may feel that they deserve deference, but ordinary citizens do not have to agree to this. In such cases, experts must make their way in argumentation just as any other arguer would.

Scientific fields sometimes behave as though they hold delegated responsibility for society’s knowledge about a domain, and other times behave as though they are completely autonomous, so using delegation as a tool to understand the role of expertise in public affairs remains complex. The best contemporary examples of delegation as a design principle involve explicit bilateral agreements. One model is the practice associated with “informed consent” for both acceptance of medical procedures and participation in experimental research. Informed consent specifically acknowledges the autonomy of the recipient’s decision and the obligation of an expert to fully inform the recipient of benefits and risks associated with each possible decision.

But nothing like informed consent qualifies many of the efforts scientific fields make to influence public policy. Occasionally, experts demand deference without acknowledging any duty of care, without manifesting this duty of care in their behavior, and, frequently, with explicit disavowal of any duty of care. Scientific communities desire autonomy from public accountability, and research literatures reflect interests (and viewpoints regarding those interests) that acknowledge no duty beyond various forms of research ethics. But unilateral assertions of authority by experts are not at all the same as the voluntary delegation of authority to experts – and it should come as no surprise when members of the public refuse to defer to such unilateral assertions.

The motivation behind delegation is the belief that a problem is of sufficient complexity to require a great deal of diligence for a good solution. This diligence takes at least two forms: preparation for attempting the solution (for example through professional training), and prolonged consideration of the problem from all possible angles. What makes delegation safer than generalized deference is the assurance that the expert community will in fact “do due diligence” on behalf of the public. Deferring to expertise is dangerous when an individual expert or a community of experts refuse to accept a duty of care. Delegation as a design principle is about structuring a system in which it is understood that specific people or institutions are responsible, to everyone else with a stake in the conclusion, for exercising the due diligence needed to understand an issue and make good decisions as needed.

5. Design hypotheses in action
Design hypotheses are ideas about how something might be improved, and these ideas get embedded in invented practices that can achieve surprising levels of permanence as other practices are built over them. Deference, distrust, and delegation are all deeply woven into the contemporary practice of argumentation. All three are actively present in the anti-vaccination controversy, not only as explicit themes in the discourse but also as features of designed systems that come into play.

Although the idea of deferring to disciplinary expertise (that is, to medical research rather than to the judgment of individual doctors) is still relatively new in human history, it has become deeply embedded in technical practices such as randomized clinical trials for proposed treatments and peer reviewed publication. Public health authorities, legally empowered to decide for all of us which treatments are safest and most effective, willingly defer to upstream medical research; downstream, they expect deference from citizens, and they get it from the vast majority. Most citizens acknowledge that they are in no position to seriously review the conclusions of experts, and they willingly defer both to public heath officials and to their own health care providers. A variety of durable institutional arrangements reflect a decision that society has already made to defer to medical expertise on matters of public health. This decision can be revisited – for example, to consider other kinds of expertise that might guide thinking about public health, such as sociology or economics – but the scale on which this re-evaluation takes place is not the individual argument from expertise but the design of these durable institutional arrangements and the highly elaborated technical practices that represent our current best ideas about how to reason our way to good decisions.

Caution with respect to expert authority is similarly built into the environment in which the anti-vaccination controversy thrives. Despite the high levels of deference afforded to medical research, researchers themselves operate under increasing levels of oversight and scrutiny, mandated by law in many countries (including the US and throughout the EU). Independent ethics committees that review and approve the conduct of research differ from scientific peer review in having members who are not from the researcher’s own field, and even in some cases members who are not scientists of any kind. One danger in deferring without question to an expert field is that the members of the field will become socialized into a common disregard for the values of the surrounding society. Our designed systems for managing this danger have the flavor of Walton-like tests for testing an individual expert, but they are adapted to inspecting the taken-for-granted practices of the expert field. They are built into the environment, and, besides their direct effects as regulatory mechanisms, they also keep alive the idea that experts must continue to earn our trust, even after we have made decisions to defer to them routinely.

6. Conclusion
In academic research on the controversy over MMR vaccination, critical attention has been divided among the small minority of individual parents who resist mandatory or recommended vaccination, the journalists who amplify fears about vaccination, and the public health authorities who fail to be responsive to public fears. No doubt some of these players are performing incompetently.

