Skip to main content

Standing Standpoints and Argumentative Associates: What is at Stake in a Public Political Argument?

Abstract

In today’s ‘networked’ public sphere, arguers are faced with countless controversies roaming out there. Knowing what is at stake at any point in time, and keeping under control the contribution one’s arguments make to the different interrelated issues requires careful craft (e.g. Mohammed and Zarefsky, in Feteris, Garssen and Snoeck Henkemans (eds) Keeping in touch with Pragma-Dialectics. In honor of Frans H. van Eemeren. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 2011). In this paper, I explore the difficulty of determining what is at stake at any moment of the argumentative situation and explore the challenge that that creates for examining the strategic shape of arguments. I argue that a meaningful examination of networked argumentative encounters requires that the boundaries of an encounter remain ‘fluid. In dealing with the fluid boundaries, I suggest to identify “argumentative associates” and “standing standpoints”.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. Interestingly, Obama’s choice ended up playing against him in relation to yet another issue, namely his competence in tackling terrorist (issue iv). His refusal to use the term has been taken as a sign that he is ‘soft on terrorism’, costing him a significant deal, domestically among those who would have liked to see tougher policies.

  2. See the Atlantic (2017) for a “brief history of Trump's Feud with Sadiq Khan.

  3. This was another case of a taking the Mayor’s words out of context. In his statement, Khan had said that “its part and parcel of living in a great global city you’ve got to be prepared for these things, you’ve got to be vigilant, you’ve got to support the police doing an incredibly hard job”. While the Mayor’s point was that being prepared for terrorism is necessary as ‘part and parcel’ of living in a big city, the distortion alleges surrender and acceptance of terrorism in itself as ‘part and parcel’ of living in a big city.

References

  • Aakhus, M. 2002. Modeling reconstruction in groupware technology. In Advances in pragma-dialectics, ed. F. van Eemeren, 121–126. Newport News: Vale Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aakhus, M., and M. Lewiński. 2017. Advancing polylogical analysis of large-scale argumentation: Disagreement management in the fracking controversy. Argumentation 31(1): 179–207.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Atlantic. 2017. A brief history of of Trump’s Feud With Sadiq Khan. Retrieved on 30 September 2017 from https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/khan-trump/529191/ .

  • Benkler, Y. 2006. The wealth of networks. How social production transforms markets and freedom. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • CNN. 2016. Obama: Why I won’t say ‘Islamic terrorism’. Retrieved on 30 September 2017 from http://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/09/29/president-obama-town-hall-radical-islam-sot.cnn.

  • Fairclough, I., and N. Fairclough. 2012. Political discourse analysis: A method for advanced students. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freeman, J.B. 1991. Dialectics and the macrostructure of argument: A theory of structure. Berlin: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Goodnight, G.T. 2010. The metapolitics of the 2002 Iraq debate: Public policy and the network imaginary. Rhetoric and Public Affairs 13: 65–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goodwin, J. 2002. Designing issues. In Dialectic and rhetoric. Argumentation library, vol. 6, ed. F.H. Van Eemeren and P. Houtlosser. Dordrecht: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hamblin, C.L. 1970. Fallacies. London: Methuen—Elsevier.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jackson, S. 1992. “Virtual Standpoints” and the pragmatics of conversational argument. In Argumentation illuminated 1, ed. F.H. van Eemeren and R. Grootendorst, 260–269. Amsterdam: Sic Sat.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jackson, S., and S. Jacobs. 1980. Structure of conversational argument: Pragmatic bases for the enthymeme. Quarterly Journal of Speech 66(3): 251–265. https://doi.org/10.1080/00335638009383524.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jacobs, S., and S. Jackson. 1989. Building a model of conversational argument. In Rethinking communication, vol. 2, ed. B. Dervin, L. Grossberg, B.J. O’Keefe, and E.A. Wartella, 153–171. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaiser, J., B. Fähnrich, M. Rhomberg, and P. Filzmaier. 2017. What happened to the public sphere? The networked public sphere and public opinion formation. In Handbook of cyber-development, cyber-democracy, and cyber-defense, ed. E. Carayannis, D. Campbell, and M. Efthymiopoulos. Cham: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Le Monde. 2018. « Nous défendons une liberté d’importuner, indispensable à la liberté sexuelle » . Retrieved from https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/01/09/nous-defendons-une-liberte-d-importuner-indispensable-a-la-liberte-sexuelle_5239134_3232.html.

