ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Story Credibility In Narrative Arguments

Abstract: Recent work on narrative-based arguments has insisted on the importance, for assessment, of construing a theory of story “credibility” or “believability”. The main tenet of most approaches is the idea that a credible story should resemble “reality”. However, “narrative realism” is a rather problematic concept. The paper proposes a more nuanced, multi-dimensional and explicitly meta-argumentative approach to the assessment of arguments involving narratives, that would not prejudge their argumentative form or function.

Keywords: argument assessment, narrative argument, narrative rationality, narrative realism.

1. Introduction
Narrative argumentation, narration in arguments or the inherent narrativity of arguing and debating, are, no doubt, trendy topics in the field of argumentation theory. We heard several papers on these issues in last year’s OSSA 10th Conference and here in ISSA 2014, we have two complete panels labelled “Narrative argument”. Of course, this implies a certain variety of approaches and some clarifications as to the referents and the scope of my own paper are required.

First of all, even if I take W. Fisher’s narrative paradigm of rationality (1989 [1987]) as a truly attractive philosophical stance, that could yield interesting insights regarding the cognitive basis of our reasoning, I claim some of its assumptions may turn our attention away from the particularities of real discourse. If we assume that:
regardless of genre, discourse will always tell a story and insofar as it invites an audience to believe it or act on it, the narrative paradigm and its attendant logic, narrative rationality, are available for interpretation and assessment (Fisher, 1989, p. xi) there would be nothing specific to arguments involving explicit narratives as obvious parts or as a manifest linguistic strategy. Again, Fisher insists “When narration is taken as the master metaphor, it subsumes the others” (1989, p. 62). So my first clarification is that here I don’t mean to use “narrative” as a metaphor (however insightful) of what’s happening when we argue and listen to or interpret arguments; nor as the cognitive key (however revealing) to the widespread features of our species’ argumentative practices (as allegeddly Homo narrans). I will focus, instead, on the straightforward recognition of a variety of argument types and argumentative discourses in which the particular linguistic features and genre-specific qualities of narration play a significant role. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Reasoning And Argumentative Complexity

Abstract: In this paper, I have investigated partially the relation between reasoning and argumentative complexity from the theoretical framework of text linguistics. For this purpose, I have explored both the ability underlying the activity of speaking (the ἐνέργεια) and the product created by this competence (the ἔργον). This work supports the hypothesis that the ability reasoning in terms of critical thinking (ἐνέργεια) of college students is related to formal argumentative complexity (ἔργον) of their discourses.

Keywords: argumentation, complexity, density, reasoning, thinking.

1. Purpose
This paper is part of research project Fondecyt Nª 1130584, whose main objective is to investigate the relation between reasoning and argumentative complexity from the theoretical framework of text linguistics. To this effect, I have explored partially both the ability underlying the activity of speaking (the ἐνέργεια) and the product that is created as result of this competence (the ἔργον).
From the first perspective, cognitive operations involved in this knowledge during the real activity of discursive production are suggested that, as proposed, are projected in the form of more or less complex, discursive texture or density, on the discourse. From the second, an initial evidence of argumentative complexity -based on the derivational property of propositions and from the notion of argumentative coherence that proceed of those- is provided.

2. Methodology
The work has followed an approach mixed quantitative and qualitative. In order to establish the capacity or level of ἐνέργεια of the subjects, 80 college students was tested applying the test Tasks in Critical Thinking, created in 1986 by an expert committee of the Educational Testing Service, United States. The tool considers both the multidimensionality of critical thinking and cognitive skills that it requires a priori in a test with 15 kinds of analytical reagents. The dimensions of the test considered are three: inquiry, communication and analysis.

In order to determine the degree of argumentative complexity of informants (ἔργον), I followed a qualitative approach, applying the procedures of grounded theory, through the Atlas / ti software.

3. Theoretical framework

3.1 Thought and language
The conception of a faint boundary between the notions of thought and language dates from Aristotle, when he says that the referents of the signs are the same for anybody (Aristóteles, 1986) to Wittgenstein, when he argues that the propositional sign applied is the thought (Wittgenstein, 2003).

