Rhetorical Argument

  • James F. Klumpp
Part of the Argumentation Library book series (ARGA, volume 22)


This essay is intended to leave in its wake a coherent perspective on the study of rhetorical argument. The rhetorical influences on argumentation studies through the years are generally acknowledged, but just what rhetorical study is, where it originated, how it has evolved, and whether it is a coherent mode of study is problematic. So, this essay attempts to respond to these circumstances. The essay begins with an historical account of the relationship between rhetoric and argumentation. The roots of rhetorical argument are in classical rhetoric. But rhetoric itself has had an uneven history of importance in Western thought, important to the classical age, central to the medieval university, then diminished in importance until the late twentieth century. In that ebb and flow, rhetoric and argument were not always considered partners. The essay focuses on an account the recovery of rhetorical argument in the twentieth century. That recovery flourished within the context of two of the greatest intellectual movements in the twentieth century: the growth of analytic inquiry and the linguistic turn. Then, the essay turns to a brief survey of the rich variety of research in rhetorical argument at the dawn of the twenty-first century. The breadth of research that grows from the rhetorical argument tradition is so diffuse that the coherence is often lost. The essay attempts to weave the fabric in this variety. Finally, grounded in the historical roots and current practice of rhetorical argument, the essay distills the central characteristics that define the study of rhetorical argument.


Public Sphere Argumentation Theory Linguistic Turn Rhetorical Argument Argumentation Study 
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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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