ISSA Proceedings 2006 – When You Don’t Have Anything To Prove: Strategic Manoeuvring And Rhetorical Argumentation

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‘Because deciding to smoke or not to smoke is something you should do when you don’t have anything to prove. Think it over.’ To smoke or not to smoke, that’s the question. Even the most notorious doubter in history is called upon in this smoky tragedy of legal limits versus free choice. The quoted Reynolds tobacco company advertorial is one of the examples Frans Van Eemeren and Peter Houtlosser bring in to present the integrated pragma-dialectical model. In Rhetorical Argumentation. Principles of Theory and Practice, Christopher Tindale (2004) puts forward a model of argument that is characterised as rhetorical. In the introduction to this project, Tindale mentions this ‘rhetorical turn’ of the pragma-dialectic school. Van Eemeren and Houtlosser (2000) consider rhetoric part of dialectic, as dialectic deals with abstract and general questions, whereas rhetoric deals with specific cases and with context, elements that are to be embedded in the general.
First I will present the pragma-dialectic method and Tindale’s project, then I will deal with Tindale’s comments on the integrated pragma-dialectic model. Finally I will put forward the Reynolds case for my own discussion on the position of rhetoric and reasonableness in the integrated pragma-dialectic model, and the relation between dialectical and rhetorical norms. I will show how the advertorial can function as a prototype for the very notion of the complex shifting of norms in argumentation.

1. The pragma-dialectic model
The pragma-dialectic theory combines an approach to language use drawn from pragmatics with the study of critical dialogue from a dialectical perspective. It defines dialectic as ‘a method of regimented opposition’ in verbal communication and interaction ‘that amounts to the pragmatic application of logic, a collaborative method of putting logic into use so as to move from conjecture and opinion to more secure belief’ (Van Eemeren & Houtlosser 2000, p. 297).

All argumentation is considered to be part of a critical discussion aimed at resolving differences of opinion. This discussion consists of four stages: the confrontation stage, the opening stage, the argumentation stage, and the concluding stage. The aim of the participants should be to solve a difference of opinion within the boundaries of reason. As for assessment, the reconstruction of speech acts should make it possible to test discussions against procedural rules. Any derailment of these rules is considered to be fallacious.

In 1999 Van Eemeren and Houtlosser developed a model for integration of a rhetorical component in the pragma-dialectic approach. Their arguments for this idea are based upon praxis: although one is principally engaged in a critical discussion to solve a difference of opinion in a reasonable way, speakers or writers will also work towards a solution in their own favor (eg.: ‘as favourable as possible/ resolving the difference in their own favour/ getting things their way/ have their point of view accepted/ that best serves their interests) (Van Eemeren & Houtlosser 2000, p. 295). The way people’s own interests direct and influence the resolution of a dispute is an element of effectiveness, which is called the rhetorical aspect of argumentation: strategic attempts to personally influence the resolution process. In general, rhetoric is called ‘the theoretical study of practical persuasion techniques’ (ibid., p. 297).

A second argument for the integration proposal follows out of this and is of a more general kind. The authors claim to bridge the historical gap between dialectic and rhetoric. As for the integration, this is how they see the relation between dialectic and rhetoric: ‘We view dialectic –in line with Agricola- as a theory of argumentation in natural discourse and fit rhetorical insight into our dialectical framework’. From this, it is clear that rhetorical moves operate within a dialectical framework. Effective persuasion must be disciplined by dialectical rationality. In other words, the effectiveness element that is extracted from argumentation praxis is accepted as long as it does not interfere with principles of critical discourse, and in case of conflict between the two, praxis must yield to principles.

