Reason-Giving and the Natural Normativity of Argumentation
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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.
KeywordsArgumentation 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.
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