Acts of Arguing

A Rhetorical Model of Argument

By Christopher W. Tindale

Subjects: Philosophy Of Language, Comparative Religion, Communication, Argumentation Theory, Composition And Rhetoric Studies
Series: SUNY series in Logic and Language
Paperback : 9780791443880, 245 pages, November 1999
Hardcover : 9780791443873, 245 pages, November 1999

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Table of contents


Introduction: The Case for Rhetorical Argumentation


1. Models of Argumentation
2. Product, Procedure, and Process
3. Habermas's Challenge
4. The Case for the Rhetorical
5. Origins in the Rhetoric
6. Rhetorical Argument: Enthymeme
7. Rhetorical Argumentation
8. Contemporary Views
9. Outline of the Study


Chapter 1. Argument as Product: The Logical Perspective


1. 1 Formal Logic and the Classical Root
1. 2 The Toulmin Transition
1. 3 Informal Logic
1. 4 Problems of the Product-oriented Perspective
1. 5 Rhetoric and Logic


Chapter 2. Argumentation as Dialectical


2. 1 Outline of the Pragma-Dialectical Approach
2. 2 Misunderstandings and Qualifications
2. 3 Pragma-Dialectics and Fallacies
2. 4 Walton's Functional Account
2. 5 A Critical Evaluation
2. 6 Rhetorical Elements: Audiences, Readers, and Third Parties


Chapter 3. Contexts and Argument: An Introduction to the Rhetorical Perspective


3. 1 The New Rhetoric
3. 2 Emotion and Argumentation
3. 3 Context
3. 4 Audiences
3. 5 The Universal Audience


Chapter 4. Audiences and the Conditions for Adherence


4. 1 Perelman's Relativism
4. 2 Relevance and Cognitive Environments
4. 3 Acceptability
4. 4 Blair and Johnson's Community of Model Interlocutors
4. 5 The Universal Audience Again
4. 6 Preliminary Examples


Chapter 5. Case Studies in Rhetorical Argumentation


5. 1 Case A Clear Thinking on Shell Oil, Nigeria and the Death of Ken Saro-Wiwa


A. 1 Background and Locale
A. 2 Arguer and Audiences
A. 3 Mode of Expression
A. 4 Dialectical Obligations
A. 5 The Logical Structure
A. 6 The Reasonableness of the Argumentation


5. 2 Case B Personality, Testimony, and Holocaust Denial


B. 1 The Initial Text
B. 2 Harwood's Use of Ethotic Arguments
B. 3 Testimony in the Zundel Trial
B. 4 Ethos and the Law
B. 5 The Role of Ethotic Arguments


Chapter 6. Fallacy


6. 1 Problems with Fallacies
6. 2 Senses of "Fallacy"
6. 3 Fallacy as Bad Product
6. 4 Fallacy as Bad Procedure
6. 5 Fallacy as Bad Process
6. 6 Crosswhite's Perelmanian Account
6. 7 The "Act" of Fallacy


Chapter 7. Argumentation and the Critiques of Reason


7. 1 Common Concerns
7. 2 Argument, Persuasion, and Critique
7. 3 Femininity, Emotion, and the Body
7. 4 Nye's Logics
7. 5 Post critique Faces of Argument
7. 6 Differences, Gestures, and the Good


Conclusion: Summation and Prolepsis




Approaches recent innovations in argumentation theory from a primarily rhetorical perspective.


The revival of argumentation theory in the past few decades has focused on its logical and dialectical dimensions, with less attention paid to rhetorical features. This book explores and then redresses this imbalance. Tindale examines important logical and dialectical innovations in recent argumentation theory and shows that they depend implicitly upon rhetorical features of argument that have been suppressed in the account. This is illustrated using two extended case studies, one looking at Shell International's defense of its actions in Nigeria after the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the other exploring the uses of character-based argument and testimony in a Holocaust-denial text and legal trial.

In addition to the case studies, two chapters treat serious problems that plague current argumentation theory. The first concerns the nature of fallacy; the second concerns the ties between traditional argumentation and a model of rationality that has been seriously critiqued by feminist and postmodernist scholars. In both instances, the discussion indicates how a rhetorical approach to argumentation offers fresh insights and suggests responses to the questions raised.

Christopher W. Tindale is Professor of Philosophy at Trent University. He is the coauthor of Good Reasoning Matters: A Constructive Approach to Critical Thinking and is coeditor of Argumentation and Rhetoric.


"The importance of this book lies in Tindale's ability to synthesize existing insights—primarily those of Aristotle and Perelman, but many others as well—into a rhetorical theory of argumentation, all the while adding new elements which he has fashioned himself. What Tindale does is sketch, then elaborate a relatively comprehensive model of argument which is fundamentally rhetorical. And he does this well. "—Michael Wreen, Marquette University