The reconciliation ‘in which the parties seek to meet their dialectical obligations without sacrificing their rhetorical aims’ is called ‘strategic manoeuvring’: ‘In so doing, they attempt to exploit the opportunities afforded by the dialectical situation for steering the discourse rhetorically in the direction that best serves their interests.’ (ibid., p. 295). Those opportunities are to be found in every of the four stages and can be pinned down to topical choice, adaptation to the audience, and presentation. The key criterion for assessing whether a rhetorical strategy is ‘being followed’ in any stage is that of convergence. Reconstruction provides insight into the strategic manoeuvres carried out to reconcile rhetorical aims with dialectical commitments. The strategic manoeuvres prove to be acceptable or to involve a violation of the rules for critical discussion.
For a conclusion, which may be a grounding argument as well, Van Eemeren and Houtlosser bring up the concept of ‘no incompatibility’: strategic maneuvring does not automatically imply that the critical principles for resolving conflicts are abandoned (ibid., p. 297). A final argument for the integration model is formulated in the conclusion of the Reynolds article:

This example shows, by the way, not only that a pragma-dialectical analysis becomes stronger and more useful when rhetorical insight is incorporated, but also that a rhetorical analysis of argumentative discourse is more illuminating when it takes place in a well-defined dialectical framework. (ibid., p. 302)

2. Rhetorical argumentation
Before I deal with Tindale’s comment on the integrated model of the Amsterdam school, I will give a short overview of his project. Tindale follows Perelman’s constructive understanding of rhetoric (as the study of the methods of argument) insofar as approaching argumentation in this way encourages us to view it as fundamentally a communicative practice. But he adds: ‘as a practice, as a central human activity, argumentation is essentially rhetorical in ways that far exceed methodology alone’ (Tindale 2003, p. 19). For this constructive understanding of rhetoric he refers to Bitzer (1968) who calls it: ‘A mode of altering reality … by the creation of discourse which changes reality through the mediation of thought and action’. In the end, ‘whether we see the aims of rhetorical argumentation as leaning towards persuasion, deliberation, or inquiry, the ways in which it helps us change our point of view and directs our actions reflect this understanding.’(ibid., p. 19). Argumentation is to be appreciated as an activity that changes how we perceive the world by changing the way we think about things. Tindale’s presentation of the field links the logic perspective to the product of argumentation, the dialectic perspective to the procedure, and the rhetorical to the process.[i]

Product, procedure and process are each important ideas in the understanding of and theorizing about arguments. … A complete theory of argument will accommodate the relationships among the three. … Still, it is the rhetorical that must provide the foundations for that theory, and it will influence how we understand and deal with the logical and the dialectical in any particular case. (ibid., p. 7)

All three of Aristotle’s means of persuasion form an essential aspect of the argumentative situation, in that ethos is linked to the arguer (who is always involved in, or even constructed by the text), pathos to the audience (a dynamic factor); a third key concept of his book is ‘logos’, or argument itself (ibid., p. 20).
‘In a very general sense’, Tindale claims, ‘an argument is the discourse of interest that centers, and develops in, the argumentative situation.’ This situation he calls the ‘dynamic space in which arguer and audience interact, but interact in a way that makes them coauthors’ (ibid., p. 23), since this space of the argumentative situation is crucial to our self-understanding and our understanding of others. After all, as social beings, we all are ‘in audience’ most of the time. ‘Rather than persuasive discourses that impose views on an audience, rhetorical argumentation, through the situation it enacts, invites an audience to come to conclusions through its own experiencing of the evidence.’ (ibid., p. 24).

Tindale’s rhetorical argumentation draws features from the rhetorical tradition and mixes them with newer innovations. He shows how argumentation is a crucial element in the early Greek texts, in a further rehabilitation of the Sophists. Also, he claims that rhetoric is more than a matter of style, and shows how some rhetorical figures have a distinct argumentative value[ii]. He turns to Bakhtin’s theory of dialogical relationship to further develop the idea of rhetorical argumentation and show the central role of audience in it. Bakhtin’s theory opens up our ways of thinking about how arguers anticipate and incorporate the ideas of their audiences and how the argumentative context is alive with the contributions of two (or more) parties. Each of two apparently opposing views is influenced by the view that it opposes. Not only Bakhtin’s concept of the superaddressee, but also Perelman’s concept of the particular and universal audiences are drawn from in order to address the final question of assessment and normativity.