Design thinking about argumentation draws attention to a rather different class of questions: for example, about how an innovation like peer review affects a whole society’s capacity for reasonableness, both positively and negatively. If we zoom out to examine the impact of designed systems for producing, evaluating, and deploying expertise, our attention is drawn to the overall behavior of these systems, and especially to their ability to naturalize deference to expert fields while continuously enforcing due diligence. Most importantly, a design perspective on argumentation draws attention to the features of the communication environment that are changeable and to what can be done to make individuals and societies more or less reasonable.

Thanks to Scott Jacobs for many helpful suggestions.

Burgess, D. C., Burgess, M. A., & Leask, J. (2006). The MMR vaccination and autism controversy in United Kingdom 1998-2005: Inevitable community outrage or a failure of risk communication? Vaccine, 24, 3921-3928. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2006.02
Collins, H., & Evans, R. (2007). Rethinking expertise. Chicago: U. of Chicago Press.
Collins, H., & Weinel, M. (2011). Transmuted expertise: How technical non-experts can assess experts and expertise. Argumentation, 25(3), 401-413. doi:10.1007/s10503-011-9217-8.
Hample, J. M. (2012). Analysis of arguments favoring vaccine resistance. In J. Goodwin (Ed.), Between citizens & scientists: Proceedings of a conference at Iowa State University (pp. 183-193). Great Plains Society for the Study of Argumentation.
Hobson-West, P. (2007). ‘Trusting blindly can be the biggest risk of all’: Organized resistance to childhood vaccination in the UK. Sociology of Health and Illness, 29, 198-215.
Jackson, S. (2012). Black box arguments and accountability of experts to the public. In J. Goodwin (Ed.), Between citizens & scientists: Proceedings of a conference at Iowa State University (pp. 1-18). Great Plains Society for the Study of Argumentation.
Jackson, S., & Aakhus, M. (2014). Becoming more reflective about the role of design in communication. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 42, 125-134. doi:10.1080/00909882.2014.882009.
John, S. (2011). Expert testimony and epistemological free-riding: The MMR controversy. Philosophical Quarterly, 61, 496-517. doi:10.111/j.1467-9213.2010.687.x.
Jones, K. H. (2010). Rebelling against lawful authority? The vaccination controversy during the smallpox epidemic at Muncie, Indiana, 1893. Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences, 14, 74-87.
Löfstedt, R. E. (2005). Risk management in post-trust societies. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
Mizrahi, M. (2013). Why arguments from expert opinion are weak arguments. Informal Logic, 33, 57-79.
Nelson, H., & Stolterman, E. (2012). The design way: Intentional change in an unpredictable world (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Offit, P., & Coffin, S. (2003.) Communicating science to the public: The MMR vaccine and autism. Vaccine, 22, 1-6. DOI: 10.1016/S0264-410X(03)00532-2.
Seidel, M. (2014). Throwing the baby out with the bathwater: From reasonably scrutinizing authorities to rampant scepticism about expertise. Informal Logic, 34, 192-218.
Snoeck-Henkemans, A. F., & Wagemans, J. H. M. (2012). The reasonableness of argumentation from expert opinion in medical discussions: Institutional safeguards for the quality of shared decision making. In J. Goodwin (Ed.), Between citizens & scientists: Proceedings of a conference at Iowa State University (pp. 345-354). Great Plains Society for the Study of Argumentation.
Tindale, C. W. (2012). Dismantling expertise: Disproof, retraction, and the persistence of belief. In J. Goodwin (Ed.), Between citizens & scientists: Proceedings of a conference at Iowa State University (pp. 393-402). Great Plains Society for the Study of Argumentation.
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Walton, D. (1997). Appeal to expert opinion: Arguments from authority. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State U. Press.
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ISSA Proceedings 2014 – Creating Disagreement By Self-Abasement. Apologizing As A Means Of Confrontational Strategic Maneuvering

Abstract: The analysis of the different stages in a preface to a stage play (1617) by Gerbrand Bredero makes clear that antitheses, exaggerated modesty and self-humiliation may be used as strategic tools in the confrontation stage. The disagreement between protagonist and the primary audience has been created in the confrontation stage by polarizing the parties’ attitude towards each other.

