, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 331–348 | Cite as

Argument as Cognition: A Putnamian Criticism of Dale Hample’s Cognitive Conception of Argument

  • Louise Cummings


The study of argument has never before been so wide-ranging. The evidence for this claim is to be found in a growing number of different conceptions of argument, each of which purports to describe some component of argument that is effectively over-looked by other conceptions of this notion. Just this same sense that a vital component of argument is being overlooked by current conceptions of this notion is what motivates Dale Hample to pursue a specifically cognitive conception of argument. However, Hample’s contribution to the study of argument extends beyond his development of a view of argument as cognition. For Hample is reflective on the interrelationship of his cognitive conception of argument to two other views of argument within which most conceptions of this notion may be taken to fall, the traditional view of argument as a “textual product“ and the view of argument as a social phenomenon. I will argue, however, that what starts out as a well-intentioned aim on the part of Hample to pursue a comprehensive analysis of the notion of argument ends in the circumscription of this concept through Hample ‘s denial of the primacy of argument. I will also argue that a circumscribed concept of argument is an unintelligible concept of argument. The context of my claims will be a similar charge of unintelligibility by Hilary Putnam against a logical positivistic conception of rationality.

argument argument primacy/priority completeness Dale Hample Hilary Putnam logical positivism metaphysical standpoint rationality scientific theorising unintelligibility 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bartlett, F.C.: 1932,Remembering:A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology, University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  2. Bransford, J.D., J.R. Barclay and J.J. Franks: 1972, “sentence Memory:A Constructive versus Interpretive Approach”, Cognitive Psychology 3, 193-209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brewer, W.F.: 1977, “Memory for the Pragmatic Implications of Sentences”,Memory and Cognition 5, 673 -678.Google Scholar
  4. Brockriede, W.: 1975, “Where is Argument?”,Journal of the American Forensic Association 9, 179 -182.Google Scholar
  5. Ceraso, J. and A. Provitera: 1971, “sources of Error in Syllogistic Reasoning”,Cognitive Psychology 2, 400 -410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Christiaansen, R.E.: 1980, “Prose Memory:Forgetting Rates for Memory Codes”, Journal of Experimental Psychology:Human Learning and Memory 6, 611 -619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Copi, I.M. and C. Cohen: 1990,Introduction to Logic, 8th ed., Macmillan, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Cronen, V.E. and N. Mihevc: 1972,“The Evaluation of Deductive Argument:A Process Analysis”, Speech Monographs 39, 124 -131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fillenbaum, S.: 1966, “Memory for Gist:Some Relevant Variables”, Language and Speech 9, 217 -227.Google Scholar
  10. Franks, J.J. and J.D. Bransford: 1972, “The Acquisition of Abstract Ideas”, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 11, 311 -315.Google Scholar
  11. Geis, M.L. and A.M. Zwicky: 1971, “On Invited Inferences”, Linguistic Inquiry 2, 561 -566.Google Scholar
  12. Hample, D.: 1982, “Dual Coding,Reasoning and Fallacies”, Journal of the American Forensic Association 19, 59 -78.Google Scholar
  13. Hample, D.: 1985, “A Third Perspective on Argument”, Philosophy and Rhetoric 18(1), 1 -22.Google Scholar
  14. Hample, D.: 1988, “Argument:Public and Private,Social and Cognitive”, Journal of the American Forensic Association 25, 13 -19.Google Scholar
  15. Harris, R.J.: 1979, “Memory for Metaphors”, Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 8, 61 -71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harris, R.J. and G.E. Monaco: 1978,“Psychology of Pragmatic Implication:Information Processing Between the Lines”, Journal of Experimental Psychology:General 107, 1 -22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Haviland, S.E. and H.H. Clark: 1974, “What’s New?Acquiring New Information as a Process in Comprehension”,Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 13, 512 -521.Google Scholar
  18. Henle, M.: 1962, “On the Relation Between Logic and Thinking”, Psychological Review 69, 366 -378.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Henle, M.: 1978, “Forward”, in R. Revlin and R.E. Mayer (eds.), Human Reasoning, Winston, Washington.Google Scholar
  20. Jackson, S. and S. Jacobs: 1980, “structure of Conversational Argument:Pragmatic Bases for the Enthymeme”, Quarterly Journal of Speech 66, 251 -265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Johnson, M.K., J.D. Bransford and S.K. Solomon: 1973, “Memory for Tacit Implications of Sentences”, Journal of Experimental Psychology 98, 203 -205.Google Scholar
  22. Keenan, J.M. and W. Kintsch: 1974, “The Identification of Explicitly and Implicitly Presented Information”, in W. Kintsch (ed.), The Representation of Meaning in Memory, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.Google Scholar
  23. Marschark, M. and A. Paivio: 1977, “Integrative Processing of Concrete and Abstract Sentences”, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 16, 217 -231.Google Scholar
  24. Myerson, G.: 1994, Rhetoric,Reason and Society:Rationality as Dialogue, SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  25. O’ Keefe, D.J.: 1977, “Two Concepts of Argument”, Journal of the American Forensic Association 13(3), 121 -128.Google Scholar
  26. Paivio, A.: 1971, Imagery and Verbal Processes, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York.Google Scholar
  27. Putnam, H.: 1981, Reason,Truth and History, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Putnam, H.: 1994, Words and Life, edited by James Conant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  29. Schustack, M.W. and R.J. Sternberg: 1981, “Evaluation of Evidence in Causal Inference”, Journal of Experimental Psychology:General 110, 101 -120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Scribner, S.: 1975, “Recall of Classical Syllogisms:A Cross-Cultural Investigation of Error on Logical Problems”, in R.J. Falmagne (ed.), Reasoning:Representation and Process in Children and Adults, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.Google Scholar
  31. Werner, H. and B. Kaplan: 1963, Symbol Formation:An Organismic-Developmental Approach to Language and the Expression of Thought, J. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louise Cummings
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English and Media StudiesNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamEngland, UK

Personalised recommendations