ISSA Proceedings 1998 – The Guggenheim: A Rhetorical Turn In Architecture

ISSAlogo19981. Introduction
This essay represents a preliminary report on ongoing conversations between Michael Lorimer and myself over the connections between architecture and rhetoric. Michael not only teaches architecture but he is also a practicing architect. He has designed churches, hospitals, homes and office buildings, and added an extension to the local art museum. In order to indicate the tenor of our exchanges, let me offer a transcript of a recent dialogue we had at Michael’s home over a cup of tea.
“There is for me,” I began, “a profound difference between structures designed for religious organizations and those designed for domestic or commercial purposes. Commercial buildings find their foundations in the bottom line, while Catholic and Protestant Churches as well as Taoist and Buddhist temples, by way of contrast, have as one of their purposes the inspiration and instruction of the faithful. We recognize this difference in our experience of sacred in contrast to secular space.”
Ponderous, I admit, but it reflected my honest experience and a modest amount of thinking on the subject. Michael is a good listener, but he had an odd look on his face. When I had finished, he leaned back from the table and, without even a hint of irony, responded. “There is,” he said, no real difference, from an architectural point of view, between secular and religious structures. Both take as their goal the manipulation of people. What you refer to as “the sacred” and assume a difference in the response of those who enter such spaces has much to do with structure. Is the purpose to fill people with awe or to engender a sense of community? Is it to move them, in procession, from one point to another or to have them gather together as a family? A reverential attitude arises out of certain kinds of structures and is blunted by others. Your attitude about “sacred space” is evidence that the structure achieved its desired effect. He saw that I was puzzled, so he went on to explain this in architectural terms:
Department stores, churches, and casinos all try to divorce you from the outside. None of them has clear glass windows. Airports and fast-food restaurants, on the others hand, try to move you quickly from point A to point B, from inside the structure to outside the structure. Harsh lighting, uninviting colors, noise, a clear vision of the out-of-doors announces their purpose and accounts for the response, seemingly voluntary, of flyers and customers. This all made sense to me, but I asked him if he thought that reflected what architects he knew generally thought or how they are trained in the universities or if this represented his peculiar take on
the subject.

The above is a reasonably accurate transcription, as I took notes on it during and immediately after the exchange. I report it less because I think it conveys something profound, though it certainly did for me, but because it highlights a way of knowing that precedes recorded history and continues to inform the production, reading, and interpretation of books and articles. It is a way of knowing that operates in villages and towns, developed and developing countries, among the rich and poor, those who possess word processors and those who have never heard of them. I report it because academic writing, by its very nature conceals this process, substituting in its place a product, a text flattening out everything into soundless marks on a page or, in the case of this conference, represents presentations filled, one hopes, with lively exchanges afterward into a chapter in these “conference proceedings.”
It is important to mark this product-process confusion for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to avoid the silliness that comes from a gradual disengagement from the world of affairs into a quasi-monastic retreat into books, libraries, and web-sites. Leaving off this little polemic in favor of earthy, here and now dialogue, I return to the topic of the new Guggenheim, a rhetorical turn in architecture, and the degree to which Michael’s understanding of architects and architecture, which is remarkably friendly to rhetoric, is somehow representative. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 1998 – The Irony Of “Debate”: A Sociological Analysis On The Introduction Of ‘Debate’ Education In Japan

ISSAlogo1998Man kann gerade unter dem Schein der Ausmerzung aller prakitischen Wertungen ganz besonders stark, nach dem bekannten Schema: “die Tatsachen sprechen zu lassen”, suggestiv solche hervorrufen.
[Exactly under the pretence of effacing all practical value-judgements, in imitation of the well-known scheme “let facts speak”, one can call forth such value-judgements in a strongly suggestive way.] – Max Weber, 1917

1. Recent trends of “debate” education in Japan: Through the perspectives of sociology
The aim of this paper is to present an introductory analysis on the discourses used in “debate” education through the perspectives of sociology, especially in relation to two problematiques in Max Weber’s sociology. Particularly, I like to show that these sociological perspectives are necessary, to understand recent discourses surrounding the word “dibeito”, which appeared in the course of the introduction of “debate” education in Japan.
I would like to use the word “debate” education in a rather broad sense: I am assuming here; any teaching activity that claims to teach “debate” as its subject, no matter what the connotations of the word “debate” seems to be “mistaken” from an observer’s viewpoint. Thus, not only the discourses in school education but also, for example, the discourses appearing in “how-to debate” books for the businesspeople are the target of this study. Among such discourses on “debate” education, I’d like to show that, an “ironic” situation is appearing recently in Japan, which may be hardly imaginable from an optimistic viewpoint, believing the universal applicability and political neutrality of “debate” education.