Research in contemporary cognitive psychology, on the other hand, has shown that language is not the only cognitive capacity of the human being, but rather constitutes a module of a complex function which shares at least with the perception, memory, intelligence and thought; i.e., numerous specialized and relatively autonomous subsystems that, however, interact with each other to some extent. In this regard, it has been proposed that language is a cognitive module (Fodor, 1986) so that its mode of operation would not be found affected by the other components of cognition. In this context, and based on evidence such as FoxP2 protein of chromosome 7 (Marcus & Fisher, 2003), it is postulated that the language would, therefore, a specific skill, not dependent on other cognitive activities. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Historical Inquiry Into Debate Education In Early 20th Century Japan: The Case Of Intercollegiate Debates In Yūben

Abstract: This paper analyzes intercollegiate debates hosted by Yūben (1910-1941), a monthly magazine specializing in oratory. From 1930 to 1935 Yūben held a total of 14 intercollegiate debates in which college students argued over such controversial topics as capital punishment. By examining the transcripts of the debates, relevant Yūben articles, and historical documents on academic debate in the United States, the paper seeks to trace the American influence on debate education in early 20th century Japan.

Keywords: American influence, history of debate, intercollegiate debate, modern Japan, Yūben

1. Introduction
This paper aims at shedding light on the influence of American-style academic debate in early 20th century Japan by scrutinizing intercollegiate debates hosted by Yūben (1910-1941), a monthly magazine specializing in oratory. Despite the fact that Yūben was the most influential publication devoted to promoting speech and, to a lesser extent, debate in Japan at the time, very few studies have been conducted to examine its role and impact. A close analysis of Yūben thus offers us a new window into debate education in pre-World War II Japan and thereby provides further historical insights into argument practices in non-Western societies.

From 1930 to 1935, Yūben held a total of 14 intercollegiate debates in which college students were invited to argue over controversial policy topics of the day such as capital punishment and international marriage. Importantly, the debates were billed as an experiment with the debate format being widely practiced in the West back then. While the first debate was allegedly modeled on the British style, the subsequent debates were in fact more similar to those practiced at American schools. More specifically, as opposed to the traditional (elocutionary and belles-lettristic) style of debate, the intercollegiate debates in Yūben emphasized research, the use of evidence, and a direct clash of arguments. Given that a similar shift from elocution to argumentation occurred in the United States around the same time, it can be surmised that contrary to popular belief, American debate practices continued to influence debate education in Japan during the 1920s and 30s. By examining the transcripts of the debates, relevant Yūben articles, and historical documents on academic debate in the United States, the paper seeks to trace the American influence on debate education in early 20th century Japan and to consider why Yūben was so eager to introduce American-style debate shortly before the breakout of the Pacific War.

2. Yüben in a historical perspective
As Aonuma, Morooka, and Senō (2013) note, “the modern Japanese forensic practice has always been under the American influence since its inception” (p. 1). It is telling that Yukichi Fukuzawa’s Kaigiben (How to Hold a Conference, 1874) and Sadamasu Ōshima[i] and Aikoku Horiguchi’s Kagi Bempō (Rules on Holding an Effective Conference, 1874), which were among the first books on Western debate in Japan, were renditions of James N. McElligott’s the American Debater and Luther Cushing’s Rules of Proceeding and Debate in Deliberative Assemblies, respectively. At the same time, the British influence was equally, if not more, noticeable in those days. For example, Kenkichi Ōi’s Kaigi Shinan (Instructions for Conducting a Meeting, 1878) and Gendō Nishimura’s Seiyō Tōron Kihan (The Principles of Western Debate, 1881) were both partial translations of Frederic Rowton’s the Debater.

Efforts to introduce the American and British styles of debate to Japan continued to be made in the first decade of the 20th century when Seiji Noma, founder of the major publishing house Kodansha (then named Dainihon Yūbenkai [the Great Japanese Oratorical Society]), launched Yūben. Published in February 1910, its inaugural issue was immediately sold out; the subsequent issues were also widely read among students, intellectuals, and politicians (Tomasi, 2004, p. 147). Rōichi Okabe (1987) elaborates on the role the magazine played in stimulating public interest in Western-style oratory:

Every month it carried diverse articles on Western rhetorical theory and practice, many texts of speeches delivered by prominent Japanese, and translated texts of speeches of British and American orators. This monthly magazine was instrumental in nurturing the seed of Western rhetoric on Japanese soil at the turn of the century and in promulgating learning and knowledge of the Western world to the enlightenment-conscious people of the late Meiji and early Taisho era (1912-1926). (p. 37)

