Argumentation as an Object of Interest and as a Social and Cultural Resource

  • Eddo Rigotti
  • Sara Greco Morasso


The development of argumentation theories in the contemporary epistemological space is shortly outlined and the pragma-dialectical approach is, in particular, considered for its focus on the theoretical kernel of the discipline and for systematically eliciting, from this, the connected methodological implications. The key notion of argument is specified by comparing it to the apparently near notion of demonstrative proof. Analogies (discursiveness, inferentiality, procedurality, critical approach) and differences (things that could also be in a different way, pragmaticity, use of ordinary language, implicitness) are brought to light, and the rather fuzzy but challenging and fundamental notion of reasonableness is identified as denoting the main value at stake in argumentative interactions. The authors propose a model of argumentative intervention in which argumentation is conceived as a particular type of communicative interaction. The model aims both at producing and at analyzing/evaluating argumentative interventions. Three core aspects of the argumentative intervention are highlighted in the model: the social context of communicative interaction, both in its institutionalized and in its interpersonal components, which is seen as the environment of argumentative activities; the inferential structure of argumentation, in its dialectical and relational components; and the quality of argumentation (distinguishing sound and manipulative argumentative moves). The ­fundamental claim is that assuring the quality of argumentation implies ­contributing to a healthy social consensus and promoting cultural development, at the individual and collective levels.


Argumentation Reasonableness Argumentation studies Argument schemes Loci Argumentum Model of Topics Manipulative processess 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LuganoLuganoSwitzerland

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