Keywords: Antitheses, Apologizing, Confrontational Strategic Maneuvering, Disagreement, Double audience, Modesty, Polarization, Self-Humiliation

1. Introduction
It is an open secret that European debate, which is characterized as a rather formal discussion, becomes livelier and even biting in election time. The discussants have in fact a double role. On the one hand they discuss with each other in a reasonable way, in accordance with the parliamentary conventions. On the other hand, conscious of the role of media in forming impressions of public opinion, they push the boundaries to play to their electoral audiences, aiming at successes with a much wider circle of voters and public opinion. The parliament is a public discussion arena with plenty of possibilities to engage the public and voters (Van Haaften, 2010; Te Velde, 2003). Therefore, parliamentary debate has two main audiences, the parliament as well as the society. As a consequence, it has a double institutional goal, reaching decisions by prevailing rules and procedures, but also giving an account to the public, a goal that is linked to the protagonist’s relation to public and voters. To win the support of potential voters, members of parliament try to get – to quote Yvon Tonnard (2011) – their party’s priority issues `on the table’. Moreover, this addressing of a dual audience has a direct influence on the way one has to maneuver strategically: in the choice from the topical potential, in audience-directed framing of argumentative moves, as well as in the purposive use of presentational choices one not only has to deal with parliamentary rules for the debate but also with one’s personal relation to the voters and with public opinion (Van Haaften, 2010).

However, my paper is not on European parliamentary debate, but on the preface of a Dutch stage play of which the first edition appeared in 1617 (Bredero, 1999, pp. 14-17). The author of both the preface and the stage play is the famous seventeenth century Amsterdam playwright Gerbrand Bredero (1585-1618). The text in question is a preface to Bredero’s comedy Moortje (`The little Moor’). This comedy is an adaptation in Dutch of the comedy Eunuch by the ancient Roman playwright Terence (2th century BC).

The comparison between this preface and the parliamentary situation has been drawn as a preface in a printed book is also a public arena in which the author may strategically exploit a comparable double focus towards a primary addressed antagonist and a wider audience (Cf. Van Eemeren, 2010, pp. 108-110). In this specific preface, the starting point is the protagonist’s explicitly addressing of Neo-Latin professors (of the Leiden University), a relatively small elite group in society, whereas his secondary audience will have consisted in a general reading public of non Neo-Latinists, common, vernacular readers comparable with the protagonist’s background. As we will see this dual audience enabled him to strategically exploit antitheses, exaggerated modesty and self-humiliation. In fact they are strategic tools in the confrontation stage of this preface and the double audience-group has influenced the way in which strategic maneuvering is accomplished, especially by way of the polarizing moves.

The use of antitheses in this preface has made it possible for the protagonist to start the defence in the argumentation stage from a seemingly underdog position, reacting on the issues raised in the confrontation and opening stages. This underdog position constitutes an optimal possibility to defend the standpoint at issue and to constitute an attack on the standpoint of the antagonist that the adaptation and publication of the play is not justified, as it enables the author to deal with the (supposed) criticism of the scholarly Neo-Latinists.

2. Polarizing moves
How has this strategy been prepared in the confrontation stage?[i] As we will see, the supposed criticism of the antagonist is designed and shaped by a kind of self-reflection, including self-abasement and apologizing phrasings. Obviously, as an apology may be regarded as a reaction to a “willful violation of a mutually binding norm”, the `offence’ (in this case the publication of Bredero’s adaptation) could have been considered as “an apologizable offense”, the responsible actor as a `wrongdoer’ reacting in terms of sorrow and asking a contrition for the harm done, seeking “forgiveness from the offended party” (Tavuchis, 1991, pp. 120-121). In my view though, Bredero’s apologizing has not really been used in its role of litigation (cf. Taft, 2000), but rather to bring about an antithesis that is crucial for the way in which the issue is discussed. The difference of opinion is created by firstly yielding with the supposed criticism (`… I fear that you will condemn me alive as a murderer’), depicting the own act and the product of it as something inferior.