3. Tindale and pragma-dialectics
To put it mildly, Tindale’s idea of rhetoric is quite different from the integrated pragma-dialectic model, where rhetoric is the ‘handmaid of dialectic, and rhetorical moves operate within a dialectical framework’ (ibid., p. 15). The specificity of rhetoric should be embedded in the general nature of abstract questions, and the norm of rhetoric is effectiveness, whereas dialectic embraces the idea of reasonableness.
The key criterion for assessing whether a rhetorical strategy is ‘being followed, or ‘fully present’ in any stage is that of convergence. According to Tindale, it seems that success in those terms may mean no more than being able to match one’s own rhetorical interest with one’s dialectical obligations through strategies that exploit the opportunities in an argumentative situation (ibid., p. 17). It is not clear whether this ‘convergence’ is actually a measure of quality by providing a (rhetorical) criterion of success, which would have to be ‘effectiveness’.

Another problem with assessment is the negative requirement governing appropriate strategies. Rhetorical strategies are subjected to the pragma-dialectic rules of reasonableness, and thus not acceptable when they’re not also reasonable. This means that persuasiveness alone is not sufficient to be acceptable. The requirement of reasonableness represented by the rules for discussion serves as a check on the arguer simply having her own way. This means that a fallacy is committed when the arguer’s commitment to proceeding reasonably is overruled by the aim of persuasion. All fallacies can even be regarded as derailments of strategic manoeuvring.
This view on fallacies is taken further up to the aim that the pragma-dialectic school assigns to argumentation. Tindale wonders whether all argumentation be fruitfully addressed as if it were aimed at resolving a difference of opinion and whether as a consequence, evaluation can strive to do no more than test the acceptability of standpoints. Moreover, as for the case studies, it seems hard to cast them as critical discussions involving conflicts of opinion. In fact, what is the ‘opposing opinion’ in the Reynolds Tobacco Advertorial, and ‘what actual conflict exists in this case?’ (ibid., p.18).

Tindale sees important features in the IPD-model: the idea that rhetorical figures are important presentational devices, and the argumentative role suggested for figures of speech. He concludes with a new evocation of his own task, which is to show the fundamental importance of rhetorical features to argumentation. ‘Once we see argumentation as representing more than a critical discussion, whether its goal is consensus, persuasion, or understanding, we find more to say about rhetoric’s role.’ (ibid., p. 18).

4. More to say: traditions and stereotypes
‘… theoreticians have characterized rhetoric’s norm as that of effectiveness, while dialectic embraces the idea of reasonableness. Although Van Eemeren and Houtlosser insist there is no incompatibility between these norms, they do not resist this traditional characterization of rhetoric and so, again, it seems natural to ground effectiveness in reasonableness.’ (ibid., p.15). In fact, the integration model has launched a great amount of new research on the relationship between logic, dialectic and rhetoric.[iii]
One of the problems with a traditional characterization of rhetoric, is that it can easily give way to sterile stereotypes: ‘The common reproaches to rhetoric hold that it produces feigned and untruthful speeches, addressed to man’s lower instincts, rather than to reason, and possessed of unnecessary bombast and flowery use of language. Contrariwise, dialectic will be described as useless logic chopping, full of sophistry and leading to no practical gains. This was not Aristotle’s point of view.’ (Krabbe 2002, p. 29).
Of course, we must acknowledge – with Van Eemeren and Houtlosser (2002, p. 3) – ‘that neither the dialectical perspective nor the rhetorical perspective is so clearly and univocally defined that we know exactly what we are talking about. The perceptions and descriptions of the two perspectives vary considerably over time. The same applies even more strongly to their mutual relationship and the way in which the one perspective may be subordinated to, combined with, or even integrated in, the other.’[iv]

As for this mutual relationship; many structures have been proposed: not only integration, but also mutual dependence, hierarchy (both ways), contradiction, overlapping, parallelism, complementarity, but also ‘almost no difference at all’.[v] Apparently, in the end Aristotle is to blame for all this confusion with his famous antistrophos between dialectic and rhetoric: ‘The trouble started when the names were assigned.’ (Hohmann 2002, p. 41).