1.1 The irony of “debate”?
Since the beginning of the 1990s, numerous books that have the word “dibeito” in their titles have been published in Japan. (At least 51 books in 7 years. See the table in section 2.1) The word “dibeito” is obviously taken from the English word “debate”, and it is written in katakana-letters, a phonetic letter-set which is often used to write down foreign names and “gairai-go” [imported words], imitating the pronunciation of the “original” language.
This publishing boom of books titled “dibeito” is itself an interesting phenomenon in many senses: Quite a lot of those “dibeito” books can be classified as “how-to-be-a-successful-businessperson” kind of handbooks, which assume Japanese office workers for readers. Those business handbooks were the majority in the 1980s. Then, from the mid-1990s, “dibeito” textbooks for teachers and students in the secondary education appeared in numbers. However, interesting as it is, the publishing trend itself is not the focus here.

We like to focus on the very fact that the word “dibeito” is used. If you look up the English word “debate” in an English-Japanese dictionary, you will find “touron” or “ronsou” as the corresponding Japanese words. Books published in the 1990s have the word “dibeito” much more than “touron” as their titles.
Among those books with “dibeito” in their titles, it needs no “scholarly” training to notice that not a few of them explicitly express political messages (in the narrowest sense that can even be called “nationalistic” messages) even in their titles. Let me give a few examples translated in English: “Invasion or self defense?: White-hot dibeito on Dai-toa-senso [Great East-Asian War]” (Fujioka 1997b).[i] “To dibeito on Nippon [Japan]: Challenging the taboos in Japan” (Kitaoka 1997b). “How to dibeito on South Korea: To refute to South Korea thoroughly” (Kitaoka 1996)
The author of the latter two books, Kitaoka is introduced as “an authority of dibeito as methodology” (Kitaoka 1997a, imprint) and has indeed published many books on “dibeito”. In the text of one of his book, the word “dibeito” is even more explicitly connected with a political message. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 1998 – Truth and Argument

ISSAlogo1998Truth is deeply complicit in argument wherever logic is, for independent of the purposes of different argument kinds, in so far as they use standard logic they are compelled by its underlying theory of truth. And the notions of truth underlying the two giant contributions in the history of logic: that of Aristotle, and that of the logicians preoccupied with the foundations of mathematics in the early twentieth century – show deep theoretical and even metaphysical assumptions that make them suspect as the underlying theory of a logic adequate to support the theory of argument as currently construed. That is, argument seen as the rational core of ordinary and specialized discourse of the widest variety of sorts. Such a theory of argument with a clear empirical and practical component cannot assume the usefulness of underlying images of logic drawn from rather different conceptions of how reason manifests itself in discourse.
First: as to the problems with the logical core James Herman Randall, in his classic exposition of Aristotle, offers a complex view of the relationship between truth, logic and inquiry. The to dioti – the why of things, connects apparent truths, the peri ho, with explanatory frameworks, through the archai of demonstration, that serve as ta prota, the first things – a true foundation for apparent truths. Although Aristotle was more ‘post modern’ then many of those that work in his tradition, the archai after all were subject matter specific, the envisioning of archai readily knowable if not known, reflected a classic and overarching optimism about knowledge. This enabled Aristotle to graft a determinate logic onto the various indeterminancies inherent in much of inquiry.
Logic is central in dialogue as well: to dialegesthai, the premise seeking activity that seeks to identify the appropriate archai of kinds of things. The theory of the syllogism, along with eristics, offers the basic tools of the logikos or dialectikos, one who thinks and questions.

