Multi-modal argumentation

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 24 (2):159-177 (1994)
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The main stream of formal and informal logic as well as more recent work in discourse analysis provides a way of understanding certain arguments that particularly lend themselves to rational analysis. I argue, however, that these, and allied modes of analysis, be seen as heuristic models and not as the only proper mode of argument. This article introduces three other modes of argumen tation that emphasize distinct aspects of human communication, but that, at the same time, must be considered for the full understanding of argumentation. These modes are (1) the emotional, which relates to the realm of feelings, (2) the visceral, which stems from the area of the physical, and (3) the kisceral, which covers the intuitive and non-sensory arenas. At its most extreme the view holds that arguments may be given (almost) wholly within one mode and not be at all susceptible to those methods of argument analysis previously used. A more cautious statement allows that any interactive argument will (possibly) contain elements from various modes, and that to attempt to reduce these all to the rational is prejudiced reductionism



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Michael A. Gilbert
York University

References found in this work

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The New Rhetoric.Charles Perelman & L. Olbrechts-Tyteca - 1957 - Philosophy Today 1 (1):4-10.
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