, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 631–643 | Cite as

Reason-Giving and the Natural Normativity of Argumentation

  • Sally JacksonEmail author


Argument is a pervasive feature of human interaction, and in its natural contexts of occurrence, it is organized around the management of disagreement. Since disagreement can occur around any kind of speech act whatsoever, not all arguments involve a claim supported by reasons; many involve standpoints attributed to someone but claimed by no one. And although truth and validity are often at issue in naturally occurring arguments, these do not exhaust the standards to which arguers are held. Arguers hold one another accountable for cooperating in the management of disagreement, infusing argumentation with a natural normativity that exists apart from any theorized appraisal standard applied to the claim-reason relationship. Argumentation’s natural normativity is visible not only in how arguments unfold in interaction but also in how humanity continuously strives to improve its methods of disagreement management.


Argumentation Logic Informal logic Reason-giving Normative and descriptive theory 



Zhang Xiaoqi and Curtis Jackson-Jacobs provided invaluable assistance in preparing the transcripts shown in Exhibits 1–3, as well as helpful suggestions on the analysis. Special thanks are due to Scott Jacobs for repeated close readings of this paper and for the prior collaborative work that is fundamental to the arguments made here.


  1. Aakhus M, Muresan S, Wacholder N (2017) An argument-ontology for a response-centered approach to argumentation mining. In: Bex F, Grasso F, Green N (eds) Proceedings of the 16th Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument (CMNA 2016), New York, USA, 9 July 2016. Online:
  2. Goody J (1975) Literacy in traditional societies. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  3. Hepburn A, Bolden GB (2013) The conversation analytic approach to transcription. In: Sidnell J, Stivers T (eds) The handbook of conversation analysis. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, pp 57–76Google Scholar
  4. Jackson S (1992) “Virtual standpoints” and the pragmatics of conversational argument. In: van Eemeren FH, Grootendorst R, Blair JA, Willard CA (eds) Argument illuminated. International Centre for the Study of Argumentation, Amsterdam, pp. 260–226Google Scholar
  5. Jackson S (2015) Design thinking in argumentation theory and practice. Argumentation. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jackson S, Jacobs S (1980) Structure of conversational argument: pragmatic bases for the enthymeme. Q J Speech. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jackson S, Schneider J (2017) Cochrane review as a “warranting device” for reasoning about health. Argumentation. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jacobs S, Jackson S (1982) Conversational argument: a discourse analytic approach. In: Cox JR, Willard CA (eds) Advances in argumentation theory and research. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, pp 205–237Google Scholar
  9. Jacobs S, Jackson S (1989) Building a model of conversational argument. In: Dervin B, Grossberg L, O’Keefe BJ, Wartella E (eds) Rethinking communication: paradigm exemplars. Sage, Beverly Hills, pp 153–171Google Scholar
  10. Johnson RH (2000) Manifest rationality: a pragmatic theory of argument. Erlbaum, Mahwah NJGoogle Scholar
  11. Mill JS (1895) A system of logic, rationative and inductive, 8th edn. Harper & Brothers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Sacks H (1995) Lectures on conversation. Blackwell, Oxford UKCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Sacks H, Schegloff EA, Jefferson G (1974) A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Toulmin SE (1958) The uses of argument. Cambridge University Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. van Eemeren FH, Grootendorst R, Jackson S, Jacobs S (1993) Reconstructing argumentative discourse. University of Alabama Press, TuscaloosaGoogle Scholar
  16. van Eemeren FH, Garssen B, Krabbe ECW, Snoeck Henkemans AF, Verheij B, Wagemans JHM (2014) Handbook of argumentation theory. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

Personalised recommendations