, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 489-512
Date: 18 Aug 2010

Comparing the Argumentum Model of Topics to Other Contemporary Approaches to Argument Schemes: The Procedural and Material Components

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the inferential configuration of arguments, generally referred to as argument scheme. After outlining our approach, denominated Argumentum Model of Topics (AMT, see Rigotti and Greco Morasso 2006, 2009; Rigotti 2006, 2008, 2009), we compare it to other modern and contemporary approaches, to eventually illustrate some advantages offered by it. In spite of the evident connection with the tradition of topics, emerging also from AMT’s denomination, its involvement in the contemporary dialogue on argument schemes should not be overlooked. The model builds in particular on the theoretical and methodological perspective of pragma-dialectics in its extended version, reconciling dialectic and rhetoric; nevertheless, it also takes into account numerous other contributions to the study of argument schemes. Aiming at a representation of argument schemes able to monitor the inferential cohesion and completeness of arguments, AMT focuses on two components of argument scheme that could be distinguished, readapting pragma-dialectical terms, as procedural and material respectively. The procedural component is based on the semantic-ontological structure, which generates the inferential connection from which the logical form of the argument is derived. The material component integrates into the argument scheme the implicit and explicit premises bound to the contextual common ground (Rigotti 2006). In this paper, the comparison of the AMT to other approaches focuses on the inferential configuration of arguments and not on the typologies of argument schemes and on the principles they are based on, which the authors intend to tackle in a further paper.