This of course confuses the descriptive and the

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Unformatted text preview: This, of course, confuses the descriptive and the normative roles of argumentation theory as well as supposing that we are perfectly clear on just what are the canons of good argument. Regardless of one¡s commitment to the \convince/persuade] duality, it is still important to comprehend the range of argument as used within the world, if only to subsequently assess and normatively categorize. In other words, we first require a taxonomy of actual (or used) arguments before we can decide which are ¢good¡ and subsequently begin to proselytize on their behalf. For the purposes of this discussion the term ¢rational¡, used to mean reasoned, linear, orderly, is overly narrow and restrictive. This is the sense intended in such admonitions as, \I'm not going to argue with you if you can't argue rationally.] But it should be noted that this slogan does not state that one is not arguing, rather that one is doing it, from the point of view of the speaker, in an undesirable manner. In other words, being a bad argument entails, at the least, falling into the category of argument. So, if one can fail to argue rationally, this presumably means that there are non-rational arguments even though the speaker does not like them. In this sense of the word, \rational] is often used as an honorific, and more importantly, as a way of negating and/or trivializing modes of argument not in keeping with one arguer's precepts. This sense requires the rational person to think in a certain, generally logical, way and adhere to standards of evidence, deduction and reasoning established by a tradition that is heavily scientific, rationalist, and male-dominated (vide Warren, 1988.) At the heart of the rational outlook is the essential role of language, and, more particularly, verbalization. Witness the following statement from van Eemeren & Grootendorst occurring on the first page of Speech Acts In Argumentative Discourse (1983): For the elimination of a difference of opinion it is important that the various points of view are stated as clearly as possible. As a rule this means that the persons concerned in the difference of opinion will somehow have to verbalize their standpoints. Is verbalization necessary to settle all differences of opinion? Is clarity of statement always beneficial, or might fuzziness be integral and even desirable in certain sorts of arguments or in arguments between certain sorts of people? 2 Presumably, when involved in intellectual discourse of the sort that occurs in a university (and a large variety of other venues) such an approach is warranted, or, at least, expected. But in at least as many other contexts devotion to verbalized linearity might be inappropriate or even wrong. I claim that in many situations ego, physicality and intuition play roles that are integral to the communicative and argumentative situation, and that to slough these off as peripheral or, worse, fallacious, is both unwarranted and 2 C l e a r l y a r g u m e n t s c a n proceed non-verbally, cf. Willard (1989, 96 ff.). The question is whether we must be able to verbalize them on demand. M.A. GILBERT M....
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This of course confuses the descriptive and the normative...

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