In the confrontation stage Bredero is maneuvering strategically with the choice of presentational devices. It starts with the proposition that the author of the play has been very audacious in adapting Terence, as he is an `unlearned’ writer and belongs to the non-scholars. Without having been in a Latin school he still has chosen this model of pure Latin to write an adapted version in the Amsterdam dialect. It marks the start of a difference of opinion between protagonist and antagonist initially on the basis that Bredero has published this adaptation; the preface is an introduction to (and justification of) this publication.

The difference of opinion is created by way of a polarizing maneuver, suggesting that the opponent actually holds the opposite standpoint to the protagonist and will condemn the act of translating and adapting a Latin play to vernacular by an unlearned writer, as well as the publication of it. The address to the small elite group of learned Latin scholars is as strategic as understandable. These Leiden professors are authorities in the classical field and supposed experts in the Latin play by Terence. Moreover, this address enables the protagonist to make a polarizing move, effectively aiming at starting the discussion with a situation of created difference of opinion, attributing a counter-standpoint to his opponents (cf. Tonnard, 2011, pp. 73ff., 112ff.). In terms of presentational devices, Bredero’s use of antitheses in the confrontation and opening stages shows a lot of indulgence concerning the difference of opinion about the publication, like: the antagonists are right; the author has been most daring; the product is miserable and the condemnation of it will be appropriate. Bredero uses a kind of conciliatio, in which the propositional content of his argument must have been acceptable for the antagonist (cf Van Eemeren, 2010, p. 208). In the end it will support Bredero’s own standpoint.

But there the `tolerance’ seems to end. As Bredero has published this play, the intended purpose of the preface is explaining why he did so. From a strategic perspective the indulgence showed by the protagonist shapes a kind of common ground from which he can argue with the most beneficial effect in a later stage.

In fact the confrontation and the opening stage overlap: the topic at issue is identified and the positions assumed by the participants in the difference of opinion are taken. Hereby the standpoint of the antagonist is elaborated by the protagonist. At the same time the protagonist clearly appoints where the parties engaged in the difference of opinion has to commit themselves to act as a protagonist and antagonist. Common ground is easily found where the protagonist takes the lower rank and praises the Latin and the author Terence. Moreover, his excuses continue in expressions of self-abasement:

Not only have I let him [Terence] change his unsurpassed excellence of talking but I have impertinently taken the invented history from the treasury of the world, from that imperial Rome. But the awful thing is, that I dragged it towards my hometown and broke it on the wheel. For this reason I fear that you will condemn me alive as a murderer. […] If I tortured him a bit, I am dearly sorry. I did not mean to treat him in such a harsh way.

These apologies are obvious responses to an implicit accusation (Kauffeld, 1998). But is it with that an `authentic apology’ (cf. Taft, 2000, p. 1147)? Rather does the apologizing function as to confront and argue about commonly accepted opinions, informing the reader about generally accepted norms and values (cf. Villadsen, 2014): Bredero is looking after the interest of his non-Latinist fellow citizens (see below). The antitheses by way of oppositional textual elements have been strategically used as they underline the protagonist’s attempts to prevent any criticism of having published his drama.

Reasonableness is shown, “in a well-considered way in view of the situation concerned” (Van Eemeren, 2010, p. 29), as the protagonist has thought for intersubjective arguments from both protagonist and antagonist, and tries to resolve a (shaped) difference of opinion (Van Eemeren, 2010, p. 32). In other words, the moves that are made are in agreement with the prevailing standards of reasonableness and in the opening stage the point of departure is reasonably established.