When all works well, the result is the demonstrative syllogism, apodeixis which shows the necessity of a that, a hoti, in light of the dioti, the cause, in relation to the archai. From whence the archai? Quoting Randall, by “”experience” of facts, by repeated observations, we become aware of the archai, the universal that is implicit in them.” Citing Aristotle: “When the observation of instances is often repeated, the universal that is there becomes plain” pp. 42-3. Such a crude inductivist epistemologically has little appeal to moderns  and offers little danger for modern views of inquiry, but Aristotle’s logic, remains within the normative core. That is perhaps even worse for understanding inquiry, for unlike the crude inductivism which is quickly seen as too crude, his logic has both necessity and inherent plausibility. The result: the basic truth structure of his logic has been built into the normative structure of reasoning from his time till now.
The problem is how to distinguish the archai from among endoxa, the merely accepted opinions prevalent at the time. Again Randall “It is nous, working with and in the midst of facts, working in the subject matter itself, that ”sees” the truth of the archai“ p. 44. Not in Platonic isolation, to be sure, but in the context of subject matter. But still, this noetic ‘recognizing’ shares with Plato’s view a phenomenological (Randall calls it ‘psychological’ (ibid.)), rather than a logical account of what it means to come to see the truth of archai. Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 1998 – Emergent vs. Dogmatic Argumentation; Towards A Theory Of The Argumentative Process

ISSAlogo1998From the mid-70s onwards, in line with the “pragmaticization” of research into argumentation, scholars have felt an increasing need to turn their attention to the argumentative process. Simplifying a bit, it may be said that they worked with Toulmin’s layout, or with the topical tradition into which Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca had put new life; but they began to be interested in how arguers actually sorted out what was claim and data and how they hung together by an inference warrant, or how exactly a topical inference was based on reality or actually reorganized the structure of reality.
In a text as early as Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss’s introduction to logic En del elementære logiske emner – English version Communication and Argument -, first published in Norwegian in 1941, a point is made in favor of taking into account, not only the argumentative product, i.e., the “completed” layout or topical inference, but also the process of “completing” it. For Næss has it that the bulk of an argumentative encounter is not about argumentative support proper, but about being clear what an utterer meant when he used a certain expression. Næss introduces the four procedures of ‘specification,’ ‘precization,’ ‘generalization,’ and ‘deprecization’ by which arguers can be clearer about what exactly they want an expression to say.
Few approaches to argumentation have taken up this process-orientedness of Næss’s account, among them Frans van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst’s Pragma-Dialectics. Their meanwhile well-known and influential approach assumes that ideally a resolution-oriented discussion goes through four stages in each of which only certain resolution-furthering moves can be allowed. But furthermore, at every stage the discussants may perform speech acts specifying or precizating what they mean to say. However, these usage declaratives continue to be defined in the perspective of an argumentation that is successfully conducted to its fourth and concluding stage. That is to say, the argumentative process continues to be connected very closely to the product, i.e., the “completed” argumentation having successfully supported a standpoint which had been contested.

But, as van Eemeren & Grootendorst (1992 : chap. 1) themselves acknowledge, the connection of the process and the product of arguing in colloquial speech is not as systematic as the earlier version of their theory (1984) might suggest. What prima facie would seem to be irrelevant sidesteps or childish bickering may be revealed to have a determining influence on the outcome of the discussion (see Jacobs & Jackson 1992). A discussion about one contested standpoint may become more and more complex because clarification is needed as to some of the elements adduced in support of this standpoint (see Snoeck Henkemans 1992). That is to say, while the product of arguing is perhaps best analyzed as an inference complex that dialectically renders plausible a conclusion with the help of plausible premises, the communicative process of arguing deserves more attention as a particular kind of conversation and, therefore, is best analyzed, as are other kinds of conversation, as a step-by-step process extending in time and not necessarily being organized by a dialectical macrostructure.
This is possible with a joint dialectical and communicational reconstruction, prefigured by Normative Pragmatics as proposed by van Eemeren, Grootendorst, Jackson, & Jacobs (1993). In this framework, I shall give a different and more “communicational” interpretation to Næss’s four procedures. Thus, I will be able to reconstruct the argumentative process as a kind of communication organized, on the one hand, by a global dialectical goal and, on the other, step by step by local discursive moves. With Næss’s procedures of clarification in mind, I shall develop a tool for reconstruction starting from a model offered by Richard Hirsch in a different context. With this tool, it will be possible to show that the process of arguing is not always about the justification or refutation of a definable proposition on the background of presuppositions which are shared in principle, but very often about trying to match these presuppositions, these individual backgrounds, as best the arguers can, in order to overcome a problematic situation. In a sense, then, through the argumentative enterprise something individual becomes “inter-individual” or “intersubjective.” I shall show in this paper that this “intersubjectification” may work easily, may require considerable communicative co-operation, or may fail utterly – and this reflects whether or not at the outset the presuppositions of the arguers resembled each other closely. For obviously, an argumentation is more likely to succeed if the respective arguers’ unconstested starting points are quite similar and more likely to fail if they do not find enough common ground to start from (see, as to this, Willard’s (1983; 1989) theory of argumentative fields). Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 1998 – Encompassing And Enacting Dialectic: Kenneth Burke’s Theory Of Dramatism

