, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 513-535

Toward an Alliance Between the Issue-Processing Approach and Pragma-Dialectical Analysis

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Abstract

On the approach to discussions of policy choices that treats such discussions as instances of issue-processing, the joint use of the logic of questions and the logic of rules gives precise formulation to two sorts of issues. To one sort of issue belong issue-circumscribing questions; to another sort, issues-simplicter, which consist of disjunctions of policy proposals – so many proposed social rules – that are answers, in the case of each disjunction, to a given issue-circumscribing question. Work in pragma-dialectics can take over the issue-processing approach; and by doing so add to the pragma-dialectical repertory further dimensions in the analysis of issues and in protocol-narratives of discussion. The analysis and narratives would now include accounts of how issue-circumscribing questions generate initial standpoints and how discussions sometimes end with compromises between standpoints. Further research questions follow about transformations of issues and the comparison of successive rounds of discussion. A narrative of one period of discussion during `the War on Drugs' in the United States illustrates these points.