However, the contrasted wording is not only capable of attracting the attention of the reader but it enables him to create new contraries out of terms that have not been previously opposed for the reader (Andone, 2006, p. 88). In her study on rhetorical figures in science Fahnestock analyses how the argumenta¬tive effects of antithesis, a pattern consisting of opposing terms, may be experienced encouraging the readers to follow it (Fahnestock, 1999, p. 69): “The ability to perceive the pattern in an antithesis, to fulfill its predictions and even to feel its force, is part of the competence of an experienced user of the language”. The anagonist is invited to interpret the protagonist’s intention as a true, heartfelt and fair-minded opinion about himself and the addressee. In other words the antithesis clearly has functional patterns, giving presence to a selection of elements and placing others into the background. In the meantime the readers are framed as to accept the proposed oppositions (Fahnestock, 1999: pp. 68-70; Andone, 2006, p. 88). From an argumentative view, however, this antithesis enables Bredero to explain his own standpoint and to formulate arguments to easily reject those of the antagonist who is appointed an opposite position. Whether the antagonist actually takes this standpoint, is irrelevant in this monologue text: the antagonist is expected to do so as the protagonist is defending himself against an implicit accusation that belongs to such an opposite position.

Thus the difference of opinion exists by the antagonist’s interpretation of a (proleptically formulated) accusation from the antagonist that needs at least clarification (cf. Andone, 2010, p. 88). But instead of clarifying it from the start, the protagonist first and foremost puts on the hair shirt, characterizing the own position as low and week, describing the own act as audacious and as a “foolish boldness”. By self-abasement the distance between protagonist and antagonist is further accentuated. In this way, the dialectical goal of defining the difference of opinion has been deliberately brought out of balance in order to enlarge the starting situation from which the protagonist, in the argumentation stage, achieves the rhetorical goal in his favor. In other words, in the confrontation and opening stages the balance between satisfying the dialectical and pursuing the rhetorical goals is in fact undermined by the desire to be rhetorically effective in a later stage and may have overridden the concern to remain dialectically reasonable, without becoming fallacious however. The exaggeration of the own position may be slightly overdone according to modern standards, as is the politeness throughout this preface, but the social gap between Bredero and the Latin professors must have been immense. More interesting however is how Bredero makes use of this gap. How does he exploit the polarizing moves?

3. Double audience
`If I [Bredero] tortured him [Terence] a bit, I am dearly sorry. I did not mean to treat him in such a harsh way’. If we consider this preface as an apologia, it would be one of self-defence, where the author is concerned with restoring his image and does so by `denial of intent to achieve persuasiveness’ (Ware & Linkugel, 1973, p. 276). Moreover, the apologizing has been used as a strategic tool to divide the antagonist in a primary audience and secondary audience.[ii] In my definition and interpretation of these groups the primary audience is made up by the explicitly addressed Latin professors, while the secondary audience is constituted by the implicit wider audience of common readers, being non Latin professors.

Let’s have a closer look at the way he organizes his argument in this respect. By sketching his own capacities in line with those of common people (like “a simple Amsterdam citizen to whom only a small school knowledge of French shakes in the head”), the protagonist takes up a position at the level of the wider, secondary, audience that also judges the acceptability of the argumentative moves and whose verdict will even be the more important one (Van Eemeren, 2010, p. 109). The self-abasement has been strategically deployed as to create a polarization and a different standpoint with the primary audience of professors. The polarization becomes manifest by way of presentational devices, the difference in wording used to describe the Latin professors and the Latin example Terence versus himself and his adaptation: “Honoured, high-esteemed masters of the generally celebrated Latin language” versus “the great audacity of a simple Amsterdam citizen (to whom only a small school knowledge of French shakes in the head)” (the latter remark as to explain how he has managed to cope with the Latin material, i.e. via a French intermediate). Especially the contrast between Terence as a “Latinist, who expresses himself properly” and Bredero as an author who “mumbles and cackles” in a “strange Dutch”, portrays, in a proleptic way, the supposed standpoint of the antagonist. In the opening stage Bredero’s act of adapting Terence is still characterized as a “foolish boldness”, as “imperti¬nent”, and as an “awful thing”. With these opposing qualifications the starting point of the discussion is established. The opponent will condemn the dramatist “as a murderer”, who has “broken” the Latin play “on the wheel”. Therefore, the publication of this play does not seem to be justified. That is, in the eyes of the primary audience.