ISSAlogo1998The work of American self-described “wordman”, Kenneth Burke, is having tremendous impact on rhetorical and literary theory and criticism, speech communication, sociology, and many other academic areas, including in some small ways argumentation.Despite this recent attention, particularly in the work of Arnie Madsen (1989, 1991, 1993) and James Klumpp (1993) as well as the recent special issue of Argumentation and Advocacy on “Dramatism and Argumentation” (1993) and occasional argument criticisms which invoke Burkean perspectives, Burke’s work still remains relatively unknown to many argumentation scholars, and potential contributions of Burkean theory to argumentation studies remain to be developed fully. Moreover, as Madsen (1993) observed, “the works of Kenneth Burke have gone relatively unnoticed in the field of argumentation theory” (164). And although it is certainly true that “Burke offers no systematic and complete theory of argument” (Parson, 1993, 145), it is also nonetheless equally the case that Burke’s work on human symbol systems and motives, summarized as his theory of “dramatism,” encompasses the traditional domains of rhetoric, poetic, and dialectic, thereby at least by most traditional accounts encompassing as well argumentation (See van Eemeren, Grootendorst, and Kruiger), subsuming, re-defining, and re-positioning “argument” within the orientation of “dramatism.”
The current study attempts to “locate” argumentation within Burke’s theoretical edifice, dramatism, and, more generally, to examine how “dramatism” transforms traditional approaches to “rationality.” As “rationality” is transformed, so too, necessarily, is argumentation. The specific objectives of this paper are per force more restricted. I will sketch, generally and broadly, dramatism’s encompassing argument move, with its attendent transformations of “rationality.” Second, and a bit more specifically, I will offer a description of Burke’s theory of dialectics, before concluding with some remarks suggesting how, via the agency of Burke’s “psychologized” rhetoric of identification, dialectic becomes enacted as what Burke calls the “great drama of human relations” (1955, 263).

