Practical Argumentation in the Making: Discursive Construction of Reasons for Action

In Sarah Bigi & Fabrizio Macagno (eds.), Argumentation and Language — Linguistic, Cognitive and Discursive Explorations. Cham: Springer Verlag (2018)
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Abstract

The goal of this chapter is to catalogue ways in which practical argumentation —argumentation aimed at deciding on a course of action—is produced discursively in deliberative discussions. This is a topic largely neglected in the literature on PA focused primarily on the abstract features of practical inference. I connect to this literature by arguing that the complex scheme of PA inferentially hinges on three different principles for rationally selecting means to achieve the desired goal: the means have to be either the best, satisfactory or necessary in order to ground the practical inference and thus be adopted. Based on these theoretically-derived distinctions, I scrutinise the linguistic indicators of the three types of means-goal inferences of PA. As a corpus, I use a set of official European Union policy documents called Transforming Europe’s energy system released in Brussels in July 2015.

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