Are the soundness conditions for confrontational strategic maneuvering fulfilled? The topical choice in the confrontation and opening stage is sound, as the protagonist selects the issues that are to be discussed from the available disagreement space. Not only the addressees, but also the apologizing move and the self-abasement have been chosen strategically as they enable the protagonist to answer the expected criticism on his adaptation of Terence in advance. It offers the protagonist not only an opportunity to `name’ the offense, to identify himself with the action and to become clear about the `norm’ that has been violated (Taft, 2000, p. 140), but it enables him also to defend himself later on from selected issues: it furthers the achievement of a desired outcome of this stage as it creates a non-mixed difference of opinion by introducing a discussion and two standpoints: “here you will see (if you like) the great audacity…” means: the product is ready and has been published. And you won’t agree. But Bredero is not arguing at forgiveness. He rather defences himself and explains his considerations to this `offense’.

The second soundness condition, presentational choice, concerns the formulation “in such a way that it can be interpreted as enabling a relevant continuation and being responsive to the preceding move” (Van Eemeren & Houtlosser, 2009, p. 14). The protagonist aims at enforcing the different views by way of a clear and accentuated distinction between the high-esteemed Latin circuit and the simple vernacular one of the common readers.

4. Audience demands
The third soundness condition of strategic maneuvering, audience adaptation, is fulfilled as well, as his move of clarification is relevant to the (supposed) move of the other party in the discussion that expects clarification and giving account for the publication. The protagonist starts the discussion in a perspective that is expected to appeal his addressees, the Latin scholars. The (general) readers of this preface will have known the tradition of the genre to be a place of topical issues like feigned modesty and benevolence as to please the addressed readers. The act of a prefational addressing of a stage play to a specific group is quite common in seventeenth-century Dutch drama.[iii] Drama introductions mostly address the common reader. They imply, within the cultural tradition of the genre, an attitude of respect, of humbleness, as the writer usually explains why and how he has chosen the subject of the play, which sources he has used, and in what way the reader may expect poetical peculiarities in the literary text. In this respect the address to the Latin professors is striking.

Bredero’s choice from the `topical potential’ in the confrontation stage especially finds expression in his addressing the Latin scholars and not the group he represents, the group of vernacular readers, non-learned people without knowledge of Latin. These readers are supposed to be in the protagonist’s camp, as the protagonist looks after their interests, implicitly by having published the adaptation, and explicitly by a remark later on in the preface. He hopes the professors will accept his adaptation, and argues why he did it in this way:

As I have mostly changed it [his adaptation of Terence] to accommodate the common people, who knows little of the Greek customs and traditions, and who understood these characters the best.

This remark is a move adapted to the preferences of the secondary audience and responds to specific audience demands. It functions not only as an defensive explanation of the own position (the adaptation and its publication), but creates at the same time a sense of collectivity with especially this secondary audience.

As stated earlier, the whole preface is overflowing with politeness towards the Latinists, but in the argumentation stage the protagonist launches an attack, disguised in flattering words (“this, you professors, will know the best, because you are at home in anything”), and cloaked in his own feelings of regret and sadness. This attack has been formulated as blaming the antagonists that they do not share their knowledge with the common people. At the same time the attack is a defence of Bredero’s own standpoint. The author suggests that he had to act like he did because of this negligence of the Latin professors. As a matter of fact, he brings charges against the professors that they “teach their learning rather to the scholarly savants than to us, non-scholars, who have no knowledge of foreign languages whatsoever”.[iv] Such utterances underline the discrepancy between the dual audiences. They also strengthen the fact that the protagonist takes up the defence not only of himself but also of the universal audience, strengthening the common ground with this secondary audience.

5. Conclusion
In this specific case self-abasement has been demonstrated a suitable means to create disagreement by bringing about an antithesis between two audiences: the classical university circuit of Latin professors who should have condemn this publication, and ordinary vernacular people, the common reader who would have welcomed and supported it. By starting with some well-chosen antitheses the protagonist engages both audiences, through the “experiential nature and collaborative invitation” of such antitheses (Tindale, 2004, p. 85; Van Eemeren, 2010, p. 125). Thus, the polarization may be regarded as a strategic move (Tonnard, 2011, pp. 47-48), suggesting that the opponent actually holds the opposite standpoint to the protagonist. The process of polarization in the preface may be regarded as a rhetorical strategy directed to both audiences, because the protagonist will have gained satisfaction from primary addressees (his critics), by showing respect for the Latin circuit. And at the same time he has taken up the position of the common reader, adopting an attitude of humbleness, convincing his common readers of the acceptability and sincerity of his acting.

