Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory: A Handbook of Historical Backgrounds and Contemporary Developments

Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory: A Handbook of Historical Backgrounds and Contemporary Developments

Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory: A Handbook of Historical Backgrounds and Contemporary Developments

Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory: A Handbook of Historical Backgrounds and Contemporary Developments

Synopsis

Argumentation theory is a distinctly multidisciplinary field of inquiry. It draws its data, assumptions, and methods from disciplines as disparate as formal logic and discourse analysis, linguistics and forensic science, philosophy and psychology, political science and education, sociology and law, and rhetoric and artificial intelligence. This presents the growing group of interested scholars and students with a problem of access, since it is even for those active in the field not common to have acquired a familiarity with relevant aspects of each discipline that enters into this multidisciplinary matrix. This book offers its readers a unique comprehensive survey of the various theoretical contributions which have been made to the study of argumentation. It discusses the historical works that provide the background to the field and all major approaches and trends in contemporary research. Argument has been the subject of systematic inquiry for twenty-five hundred years. It has been graced with theories, such as formal logic or the legal theory of evidence, that have acquired a more or less settled provenance with regard to specific issues. But there has been nothing to date that qualifies as a unified general theory of argumentation, in all its richness and complexity. This being so, the argumentation theorist must have access to materials and methods that lie beyond his or her "home" subject. It is precisely on this account that this volume is offered to all the constituent research communities and their students. Apart from the historical sections, each chapter provides an economical introduction to the problems and methods that characterize a given part of the contemporary research program. Because the chapters are self-contained, they can be consulted in the order of a reader's interests or research requirements. But there is value in reading the work in its entirety. Jointly authored by the very people whose research has done much to define the current state of argumentation theory and to point the way toward more general and unified future treatments, this book is an impressively authoritative contribution to the field.

Excerpt

In the past decades the study of argumentation has become a field of interest in its own right. Several scholarly societies and associations and various academic journals are devoted to argumentation. A great number of books and articles concentrate on this subject. It is also the focus of attention at many conferences, symposia, and courses. The growing interest in argumentation is an international phenomenon. It is not restricted to one discipline, being apparent in philosophy, logic, linguistics, discourse analysis, rhetoric, speech communication, education, psychology, sociology, political science, law, and many other disciplines. Recently, some multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to argumentation have also been developed.

Because of the complexity, diversity and rate of developments in the study of argumentation, one might easily lose sight of the ways in which argumentation theory has matured. The authors of this book therefore think that a comprehensive survey of the various theoretical contributions is now worthwhile. Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory is intended to serve this purpose. Although it stands to reason that choices had to be made and that not all contributions could be equally accentuated, it essentially describes the historical works that provide the background to the field of argumentation studies and the contemporary developments that make it prosper. All major trends in current research are discussed and all prominent approaches which are (at least partly) accessible in English.

The present volume originates in part with The Study of Argumentation (Irvington, 1984), jointly authored by Frans H. van Eemeren, Rob Grootendorst, and Tjark Kruiger, and republished as the Handbook of Argumentation Theory (Foris, 1987). Because argumentation theory has advanced considerably since the manuscript for this book was completed (1980), it has been apparent for some . . .

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