Modeling the Protagonist: The Strategic Use of Discourse Voices [Book Review]

Argumentation 24 (4):475-487 (2010)
An argumentative text can be reconstructed as an argumentative discussion between a protagonist and an antagonist. However, such a text is usually not a literal report of a discussion. It is the author of the text who determines how issues are presented, how claims are modeled, how the development of the discussion is presented. Especially when a text has embedded discourse voices that can fulfill the roles of protagonist or antagonist, the author of the text can strongly suggest a specific assignment, suppressing alternatives. In this article examples are presented that show how an author exploits linguistic means—a strategic choice of causal connectives—to suggest a specific reconstruction. The question is raised whether a derailment of this behavior of the author should be characterized as committing the fallacy of the straw man.
Keywords Dialectical discussion  Protagonist  Causality  Subjectivity  Rhetorical strategy
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