After the explanation of the opponent’s opinion towards the protagonist and his adaptation, the polarization between the Latin and vernacular circuit will become a fertile soil in which the standpoint that this publication is justified can be defended fruitfully and the protagonist hits back in the argumentation stage. The confrontation and opening stage are therefore most advantage¬ous for the protagonist, to argue in defence of supposed criticism by his opponent. In the concluding stage, which overlaps with the argumentation stage, we find most of all repetition, not only the request to the scholars again, but also the praise of Terence, his esteem for the Neo-Latin scholars, excuses and politeness. Final excuses imply that if the author in their view had failed in adapting the play, then this was to blame to a lack of understanding by or to shortcomings of the French intermediate translation (“because of the shortco¬mings of the bad example”). He passes the buck to a French intermediate. But here we also find a strong argument as to make clear that the standpoint defended can be maintained, whereas the antagonists will have to conclude that their supposed standpoint cannot (cf. Van Eemeren, 2010, p. 44). This final argument include that he has made his vernacular adaptation for the common people, who know little of Greek customs and traditions, and who understand the characters of the adaptation the best.

The addressing of a double audience in this preface has a direct influence on the way the protagonist maneuvers. The apologies that belong to the self-abasement are obvious responses to an implicit accusation. Therefore, in this case self-abasement functions not only to `get the issues on the table’, i.e. the (in)acceptability of the protagonist’s act of adaptation including his arguments for doing it, but also to achieve clarity about the issues that are at stake in the difference of opinion, selecting those issues that are most beneficial from the protagonist’s own perspective to argue or to shirk his responsibility. In sum, making excuses in the confrontation stage is an excellent means to maneuver strategically with the choice of presentational devices.


G.A. Bredero, `Preface’ (december 1616) to: G.A. Bredero, Moortje, Waar in hy Terentii Eunuchum heeft Nae-ghevolght. Amsterdam: Paulus van Ravesteyn, 1617 (Bredero, 2011, pp. 200-202). (my translation, JJ)

Confrontation stage
Oration to the scholarly Latinists, Honoured, high-esteemed masters of the generally celebrated Latin language, here you will see (if you like) the great audacity of a simple Amsterdam citizen (to whom only a small school knowledge of French shakes in the head), who unabashedly dares to take in hand Terence praised by you all, and dares to make this Latinist, who expresses himself properly, to mumble and to cackle not only strange Dutch, but (that by everyone of the neighbouring cities mocked) the Amsterdam dialect.

Opening stage
But nonetheless, this foolish boldness of mine will possibly not only surprise you, but maybe also happily make you laugh, because of the amusing strangeness of our accent, in particularly by the shortening of words, or by the (in your eyes) unusualness or special nature of them. Not only have I let him [Terence] change his unsurpassed excellence of talking but I have impertinently taken the invented history from the treasury of the world, from that imperial Rome. But the awful thing is that I dragged it towards my hometown and broke it on the wheel. For this reason I fear that you will condemn me alive as a murderer.

Argumentation stage
But, most prudent doctors, at least if you were prepared to take trouble over it, you will find that I have been merciful, because before his [Terence’s] death I have decently and consequentially dressed him similarly, in our way and to the best of my ability, not with beggar’s clothes of a hundred thousand bits and pieces, of foreign rags and other outlandish borrowed pieces of tatters, like he was rigged out in Brabant sixty years ago [by Cornelis van Ghistele]. He didn’t look then, if you will permit, dissimilar to the raven of Aesop, so that if everybody had appropriated his own part, he definitely would have escaped very featherless. If I tortured him a bit, I am dearly sorry. I did not mean to treat him in such a harsh way. But it would seem that he, having been raised delicately, couldn’t endure rough Amsterdam embraces, so that, despite my best intentions, he expired.

If I would have heard him in his mother tongue, undoubtedly (if I could have done that) I would have been fair to him. But look, I just spoke to him via a French interpreter [Jean Bourlier], whom I myself barely understood, and who I think did not understand him thoroughly either. Look, I have read so much about his immense eloquence that I loved him before I saw him. But when he appeared to me in that strange, many-colored Antwerp dialect, I was doubtful whether I would cry or laugh. If you like, you will come across an example here and there that you may like well or that will bring you joy, if you like language full of bombastic or embellished words, like it is employed by many parrots of courtiers and town clerks.

