Rhetorical Structures, Deliberative Ecologies, and the Conditions for Democratic Argumentation

Argumentation:1-15 (forthcoming)

John Dewey’s belief in democratic deliberation rested on a “faith in the capacity of human beings for intelligent judgment and action if proper conditions are furnished”. The stipulation of “proper conditions” is an essential feature, then, of participatory democracy, and Dewey spent considerable time concerned with these conditions, especially in The Public and Its Problems. This essay argues that the structures and ecologies within which we live make certain kinds of argumentation possible or likely, and that when we alter those structures we alter the possibilities for argumentation. Democratic forms of argumentation are made possible by structures that promote collaborative communication practices. This means that practical, public argument is not just a matter of making valid claims, but also a matter of effective contexts that can improve the quality of argumentation.
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DOI 10.1007/s10503-019-09496-w
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