A theory of argumentation by Charles Arthur Willard

By Charles Arthur Willard

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But CSI does not stand alone in what follows. It is one element of a theory that favors no single metaphor. The language of games Page 17 is appropriate to some cases; theatrical or ritual metaphors are appropriate to others; and text analogies are appropriate to still others. CSI grounds the study of action on the fact of human association. People and the collectivities in which they organize their activities are inseparable, for communities exist in and through the communication practices of their members.

In weighing our theory's possibilities, we may augment the broader argumentation discourse. If this theory is too ambitious or imprecise it may add to the discipline's stock of cautionary talesthe most likely moral being that spacious definitions of argument are too fuzzy. Lest this sound too Popperian, I do not think that the success and failure of theories is ever so clear-cut that we can expect unambiguous falsifications. Falsified hypotheses do not an abandoned paradigm make. Boredom beggars more theories than refutation.

Chapter 3 extends the picture by considering argument as an emergent social reality. Chapter 4 considers the modes of communication we might take to be relevant to argument. Chapter 5 weighs the epistemic effects that may plausibly be attributed to arguments. And Chapter 6 defends the claim that ethos is an inseparable part of the logic of assent. Constructivism and interactionism, merged as they are here, place a premium on interaction, messages, and the communicative practices underlying both.

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