Hello, busy merchants and others who impoverish and violate their own language, and rather show off a patched-up cap and bells than that they would like to shine in an impeccable plain coat. Ah! What voluntarily chosen poverty I hear through all the Netherlands. Should there be even one nation under the sun that is so much overcome by this self-preferred foolishness as ours? It could be, but I don’t think so. But this, you professors, will know the best, because you are at home in anything. Don’t you agree, Gentlemen, that this mishmash of language comes from a kind of people that uses this corruption or confusion of words as were it a lofty beauty? Or is it perhaps borrowed from such folk that knows other languages before they learn their own language, and who for convenience often have to manage with a foreign word when they speak Dutch in later years?

One thing I have often regretted and it still saddens me, namely that the scholars teach their learning rather to the scholarly savants than to us, non-scholars, who have no knowledge of foreign languages whatsoever. How will we know what you know and understand if you don’t share your knowledge in how wise you are yourselves? All your knowledge counts for nothing insofar as you only know it yourselves. Nobody is born for himself alone [Cic., Off. 1.22].

Concluding stage
Therefore, let your fatherland enjoy your wisdom as much as the Romans or other far-away nations did, then you will make your fellow-countrymen, who are not the most stupid ones, more sensible and wiser. This I have wished many times, and I request you hereby, honourable, highly esteemed teachers of this generally praised Latin language, that you with your scholarly reason will kindly accept my venturesome undertaking in changing and adding time, place, names and other things like that. As I have mostly changed it to accommodate the common people, who knows little of Greek customs and traditions, and who understand these characters the best. If I haven’t portrayed his [Terence’s] features, his little pleasantries well, then perhaps that’s because of a lack of understanding or because of the shortcomings of the bad example, not those of the Carthaginian [Terence], but of the Frenchman.

I don’t need to tell you, my lords, about the excellence of his exceptional knowledge of worldly affairs and of the different sides of human life, how strikingly he depicts everybody’s character and nature, their manners, language and life. For if I intended to do so, I would light a candle to the sun, or carry sand to the dunes. For me it is enough to ask you once again that you want to pardon me, who don’t know any Latin, for the fact that I have put my ignorant hands in the significant dough of that acute man, and kneaded it in a Dutch way, and baked it for the mouth of my choosy fellow citizens. That you will do so, honoured, high-esteemed masters of the generally celebrated Latin language, is not doubted by your in every way obedient servant and friend

G.A. Bredero
It’s all in the game

i. See the Appendix. The Dutch version of this preface in: Bredero, 2011, pp. 200-213
ii. I don’t go along with the definition of primary and secondary audience by Van Eemeren, 2010, p. 109. In my definition the primary audience is the explicitly addressed audience, while the secondary audience is constituted by the more important to reach but implicit wider audience of common readers.
One could say this wider audience is the `universal audience’ (cf. Tindale, 2004, p. 128). Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca (1958-1969, pp. 28-29) distinguish between a particular audience, consisting of a specific collection of people, and the universal audience, which is supposed to represent reasonableness (cf. Van Eemeren, 2010, pp. 116-117).
iii. Notice that Bredero only addresses and that he does not dedicate this stage play to the group of Latin scholars. The dedication of Moortje is addressed to Jacob van Dyck (1564-1631), a Dutch advicer of the Swedish king and Maecenas of artists, asking him for protection and/or money (cf. Bredero, 2011, pp. 154-163).
iv. However, the attack remains mostly implicit and may be reconstructed as follows. It is your own fault, Latin professors, that I, Bredero, being an outsider, had to accomplish such an adaptation: this was in fact your task: you have neglected your duty towards your fellow-Dutchmen by not using our beautiful Dutch language and by keeping from the vernacular public all the wisdom and richness you have gained in classical writers and culture. By burying this wisdom in Latin writings, you obstruct a breakthrough of the Dutch language (being a valuable medium of knowledge).

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