Blair assumes ‘there is no one type of relationship among logic, dialectic and rhetoric, but rather several – at least four, […] The first is the conceptual or logical relationship among the norms of the three perspectives. The second is the contingent or empirical relationship among their norms. The third I call the relationship of theoretical priority, and the fourth, that of normative priority’ (Blair 2003, p. 91/97). He concludes that any complete theory of argumentation will account for the role of each, not emphasizing any one at the expense of the others’ (ibid., p. 104), and that in the study of arguments and argumentation, ‘all three must be considered in relation to one another.’ (ibid., p. 105).
In this light, one can expect the pragma-dialectical scholars to be wary about those stereotypes, and indeed, the proposal to integrate both systems is an enormous and inspiring project. Yet, I wonder with Tindale whether there is no way out of this traditional view on rhetoric. The rhetorical dimension indeed enriches the IPD-model, but does this mean that the adding of this effect norm results in a more complete and satisfying concept of argumentation?

After all, as Kienpointner (1995, p. 543) points out: ‘many scholars see rhetoric as a rather narrow subject dealing with the techniques of persuasion and/or stylistic devices’, but others conceive of rhetoric as ‘a general theory of argumentation and communication’. Moreover, it is clear that ‘However different they may be, both perspectives, but the dialectical perspective in particular, include a logical component of some sort.’ (Van Eemeren 2002, p.3). Tindale notes that the intersubjective reasonableness prevalent in rhetoric is even one of the pillars of the critical reasonableness conception characteristic of dialectic (Tindale 2000, p. 27).
Van Eemeren and Houtlosser integrate the rhetorical element in the pragma-dialectic model on the grounds of what they call ‘no incompatibility’. When argumentation is not only evaluated but also described in the light of this abstract ideal model of dialectical obligations; one ends up with the assumption that the rhetorical is not dealing with reasonableness, because, by itself, it does not resort under this dialectical obligation of a critical discussion. It is basically this implicit exclusion of reasonableness and dialogue from rhetoric that worries me.[vi]

This way, the ‘conflict’ between the two has a polarizing effect, in that it tends to neglect the fact that reasonableness is a general and very common human motif in argumentation, not only in theory, but also in reality, in praxis[vii]. The conflict model implicitly excludes reasonableness from the rhetorical point of view.
This implicit consequence also shows in the supposed aim of participants of argumentation. According to the Amsterdam school, this aim is double: participants aim at solving a disagreement, and they do this by means of a critical discussion. Their rhetorical aims come down to effectivity, in the traditional sense of defending their own point.

People engaged in argumentative discourse are characteristically oriented toward resolving a difference of opinion … This does, of course, not mean that they are not interested in resolving the difference in their own favor. Their argumentative speech acts may even be assumed to be designed to achieve primarily this effect. The alleged rhetorical quality of argumentative discourse does not mean that speakers or writers are exclusively interested in getting things their way. (Van Eemeren & Houtlosser 2000, p. 295)

The assumption is that people can be primarily interested in resolving a difference of opinion in their own favor, but that even then, there must be a small margin (‘not exclusively’) left for norms of critical discussion, whether this be pretended or true. This again suggests that resolving differences of opinion in your own favor can never completely be governed by the ideals of reasonableness. Participants in the discussion can never ‘escape’ from their dialectical obligations:

Even when they try as hard as they can to have their point of view accepted, they have to maintain the image of people who play the resolution game by the rules and may be considered committed to what they have said, presupposed or implicated. If a given move is not successful, they cannot escape from their ‘dialectic’ responsibilities by simply saying ‘I was only being rhetorical’. As a rule, they will therefore at least pretend to be primarily interested in having the difference of opinion resolved. (ibid., p. 295)

If argumentation is an activity to be played by the rules, then the aim and the role of the participants can easily become caricaturized and ethos can be narrowed down to the obligation to maintain a certain image. The question is whether the all too human faculty of merely pretending to obey to rules, a very interesting issue at that, can actually become the issue of an argumentative analysis, be it pragma-dialectic or maybe even rhetorical.

