Argumentation Schemes and Topical Relations.
Macagno, F. & Walton, D. (2014). Argumentation schemes and topical relations. In G. Gobber, and A. Rocci (eds.), Language, reason and education (pp. 185-216). Bern: Peter Lang
32 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2014
Date Written: October 23, 2014
One of the cornerstones of argumentation theory is the analysis of the structure of natural arguments. Dialectical and rhetorical arguments cannot be investigated by simply using the logical categories drawn from the formal meaning of quantifiers and connectors. While formal rules merely transfer the truth value of the propositions expressed by the premises to the one constituting the conclusion, natural arguments are characterized by the notion of acceptability. What argumentative reasoning conveys from the premises to the conclusion is not truth, but the hearer’s attitude towards the state of affairs or judgment expressed by a dialogue move. Introducing the individual in the analysis of reasoning makes the investigation of a relationship between formal structures inadequate, as it cannot capture the very purpose of argumentation, modifying attitudes and commitments. The subject matter of an argumentative analysis becomes the sequence of dialogical moves that the speaker performs in order to modify the other’s perception of reality. The ancient model of topics, which was introduced by Aristotle in his Topics and developed in the Latin and Medieval tradition, provided criteria based on the ontological structure of language for exploring the semantic-ontological boundaries of inference. This intuition, interpreted in coherence with the categories of modern linguistic and argumentative theories, was made by Rigotti the cornerstone of a new and revolutionary approach to argumentation. By setting out the connection between semantics and reasoning, the Argumentum Model of Topics provides the rules of reasonableness of an inference, and essentially links ontology, semantics, pragmatics and argumentation. The purpose of this paper is to show how this innovative proposal can be used for developing the theoretical model of argumentation schemes, which represent the structure of the prototypical patterns of natural arguments.
Keywords: Argumentation schemes, interpretation, pragmatics, reasoning, critical thinking
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