Burke’s “Dramatism” is set forth broadly in his informal Motivorum Trilogy: A Grammar of Motives (1945), which treats generally of dialectics and transformational processes, A Rhetoric of Motives (1950), which treats of rhetoric as “consubstantial” with “identification,” and A Symbolic of Motives (unpublished), which treats of poetics and ethics variously (depending upon which design for the unfinished project is featured) from within the orientation of “dramatism.” A related manuscript, Poetics, Dramatistically Considered (unpublished), is a relatively complete treatment of precisely what the title promises; it may be a re-titled version of what began as A Symbolic.[i] Burke’s proposed “trilogy” of “a grammar,” which centered generally and paradoxically on dialectics, “a rhetoric,” and “a symbolic,” which subsumed both poetics and ethics, parallels in many ways classical formulations including the trivium,[ii] but Burke’s interests, lying at the intersection of language, psychology, and circumstance, focus concern on human motives rather than upon probable truth, “right” action, or divine telos. As such, “’finding’ a theory of argument, or positions that inform argument theory,” in Burke’s writings, Parson suggests, “will be an inferential process” (146; see also Madsen, 1993, 165). But given the sweeping nature of the Motivorum project, the process is not one of merely extending the domain of “dramatism,” a theory derived most explicitly from literary studies, to the domain of “argumentation,” for “dramatism” in subsuming and re-defining “dialectic” and “rhetoric” has already positioned itself atop much of the traditional “argument” domain. And in so-doing, it transformed the nature and function of argumentation itself. As Klumpp (1993) puts it, a “rapprochement” between mainstream argumentation studies and Burkean studies takes one more “toward adapting argumentation rather than dramatism” (149). One important reason for this is that frequently argumentation studies appears as a Phoenix arisen amid the detritus of formal logics, remaining under the sign of “Reason” and genuflecting instinctively toward Reason’s traditional consort, Truth. Burke’s orientation explicitly re-defines “rationality” and de-privileges, indeed de-stabilizes, truth. For a “rapprochement,” to borrow Klumpp’s terminology, to occur, “argumentation” needs to be approached from within the orientations of dramatism; that is, perhaps the most productive point of entry into a “conversation” between dramatism and argumentation is not “Where does dramatism ‘fit’ in argumentation?” but rather “Where does argumentation ‘fit’ in dramatism?” Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 1998 – Presumptive Reasoning And The Pragmatics Of Assent: The Case Of Argument Ad Ignorantiam

ISSAlogo19981. Three Theses
This paper focusses on three traditional distinctions commonly made by argumentation theorists. The distinctions generally correlate with one another and work together in picturing argumentation and framing puzzles about it. Not everyone holds all or any of them – maybe not even most. But the distinctions are invoked and alluded to often enough that we think it useful to challenge them directly.
First, there is a distinction to be drawn between justifying the truth or falsity of a proposition or claim and justifying acceptance or rejection of a proposition or claim. The truth or falsity of a proposition is a matter of independent reality. Acceptance or rejection of a proposition is a voluntary decision. Rational justification of acceptance or rejection is a matter of choice, a weighing of costs and benefits. Rational justification of truth or falsity is a matter of evidence, a balancing of facts. Justifying truth or falsity is a matter of proof; justifying acceptance or rejection is a matter of persuasion.
Second, a distinction should be maintained between arguments over propositions of fact and arguments about propositions of policy. It is a distinction closely related to the first in its rationale. It relies on such matters as the difference between description and evaluation, “is” and “ought”, reasons and motivations, epistemology and politics, epistemic reason and practical reason.
Third, a distinction should be maintained between demonstrative proof and plausible demonstration. The former kinds of arguments are associated with strong conclusions involving direct evidence, certainty, necessity, infallibility and the like. The latter kinds of arguments deal with a balance of considerations, presumptions, probabilities, and tentative conclusions.

One can, of course, maintain all these distinctions as conceptual distinctions, which is to say that these distinctions mean different things, they have different implications, and they participate in different systems of concepts and puzzles. But presumably these distinctions are more than just conceptual. Presumably they point to real differences in the way in which argumentation is conducted in different domains and help to explain real differences in our sense of the quality of those arguments.
Traditionally, at least, scientific research has been held up as a paragon of demonstrative proof concerning the truth and falsity of propositions of fact. Its procedures of inference are highly formalized through statistical analysis. Its research questions are answered on the basis of quantifiable facts that are scrupulously guarded from questions of value. Its empirical claims seem to be as directly demonstrated and as certain as one can get. If these distinctions hold up anywhere, they should hold up here. In fact, there are important ways in which these distinctions blur when we examine the logic of the statistical analysis upon which modern scientific research depends.

2. Statistical Reasoning as Plausible Reasoning
The core of statistical analysis in empirical research is the logic of hypothesis testing. Factual propositions that are derived from theory and predict empirical differences (research hypotheses) are tested against observed differences. The test occurs by setting the research hypothesis against a competing, default hypothesis – typically the null hypothesis that there are no real differences. Now, it isn’t news to anyone that the test of whether the observed differences best match the research or the null hypothesis is a matter of probabilistic inference. But it is worth noting that the logic of hypothesis testing is also a logic of presumptive reasoning. In fact, the statistical inference amounts to argumentum ad ignorantiam (cf. Walton, 1996a). Read more

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