For optimal rhetorical result, the moves must be adapted to audience demand. […] For optimally conveying rhetorical moves and making them have a real effect on the listener or reader, the various presentational devices that can be employed must be put to good use (ibid., p. 299).

It is very well possible to study argumentation in the light of dialectical norms, but here rhetoric is integrated as a new set of norms, this time about getting things you way. The question is whether this normativity is in compliance with the rhetorical aspects of argumentation, and whether these norms are similar enough to the dialectical norms to be integrated in one model.[viii] All derailments of the obligation of reasonableness, as we’ve seen, are called fallacies, and this apparently holds also true for the integrated model. Here is where I would like to push further Tindale’s comment on assessment. Although it is theoretically perfectly possible to draw lines (or formulate rules) and examine texts (or procedures) concerning critical obligations, it is difficult to do the same from a rhetorical point of view. As the classical rhetorical advices or norms for effective communication primarily concern the art of seeing possibilities, to be adapted to whatever audience in whenever situation, those advices can hardly be turned into something like ‘rhetorical obligations’. In his definition ‘la rhétorique est l’art de persuader par le discours’, Reboul also mentions the ‘art’ aspect: ‘Mais ‘s agit-il d’une simple technique? Non, il s’agit de bien plus. Le veritable orateur est un artiste en ce sens qu’il découvre des arguments d’autant plus efficaces qu’on ne les attendait pas, des figures dont personne n’aurait eu l’idée et qui s’avèrent être justes; un artiste dont les performances ne sont pas programmables et ne s’ imposent qu’après coup.’ (Reboul 1998, p. 4 – 6)

The way from pragma-dialectic norms to rhetorical praxis to new and ‘integrated’ norms has a problematic aspect to it, because the ideal of a model with a set of obligations for participants with fixed views is called upon to provide a full description of, and a norm for argumentative interaction.[ix]

Tindale considers rhetoric to be of a more fundamental nature: all argumentation aims at bringing about a change (eg. to get a disagreement solved) by means of verbal (or even visual) interaction.

This is also a model of argument that would appear to aim for agreement. […] On the question of agreement, Todorov writes that for Bakhtin ‘[t]he goal of a human community should be neither silent submission nor chaotic cacophony, but the striving for the infinitely more difficult stage: ‘agreement’.’ The word used here, at root, means ‘co-voicing’ … An agreement, where achieved through dialogical argumentation, does not mean an identity between positions; it does not involve a winner and a loser who gives up her or his position. Rather than the holding of the same position, agreement stresses an understanding of the position involved. […] Among Bakhtin’s final notes we find the denial of a last word: the dialogic context has no limits and each meaning gives birth to more. Argument, like dialogue, is ongoing. (Tindale, 2004, p. 104-105)

Argument aims at a provisory settlement, not per se victory, or a literal ‘solution’ (disappearance) of a conflict, because no solution is ‘final’, and no position fixed. An important aim of participants is some kind of reconciliation between parties within the actual situation; that is the kind of effective communication the advices are aimed at. Here, the line between reasonableness and effect is indeed very thin, if there is any. The standards of the pragma-dialectic model and rhetorical effect are of a different kind.

Conclusion: by carefully keeping the aims apart, the integrated model paradoxically does not always reconcile both views. The no-incompatibility argument, the minimum condition for reconciliation, generates the opposite effect and thus cannot escape from the improductive categorization of rhetoric and dialectic.
Moreover, rhetorically speaking, rules are always also an element in the discussion; in a way they are to be affirmed and/or reinvented through each new discussion with every other audience in every new situation. This idea of situation is fundamental in rhetoric; as it is grounded in political and social life, where reasonability is not only to be understood as an activity within the boundaries of a set of norms, but also as a real attempt at finding agreements we are trying to find and negotiate about.
The pragma-dialectic model provides an important set of rules to work with, but as rhetoric is concerned with all aspects of argumentation and not only the ideal of reasonability that is unmistakably part of any argumentation, it seems that assessment should start from a broader perspective and then develop further into more well-defined and (also) normative analyses.[x] I will show my case by means of a proposal for analysis of the Reynolds company example.

