, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 161–185 | Cite as

Argumentative Polylogues in a Dialectical Framework: A Methodological Inquiry

  • Marcin LewińskiEmail author
  • Mark Aakhus


In this paper, we closely examine the various ways in which a multi-party argumentative discussion—argumentative polylogue—can be analyzed in a dialectical framework. Our chief concern is that while multi-party and multi-position discussions are characteristic of a large class of argumentative activities, dialectical approaches would analyze and evaluate them in terms of dyadic exchanges between two parties: pro and con. Using as an example an academic committee arguing about the researcher of the year as well as other cases from argumentation literature, we scrutinize the advantages and pitfalls of applying a dialectical framework to polylogue analysis and evaluation. We recognize two basic dialectical methods: interpreting polylogues as exchanges between two main camps and splitting polylogues into a multitude of dual encounters. On the basis of this critical inquiry, we lay out an argument expressing the need for an improved polylogical model and propose its basic elements.


Argumentation design Deliberation Dialectics Dichotomization Multi-party discussion Polylogue 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ArgLab, Institute of Philosophy of Language (IFL)Universidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Laboratory for the Study of Applied Language Technology and Society (SALTS), School of Communication and InformationRutgers, The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

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