Although Okabe’s article is highly informative especially for non-Japanese readers, it is not without problems. One shortcoming is its failure to separate speech from debate. While it is true that “[t]he Yūben magazine, especially during its first six years of publication, was instrumental in introducing American public address to Japanese cross-nationally” (Okabe, 1987, p. 49), articles on debate were few and far between in its early issues. Hence it is not clear if and how much Yūben sought to promote debate activities in those days. Although Yūben carried out written debate competitions (daikenshō tōronkai) twice for a brief period of time, they were not actual debates but a selection of readers’ opinions for and against pre-announced topics such as strengthening Japan’s naval forces. Moreover, while Yūben had frequently organized or sponsored speech meetings and oratorical contests since 1914 (Tomasi, 2004, p. 147), it had not been until 1930 that it began to hold a debate event. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Argumentation In Bulgarian Political Virtual Forums And Social Networks

Abstract: This study examines specific features of the argumentation in virtual political forums and social networks. The subjects of research are political forums and Facebook groups as a part of the civil protests in Bulgaria over the period of two years (2012-2013). The main goal is investigation on arguments used by Bulgarian citizens in virtual dialogues, appropriateness and effectiveness of argumentation. The second goal includes survey of specific verbal, visual and multi-modal arguments used in the social networks.

Keywords: argumentation, visual and multi-modal arguments, political virtual forums, social networks

1. Introduction
The new Bulgarian state has reached 135 years of independent history and form of government since 1879. From 1945 to 1991 (during socialism) the form of government was a specific kind of republic (the People’s Republic of Bulgaria). The Constitution from July 1991 states that Bulgaria is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. The multi-party system was established after 45 years of socialist and totalitarian government. A transition towards a pluralistic and democratic society is taking place.

Bulgarian political communication plays a role in the civil society; it continues to be a function of the state institutions and political parties. Political and civil rhetoric practices and influence have immensely grown during the Bulgarian civil protests and demonstrations (1989, 1990, 1996–1997). Political communication has transformed since 2010 and Bulgarian citizens vow their demands in more definite forms combining direct, media and virtual channels. Bulgarian citizens largely use the Internet as a tool for increased social activities in the civil society. The participants in the protests in Bulgaria (2012–2013) use Facebook as an instrument of civic activity and acceleration of the protests. The protesters use Facebook as virtual tribune and Internet forums as virtual discussions where they raise topics and conduct dialogues.

2. Hypothesis and research questions
The hypothesis initiating the present search is that the argumentation in the Bulgarian political forums and social networks during the protests from 2010 to 2013 goes through different transformations as a result of technical, technological and social factors. In addition, the traditional kinds of arguments are transformed; virtual communication includes verbal, visual and multi-modal arguments and has achieved new forms of display. The manners and modes of presenting the ideas have changed as a result of the changes in the attitudes of the e-communicators and protesters. Bulgarian virtual civil communication has diverse forms of manifestation and characteristics.

The aim of the current study is to try to give answer the following research questions:
* What was the significance of virtual forums and social networks during the protests?
* Which are the main features of virtual forums?
* Which rhetorical figures, arguments and tools did the protesters use purposefully to convey their main messages, influence the public conscience of the citizens and mobilise them to support their ideas?
* How verbal, visual and multi-modal arguments create opportunities to persuade Bulgarians to participate more actively in the civil society events? Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2014 ~ Discourse, Argumentation And Constructivist Approaches: Analysing Discourses Of Social Change

Abstract: My research in recent years has focused on the analysis of discourse of social change as a type of ‘ideological construction’, using a holistic, interdisciplinary approach that combines: a) constructivist rhetoric and argumentation; b) the constructivist theories of Bateson, Goffman, Gumperz and Lakoff; and c) embodied social cognition studies. This article examines the concept of ideological construction in relation to data from the Spanish 15M movement.

Keywords: Constructivist rhetoric, Critical discourse analysis, Complexity studies, Discourses of social change, Embodied cognition, Ideological construction, Socio-cognitive frame, 15M.