5. Reynolds & rhetorics
Some surprising advice to young people from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.
Don’t smoke.
For one thing, smoking has always been an adult custom. And even for adults, smoking has become very controversial.
So even though we’re a tobacco company, we don’t think it’s a good idea for young people to smoke.
Now, we know that giving this kind of advice to young people can sometimes backfire.
But if you take up smoking just to prove you’re an adult, you’re really proving just the opposite.
Because deciding to smoke or not to smoke is something you should do when you don’t have anything to prove.
Think it over.

After all, you may not be old enough to smoke. But you’re old enough to think.
Since it belonged to Reynolds’ dialectical commitments to make a real effort at convincing young people that they should not smoke, whereas Reynolds – being a tobacco company – cannot be expected to abandon altogether its rhetorical aim of persuading people to smoke, it may be assumed that some strategic manoeuvring is going on. The question is how the various moves are selected, adapted to the audience, and fashioned in such a way that the colliding dialectical and rhetorical aims are more or less reconciled. (ibid. p. 300)

The assumption of strategic manoeuvering is the starting point of this analysis. From Reynolds’s obviously colliding dialectical and rhetorical aims, it follows that they will try to reconcile their obligations with their aims. The strategy that’s convincingly being laid bare is one of a counter-productive effect in all discussion stages. As for a conclusion, we read:

Our analysis of Reynolds’ advertorial shows that in this text there is no lack of such violations. Reynolds thus illustrates that seemingly smart strategic manoeuvres do not lead to an acceptable strategy if they are not at the same time dialectically justified. (ibid., p. 302)

This assumption of strategic manoeuvring is an exact mirror of the problematic relationship between dialectical and rhetorical aims and norms in the integrated model. The assumption of conflict between the two aims in this particular mass communication case puts rhetoric at the side of plain and commercial selling techniques where the speaker is this giant tobacco company and the audience a target group of consumers, while dialectic fulfils the role of a well-meaning parent or government trying to convince us not to smoke.

And indeed, one cannot expect from a tobacco company to have another aim than selling cigarettes in the first place. From a traditional rhetorical point of view, the question is simply whether this move is effective in the ongoing dispute between the public, the American government, scientists, the tobacco industry, and many more actors. As for the Reynolds advertorial situation[xi], this evokes many interesting questions; I briefly mention three of them: What is the real (particular) audience? Surely it is a mix of smoking and non-smoking kids ànd adults, but also judges, the American government, and other tobacco companies. Second question: Why an advertorial? Reynolds chooses a verbal message, and a complex one at that: an advertisement that looks like an article. They don’t use visual elements, surely a more effective method[xii], especially concerning this notoriously difficult persuasion issue of (non-) smoking. Third question: what is Reynolds’ real aim? ‘I don’t think that Reynolds is trying to fool anybody’, Garver suggests, ‘I offer the competing hypothesis that Reynolds is aiming at the creation and presentation of a corporate identity, that of the upright, thoughtful corporation, albeit on engaged in selling a product of questionable value. They’ve given up on trying to show that cigarettes are not dangerous, and instead are trying to position themselves as corporate good citizens. […] On my hypothesis, there is a sort of persuasion going on, but no aim at resolving differences of opinion’ (Garver 2000, p. 308).

Reynolds advises kids to start smoking only when they don’t have anything to prove by it. Maybe that is the deeper communality that Reynolds achieves. The possibility of pretending to obey to (reasonable) rules (for kids as well as for tobacco companies) is exactly what unites them. ‘Kids do smoke, and we do produce cigarettes. What can you all expect us to prove? We both know that it is against certain rules.’[xiii] This ‘impossible’ argumentative situation is reflected by an impossible, indeed contra-productive, message: we don’t have anything to prove[xiv]. A rhetorical analysis provides for the revealing of a metonymic shift this implicit negotiation about rules brings about: the advertorial shows that any communication also provides a negotiation space[xv] about the rules by which we (don’t) argue, for better or for worse.

