Giving Reasons pp 139-164 | Cite as

The Rhetorical Dimension of Argumentation

  • Lilian Bermejo-Luque
Part of the Argumentation Library book series (ARGA, volume 20)


This chapter deals with the rhetorical dimension of argumentation and the role that Rhetoric is to play for developing normative models shaping the concept of argumentative value.

In order to show the specifics of this proposal, I outline current strategies for dealing with the rhetorical within Argumentation Theory. This task is partly carried out by following the criticisms that C. Kock has raised against the three main theories of argumentation, namely, Johnson’s Informal Logic, van Eemeren and Houtlosser’s Pragma-dialectics and Tindale’s rhetorical approach. In Section 6.2, I analyze these theories’ conceptions of the rhetorical in the light of Kock’s criticisms. In turn, Kock’s assumption that there is a rhetorical type of argumentation will be portrayed as a fourth strategy for integrating Rhetoric within Argumentation Theory.

Then, throughout Sections 6.3 and 6.4, I develop a fifth strategy for incorporating a rhetorical perspective within our normative models. According to it, every piece of argumentation has to be analyzed and, more importantly, appraised from a rhetorical perspective.

The idea of including rhetorical conditions for determining the value of a piece of argumentation seems more akin to those approaches focusing on argumentation just as a persuasive device. Yet, the point of my defense of the role of the rhetorical within Argumentation Theory is that, even if we think of argumentation as a justificatory device, we must take into account its rhetorical properties in order to determine its value, i.e., in order to determine how well an act of arguing plays at showing a target claim to be correct. A proposal of adopting Grice’s Cooperative Principle as regulative is then developed.

Finally, in Section 6.5, I briefly deal with non-verbal argumentation. The reason to deal with this issue in this chapter is to provide an answer to a question that, in my view, is hanging in contemporary approaches to non-verbal argumentation, namely, the possibility of distinguishing argumentation from other types of persuasive devices. I provide a rationale for saying in which cases certain persuasive devices could not count as argumentation, whether good or bad, despite their rhetorical power to induce beliefs.


Argumentation Theory Strategic Maneuvering Rhetorical Device Cooperative Principle Rhetorical Argumentation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Ciencias Humanas y, Sociales CCHS-CSIC, Instituto de FilosofíaMadridSpain

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