Seizing the Occasion: Parameters for Analysing Ways of Strategic Manoeuvring

  • Frans H. van Eemeren
  • Peter Houtlosser
Part of the Argumentation Library book series (ARGA, volume 14)

People who are engaged in argumentative discourse are characteristically not only out to conclude their differences of opinion their way but also oriented towards reaching this conclusion in a reasonable way: they may be regarded to be committed to norms that are instrumental in maintaining critical standards of reasonableness and to hold others committed to the same standards. This means in practice that, while being out for the optimal rhetorical result, they may at the same time be presumed to hold at every stage of the discourse to the dialectical objective of the stage concerned. In their efforts to reconcile the simultaneous pursuit of these dialectical and rhetorical objectives, and to reduce any potential tension between them, they make use of what we have termed strategic manoeuvring (van Eemeren & Houtlosser, 2002). This strategic manoeuvring takes place by exploiting concurrently the available topical potential, the opportunities for framing the addressee’s perspective and the presentational possibilities. Every move made in argumentative discourse involves strategic manoeuvring and it is dependent on various factors which strategic function a certain move can have. Analysing the strategic function of a particular way of manoeuvring therefore requires insight into the parameters that determine the strategic function a particular move may have at the point in the discourse where it is made.


Logical Minimum Argumentative Discourse Strategic Manoeuvring Analytic Overview Complex Premise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Houtlosser, P. (2006). De verzwegen argument-regel: Strategisch manoeuvreren met verzwegen argumenten [The unexpressed premise rule: Strategic manoeuvring with unexpressed premises]. In B. Garssen & A. F. Snoeck Henkemans (Eds.), De Redelijkheid Zelve. Tien Pragma-Dialectische Opstellen voor Frans Van Eemeren [Reasonableness in person. Ten pragma-dialectical essays for Frans van Eemeren] (pp. 63–81). Amsterdam: Rozenberg.Google Scholar
  2. Musil, R. (1979). The Man without Qualities (E. Wilkins & E. Kaiser, Trans.). London: Pan (Translation of Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, Berlin: Rohwolt, 1930–1933.).Google Scholar
  3. van Eemeren, F. H., & Grootendorst, R. (1992). Argumentation, Communication, and Fallacies: A Pragma-Dialectical Perspective. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  4. van Eemeren, F.H., & Grootendorst, R. (2004). A Systematic Theory of Argumentation: The Pragma-Dialectical Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. van Eemeren, F. H., & Houtlosser, P. (2002). Strategic manoeuvering: Maintaining a delicate balance. In F. H. van Eemeren & P. Houtlosser (Eds.), Dialectic and Rhetoric: The Warp and Woof of Argumentation Analysis (pp. 131–159). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  6. van Eemeren, F. H., & Houtlosser, P. (2005). Theoretical construction and argumentative reality: An analytic model of critical discussion and conventionalised types of argumentative activity. In D. Hitchcock & D. Farr (Eds.), The Uses of Argument: Proceedings of a Conference at McMaster University, 18–21 May 2005 (pp. 75–84). Hamilton: Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation.Google Scholar
  7. van Eemeren, F. H., Houtlosser, P., & Snoeck Henkemans, A. F. (2007). Argumentative Indicators in Discourse: A Pragma-Dialectical Study. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frans H. van Eemeren
  • Peter Houtlosser

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations