Mencius’s Strategies of Political Argumentation

Argumentation 33 (3):365-389 (2019)
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Abstract

Mencius, the second sage of Confucianism after Confucius, is well known for his subtle argumentative skills. Mencius did not develop his own argumentation theory, but argumentation practices, including his political argumentation, have enormously inspired later scholars in China to develop argumentation theories. In this paper, we try to reconstruct Mencius’s political argumentation from perspectives of both strategic maneuvering developed by van Eemeren et al. in argumentation theory and truth-functional logic in formal logic. The aim is to manifest the Dao, a rational balance among logical, dialectical and rhetorical dimensions in Mencius’s political argumentation. The results indicate that Mencius’s political argumentation is not only logically justified but also shown to have maneuvered strategically between reasonableness and effectiveness, and that human beings have a common ground of formal and substantial logos, which makes it possible for people from different cultural groups to communicate rationally.

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References found in this work

Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation.Douglas Walton - 2005 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Informal Logic: A Pragmatic Approach.Douglas Walton - 2008 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The elements of logic.Stephen Francis Barker - 1974 - New York,: McGraw-Hill.
The Works of Mencius.James Legge - 2011 - Courier Corporation.
Mohist canons.Chris Fraser - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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