Monologue, dilogue or polylogue: Which model for public deliberation?


“Reasonable hostility” is a norm of communicative conduct initially developed by studying public exchanges in education governance meetings in local U.S. communities. In this paper I consider the norm’s usefulness for and applicability to a U.S. state-level public hearing about a bill to legalize civil unions. Following an explication of reasonable hostility and grounded practical theory, the approach to inquiry that guides my work, I describe Hawaii’s 2009, 18-hour public hearing and analyze selected seg-ments of it. I show that this particular public hearing raised demands for testifiers on the anti-civil union side of the argument that reasonable hostility does not do a good job of addressing. Development of a norm of communication conduct for this practice, as well as others, must engage with the culture and time-specific beliefs that a society holds, beliefs that will shape not only how to argue but what may be argued and what must be assumed about particular categories of persons.



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Fallacies.Charles Leonard Hamblin - 1970 - Newport News, Va.: Vale Press.
Logic and Conversation.H. P. Grice - 1975 - In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: pp. 64-75.
Logic and Conversation.H. Paul Grice - 1975 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 47.

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