1. Introduction
In recent decades, research in Critical Discourse Analysis (or CDA), particularly in Europe, has shown a growing interest in political discourse in globalized, democratic societies. This, in turn, has led to a broader definition of the term ‘political discourse’, used here in the wider sense of the varied discursive practices of political professionals, and the socio-political proposals for change generated by diverse social groups, described as ‘discourses of social change’ by Montesano Montessori & Morales-López (2014) and Morales-López (2012, 2014).

Discourses of social change are ideological speech acts that call for radical social and political reforms. They appeal, in the first instance, to the country’s citizens, in order to gain support for the speakers’ ideological position, but also to government, key state bodies and other international institutions, in an effort to have their proposals adopted as policy (Morales-López, 2012, 2014).

2. Theoretical framework and methodology
This study looks at discourses of social change from three different perspectives:
1. pragmatic-functionalist;
2. rhetorical-argumentative; and
3. socio-cognitive.[i]

This triple-perspective approach illustrates more effectively why the construction of meaning in ideological discourse is inseparable from the following key factors:
a. the deliberate selection of multi-modal communicative resources;
b. human action and the local and global contexts in which the communicative act takes place; and
c. the cognitive constructions of the actors themselves. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings ~ Argumentative Moves In An Inquisitive Context About Psychological Harassment In The Workplace: A Case Study In Québec

Abstract: We summarize a recently (2013) completed doctoral research, which analyzed and commented a series of interviews led by four public servants, the mission of which was to ascertain admissibility for further inquiry, of claims of psychological harassment on the workplace by complainants, in Québec province (Canada). We combine with Argumentation and Rhetoric tools and concepts a Conversation Analysis (CA) perspective, showing how meaning obtains in speech acts constructed in interaction.

Keywords: Interviews, psychological harassment, argumentation, conversation analysis, rhetoric, admissibility, speech acts

1. Introduction
This proposal looks at argumentative strategies between complainants and investigators around harassment issues at work. A recently (2013) completed doctoral research analyzed and commented, from an argumentative point of view, a very specific corpus: a series of four interviews, totalizing ten hours, led by four public servants, the mission of which was to ascertain a first recognition of validity for further inquiry, of claims of psychological harassment on the workplace by complainants, in Québec province (Canada). The interviews having taken place in 2006, using a convention taking back accepted notations. One interesting theoretical achievement done in the research is probably to combine a Conversation Analysis (CA) perspective, claiming that meaning obtains in speech acts constructed in interaction, with argumentative figures and cues taken in Aristotle, Perelman, Walton and Van Eemeren.

In the context of a doctoral research in philosophy (Ph.D.), we wanted to study specific discourses that certainly have a rhetorical dimension: claims of psychological harassment presented by plaintiffs and their treatment by investigators. Different conceptual and methodological tools have been used, which are coming from rhetoric, argumentation studies and also from Conversation Analysis (CA). The notions of logos, ethos and pathos were examined and used in the analysis of a corpus of scripts of taped argumentative exchanges, between complainants and investigators; details and conventions utilized are given below. We will start by providing the social and professional context of the study, recall briefly Aristotle’s notions, then look at Perelman’s notion of the audience’s adhesion, with some contributions of Van Eemeren and Walton; we will limit ourselves to specific elements of these theories here. Then the research method used, by reference to CA, will be explained briefly while we will be finishing with the presentation of a few examples illustrating our main results about the rhetorical effects of narrative accounts of psychological harassment in the context of specific investigative interactions.

2. Research context
Our research context was provided by a public organization, the Commission des normes du travail (CNT), which is a Labour Standards Commission having its jurisdiction in Québec, Canada. People who have suffered for different reasons at work, can file complaints in front of that organism for psychological harassment, the complaints are then treated by professionals. Since 2004, it is possible in Québec for a worker (blue or white collar) to file such a complaint, with the aims of putting an end to the problematic situation. The law that clarifies the recourse determines the nature of manifestations that can be associated with psychological harassment; the text refers to notions such as “A vexatious behaviour in the form of repeated conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures that are hostile or unwanted, that affect the employee’s dignity or psychological or physical integrity and make the work environment harmful”, (L.Q. 2002, c.80). This sentence includes a number of possible situations which resonates with workers who experience different forms of suffering in the workplace. These possible victims can then refer to CNT as a public office, even though the procedure will represent an enormous challenge for people who feel they were or still are being harassed at work. Read more

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