  • Lewiński, M. 2014. Argumentative polylogues: Beyond dialectical understanding of fallacies. Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 36(1): 193–218.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lewiński, M., and D. Mohammed. 2015. Tweeting the Arab spring: Argumentative polylogues in digital media. In Disturbing argument: Selected works from the 18th NCA/AFA Alta Conference on Argumentation, ed. C. Palczewski, 291–297. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mohammed, D. 2013. Pursuing multiple goals in European Parliamentary debates: EU immigration policies as a case in point. Journal of Argumentation in Context 2(1): 47–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mohammed, D. 2016a. Goals in argumentation: A proposal for the analysis and evaluation of public political arguments. Argumentation 30: 221–245. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-015-9370-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mohammed, D. (2016b). Not just rational, but also reasonable: Critical testing in the service of external purposes of public political arguments. In Argumentation and reasoned action: Proceedings of the 1st European conference on argumentation, Lisbon, 2015, ed. D. Mohammed and M. Lewiński, vol. I, pp. 499–514. London: College Publications.

  • Mohammed, D. 2016c. “It is true that security and Schengen go hand in hand”. Strategic manoeuvring in the multi-layered activity type of European Parliamentary debates. In Dialogues in argumentation, ed. R. von Borg, 232. Windsor: Windsor Studies in Argumentation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mohammed, D. 2018. Argumentation in Prime Minister’s Question Time. Accusations of inconsistency in response to criticism. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Mohammed, D., and D. Zarefsky. 2011. Pragma-dialectical analysis of rhetorical texts: The case of Barack Obama in Cairo. In Keeping in touch with Pragma-Dialectics. In honor of Frans H. van Eemeren, ed. E.T. Feteris, B. Garssen, and F. Snoeck Henkemans, 89–102. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Pfister, D.S. 2014. Networked media, networked Rhetorics—Attention and deliberation in the early blogosphere. ‎University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Searle, J. 1995. The construction of social reality. New York: The Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Snoeck Henkemans, A.F. 1992. Analysing complex argumentation: The reconstruction of multiple and coordinatively compound argumentation in a critical discussion. Amsterdam: Sic Sat.

    Google Scholar 

  • The Independent, 2017a. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby: London attack link to Islam as Christians killing Muslims is linked to Christianity. Retrieved on 30 September 2017 from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/archbishop-canterbury-justin-welby-london-attack-islam-twisted-misused-muslim-faith-a7772916.html.

  • The Independent, 2017b. Donald Trump hits out at Sadiq Khan and ‘political correctness’ after London Bridge terror attack. Retrieved on 30 September 2017 from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/donald-trump-london-bridge-terror-attack-sadiq-khan-muslim-political-correspondent-islam-isis-a7771966.html.

  • Thomas, S.N. 1973. Practical reasoning in natural language. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tindale, C.W. 2004. Rhetorical argumentation: Principles of theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tindale, C.W. 2015. The philosophy of argument and audience reception. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • van Eemeren, F.H. 2010. Strategic maneuvering in argumentative discourse, extending the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • van Eemeren, F.H., and R. Grootendorst. 1992. Argumentation, communication, and fallacies: A pragma-dialectical perspective. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • van Eemeren, F.H., R. Grootendorst, and A.F. Snoeck Henkemans. 2002. Argumentation: Analysis, evaluation, presentation. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • van Eemeren, F.H., and P. Houtlosser. 1999. Strategic manoeuvring in argumentative discourse. Discourse Studies 1(4): 479–497.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • van Eemeren, F.H., P. Houtlosser, and A.F. Snoeck Henkemans. 2007. Argumentative indicators in discourse: A pragma-dialectical study. Dordrecht: Springer.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Walton, D.N., and E.C.W. Krabbe. 1995. Commitment in dialogue: Basic concepts of interpersonal reasoning. New York: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Welby, J. (2016). Archbishop Justin Welby on ‘the common good and a shared vision for the next century’. Retrieved on 30 September 2017 from http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5809/archbishop-justin-welby-on-the-common-good-and-a-shared-vision-for-the-next-century.

  • White House, 2014. President Obama: “We will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL”. Retrieved on 30 September 2017 from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2014/09/10/president-obama-we-will-degrade-and-ultimately-destroy-isil.

  • White House, 2016. Remarks by the President after counter-ISIL meeting. Retrieved on 30 September 2017 from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/06/14/remarks-president-after-counter-isil-meeting.

  • Zarefsky, D. 2008. Strategic maneuvering in political argumentation. Argumentation 22: 317–330.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

I thank Mark Aakhus, the participants of the regular ArgLab research colloquium of the NOVA Institute of Philosophy, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback on an earlier version of this paper. This research has been supported by funds from the Institute of Philosophy at the FCSH NOVA, Universidade Nove de Lisboa as well as from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) grant PTDC/MHC-FIL/0521/2014.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dima Mohammed.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mohammed, D. Standing Standpoints and Argumentative Associates: What is at Stake in a Public Political Argument?. Argumentation 33, 307–322 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-018-9473-y

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-018-9473-y

Keywords

  • Argumentative associate
  • Argumentative potential
  • Commitments
  • Multiple issues
  • Public arguments
  • Standing standpoint
  • Strategic manoeuvring