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CHAPTER TWO

ARGUMENTATION: A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

2.1 Argument and Argumentation


According to Van Eemeren et al.(1996: 1), Argumentation (or argument) is familiar to all of us. This becomes evident when noticing that we usually argue about different things in our everyday life. In other words, throughout our daily lives, we use argument to decide what we will buy, what college we shall attend, or where we will go on vacation (Huber and Snider, 2006: 2). This might give the indication that argument and argumentation are two terms that can be used interchangeably. However, it seems that this is not the case because argument and argumentation are in fact two different concepts. In order to shed some light on this last statement, the definition(s) and meaning(s) of each term will be introduced:

2.1.1 Argument
Generally, so many are the definitions of the term argument that it sometimes comes to ones mind that scholars have been busy only putting different definitions to the term! Thus, it will be a difficult and boring job to introduce such a number of definitions. It follows that only the basic definitions which give a clear idea about the term argument will be posited.

5 Actually, the definition which gives a clear idea about what is meant by argument is introduced by OKeefe (1977). This is supported by Benoit et als. (1992: 70) view: OKeefes paper may well be the most often cited, the most influential, of any contemporary publication on argument(1). OKeefe (1977: 121-8) distinguishes two senses of the word argument: argument1 and argument2. The former refers to a kind of utterance or a sort of communicative act. To put it in a simpler way, argument1 is something that a person makes (or presents or utters). Commands, apologies, promises, etc., are all instances of argument1. By contrast, argument2 refers to a particular kind of interaction. It is something that people have (or engage in), as in bull sessions, quarrels, discussions, etc. However, this distinction should not lead one to think that either sense of argument is more fundamental than the other since whether one studies argument1 or argument2 will depend entirely on ones interests and purposes (OKeefe, 1982: 4). It can be said, thus, that argument1 refers to argument as a product, whereas argument2 refers to argument as a process (or more accurately to argumentation).

For further definitions of the term argument, see: Strawson (1952:12), Toulmin (1958:11-12), Perelman (1963:155), Fisher and Sayles (1965:3),Searle (1969:66), Brockriede (1975:179-82), Hample (1985:1-22), Blair and Johnson (1987:45), Meiland (1989:185), Weston (1992:i), Trapp (1992:211-3), Schlesigner et al. (2001:xvi), Huber and Snider (2006:2), Vorobej (2006:3), Walton (2006:xii), and Besnard and Hunter (2008:2).

2.1.2 Argumentation
Argumentation is a broad topic that has a long tradition in philosophy dating back to the fifth century B.C. It has been developed by many hands and in different eras until winning an academic identity of its own in the final decades of the 20th century (Benoit, 1992: 49; Hample, 2005: xi,1). Not only philosophy has given a hand in the emergence of argumentation, but also rhetoric, dialectic, and logic each has a claim to some key involvement in the activity of arguing (Tindale, 1999: 2). The three perspectives on argumentation have been concisely put by Wenzel (2006: 9)(2):
Rhetoric helps us understand and evaluate arguing as a natural process of persuasive communication; dialectic helps us understand and evaluate argumentation as a cooperative method for making critical decisions; and logic helps us understand and evaluate arguments as products people create when they argue

Argumentation has been firstly defined, apart from any of these perspectives, by Van Eemeren et al. (199 6: 1-5) who introduce it with a full elucidation (and thus it is the definition that will be adopted in this study)(3). Afterwards, that very definition is mentioned in the different writings of Van Eemeren et al. (2002: xii), Van Eemeren alone (2002: online journal)(4), and

For more details on each perspective, see Van Eemeren et al. (1986), Ch. 1-15; Benoit (1992: 49-67); Van Eemeren et al. (1996), Ch. 2,12; Wenzel (2006), Ch. 2; and Walton (2008), Ch.5.
3

For further definitions of argumentation, see: Van Eemeren at al. (1997:208), Tindale (1999:1), Ruhl (1999:75), Van Eemeren and Houtlosser (2003:388), Van Eemeren and Grootendorst (2004:3), and Vorobej (2006:3). 4 Argumentation, Interpretation, Rhetoric.

7 Van Eemeren and Grootendorst (2004:1). However, the definition still has the same content despite the different wording; so, only the original definition with its elucidation presented in (1996: 1-5) will be given and adopted. The original definition reads as follows:
Argumentation is a verbal and social activity of reason aimed at increasing (or decreasing) the acceptability of a controversial standpoint for the listener or reader, by putting forward a constellation of propositions intended to justify (or refute) the standpoint before a rational judge

By verbal activity is meant, as Van Eemeren et al. (1996:2) state, the use of any ordinary language (whether English, Arabic, French, etc.) to state, question or deny something by the language user, no matter whether writer or speaker, who is engaged in argumentation. As for its being a social activity, argumentation, they (ibid.) proceed, is in principle directed at other people, no matter what the number of those people is. The social nature of argumentation manifests itself, above all, in a discourse between two or more interlocutors. Eemeren et al. (ibid.:2) think that even when persons are conferring with themselves, they are, still, showing the social side of arguing because as soon as they start weighing up the various considerations, this amounts to an anticipation of an interlocutors possible reactions, even if these reactions are only their own. What is left, then, is the rational aspect of argumentation. By rational they mean that when an argument is put forward, the arguer, then, tries to demonstrate that a rational account can be given of her/his position on the matter.

2.1.3 Argument vs. Argumentation


To show the difference between these two terms more clearly, it seems typical to quote what has been initiated by Quasthoff (1978) and then supported by Johnson (2000) and Walton (2006) to describe how argument and argumentation differ. Quasthoff (1978:8) affirms that argument denotes the closed thematic unit of an argumentative action schema; the term argumentation will refer to the complete argumentative interaction and its parts. Johnson (2000:31), in his turn, claims that argument is a component of the practice of argumentation and, here, Walton (2006: 1-2) proceeds that the word argumentation denotes the dynamic process of connecting arguments together for some purpose in a dialogue. Walton (ibid.) adds that the core of an argument is a reason, or a set of reasons, offered to support a claim, called the conclusion of the argument. By considering argumentation as wider than argument, an agreement with Reishaan (2007: 74) imposes itself in this regard. He states that argumentation seems a wider term that covers linguistic and non-linguistic means such as audio-visual props, specially chosen times and places , etc., besides arguments. Figure (1) below shows the relationship between argument and argumentation:

Argumentation

Argument

Argument

Reason

Claim

Reason

Claim

Argument

Argument

Argumentation

Figure (1) The relationship between Argument and Argumentation

There is one last important thing that must be asserted. In spite of the difference between argument and argumentation, that does not deny the fact that the two terms are still used interchangeably by many of the scholars who deal with this topic. For instance, Toulmin (2003), Benoit and Benoit (2006) and Trapp (2006) use the term argument to refer to OKeefes argument2 (i.e. argumentation in this study) (See 2.3.2; 2.3.3 and 2.3.4 below respectively). As far as the present work is concerned, the two terms are not used alternatively; argumentation is the process which consists of a series of arguments.