[i] Aristotle’s triumvirate of logic, dialectic and rhetoric does serve as a model for modern theories of argument (eg. Habermas, Wenzel). (Tindale 2004, p. 4)
[ii] In a further development of Fahnestock (1999).
[iii] For recent work on this topic, see Frans H. Van Eemeren and Peter Houtlosser (2002), Frans H. Van Eemeren, J. Anthony Blair, Charles A. Willard and A. Francisca Snoeck Henkemans (2003), Garver (2000), Jacobs (2000) and Goodwin (2000).
[iv] See also Leff: ‘The historical record of dialectic and rhetoric is one of almost constant change as far as the identity, function, structure and mutual relationship of these arts are concerned’ (Leff 2002, p.53).
[v] In the United States, […] in a sense we have returned to a presocratic interest in logos – the Greek word that precedes more precise theoretical terms for ‘rhetoric’ or ‘logic’ and is easily broad enough to encompass pretty much everything we now describe as ‘rhetoric’ or ‘argument’ or both. (Schiappa 2002, p. 65)
[vi] See also Leff: ‘The isolated antithesis between rhetoric and dialectic may exaggerate the differences between them and make them appear as categorical opposites. (Leff 2002, p. 57)
[vii] See also Jacobs: ‘Adaptation to situation is an essential feature of the rationality of argumentation – and not merely some deviation from rational ideals. Reasonable argumentation is argumentation that makes the best of the situation. Ideal argumentation is not discourse that occurs in some ideal speech situation abstracted away from its conditions of use; ideal argumentation is realistic.’ (Jacobs 2000, p. 273)
[viii] See also Garver (2000, p. 308-309) ‘Those [dialectic] norms never determine what anyone will say.’
[ix] See also Jacobs (2000, p. 265): ‘Standards for good argumentation cannot be evaluatively applied to their objects if those standards are presupposed in the very description of the objects’.
[x] Blair questions whether one perspective can be given any theoretical priority: ‘the details of what it means to give theoretical priority to one or another of these perspectives remain to be worked out’ (Blair 2003, p. 105). Jacobs proposes normative pragmatics to function as a starting point for any argumentative analysis, as the meaning of the message should be pinned down first (Jacobs 2000).
[xi] See also Jabobs: ‘An emphasis on the strategic design of messages lies at the heart of rhetorical analysis. I think that is exactly where any argumentative analysis must begin. Argumentative discourse persuades or not by virtue of the message communicated, and the meaning of the message implicates a complex of interpretive effects and interactional sequels that can be thought of as the manifest persuasive design’. (Jacobs 2000, p. 273)
[xii] Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca about verbal persuasion: ‘the most solid beliefs are those which are not only admitted without proof, but very often not made explicit’ (Perelman and Olbrechts – Tyteca 1971, p. 8).
[xiii] Jacobs, in an analysis of another Reynolds advertorial, finds some specific rhetorical questions to have a similar function: ‘The author and reader are not cast as antagonist and protagonist here. They are presumed to share a common viewpoint in contrast to these morally defective agents who might actually put forward these possibilities as serious proposals.’ (Jacobs 2000, p. 271)
[xiv] ‘In fact, double messages seem to be a common strategy in tobacco company editorials on the topic of under-age smoking’ (Jacobs 2000, p. 267). The double message is not only an effective strategy, but also the expression of an essential aspect of reality: struggling with rules and obligations in this messy world we are unmistakably part of (Kids: ’I know I should obey, but I don’t’; Smokers: ’I know I shouldn’t smoke, but I do’; Tobacco companies: ‘We know we shouldn’t produce and promote harmful products, but we do’).
[xv] See also Goodwin: ‘… the argumentativity of language itself may force us always to insinuate more than we actually say. My suspicion is that this cluster of techniques – ‘openly presenting something as something’, ‘talking as if something were something’, ‘spinning something into something’ – provides a ‘manifest rationale for persuasion’ not yet discovered.’ (Goodwin 2000, p. 289)

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