Sometimes granted a non-verbal communication can be

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Unformatted text preview: Sometimes, granted, a non-verbal communication can be more or less directly translated into a verbal parallel. A shrug, for instance, may clearly translate to an "I don't know." (Though it too might be ambiguous.) However, in this example, much more is being communicated, and what is being communicated is highly relevant to the argument considered as a whole. The kind of information presented may defy direct translation, but that does not mean it is not an argu- mentative move. Indeed, there is nothing that guarantees the transparency of linguistic utter- ances ¡ we constantly misunderstand and misinterpret each other ¡ so why should such a demand be made for non-linguistic expressions? This issue, the translatability of non-verbal communications, is important. Presumably, if John¡s communication could be translated into linguistic terms, and related to a claim or a premiss currently in or relevant to the argument, then there would be no quarrel that the communication was indeed an argument. In other words, if we can force the communication into a CRC format, then it is acceptable to call it an argument. Unfortunately, translations of this nature are notoriously difficult. We cannot imagine such a translation without carefully referring to the context of the argument and, perhaps, the personal and social histories of the arguers. But this is exactly the point ¡ we understand the communication as a part of an interactive argument, as a component argument of a larger argumentative context. Any translation we might make for descriptive or discursive purposes will rely on our understanding of the entire argumentative context, and not just on a simple analysis of an individual item. Alternatively, one might not say that¡s John¡s move is not an argumentative move, but that it ought not be an argumentative move. (Burleson (1981) might be expected to say this.) But the fact is that Mary must deal with John's upset, that it may well direct her next move, and John's response does provide her with potentially valuable information about both his position and himself. Moreover, if we say that John's show of emotion is fallacious then we recognize it as a component of an argument: insofar as fallacies are incorrect or improper argument moves, they are, ipso facto , argument moves. Wanting to investigate alternate modes, does not imply that there is something wrong with the logical mode. It is a basic, clear and valuable mode of argumentation vital to academic and commercial enterprise. Given that most argumentation scholars are highly trained in the logical mode and value it above all others it is hardly surprising that it is pre-eminent. Most of the arguments one finds in the world, however, do not, in fact, follow a purely logical model, but rather, I suggest, involve various modes at various times....
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Sometimes granted a non-verbal communication can be more or...

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