© 2014

Rhetorical Perspectives on Argumentation

Selected Essays by David Zarefsky


Part of the Argumentation Library book series (ARGA, volume 24)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Objectives of Studying Argumentation Rhetorically

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. David Zarefsky
      Pages 3-13
    3. David Zarefsky
      Pages 15-24
    4. David Zarefsky
      Pages 25-36
    5. David Zarefsky
      Pages 37-47
    6. David Zarefsky
      Pages 49-58
  3. Approaches to Studying Argumentation Rhetorically

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 59-59
    2. David Zarefsky
      Pages 61-69
    3. David Zarefsky
      Pages 103-111
  4. Patterns of Rhetorical Argumentation

  5. Analyses of Rhetorical Argumentation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 193-193

About this book


This book contains 20 essays tracing the work of David Zarefsky, a leading North American scholar of argumentation from a rhetorical perspective.  The essays cohere around 4 general themes: objectives for studying argumentation rhetorically, approaches to rhetorical study of argumentation, patterns and schemes of rhetorical argumentation, and case studies illustrating the potential of studying argumentation rhetorically. These articles are drawn from across Zarefsky’s 45-year career. Many of these articles originally appeared in publications that are difficult to access today, and this collection brings the reader up to date on the topic.  

Zarefsky’s scholarship focuses on the role of language in political argumentation, the ways in which argumentation creates public knowledge and belief, the influence of framing and context on what is said and understood, the deployment of particular patterns and schemes of argumentation in public reasoning, and the influence of debate on politics and governance. All these topics are addressed in this book.    

Each of the conceptual essays includes brief application to specific cases, and five extended case studies are also presented in this volume. The case studies cover different themes: two explore famous political debates, the third focuses on presidential rhetoric across the course of United States history, the fourth on the arguments for liberalism at a time of political polarization, and the fifth on the contemporary effort to engage the United States with the Muslim world.  

This book is of interest to scholars in the fields of philosophy, logic, law, philosophy of law, and legal history. The range of topics and concepts addressed, the interplay of concepts and cases and the unifying perspective of rhetorical argumentation make this book a valuable read for students of argumentative practice, whether rhetorically or otherwise.  ​


Advanced Debate Advocacy and Judgment in Public Argument Argument analysis and criticism Argument as Hypothesis Testing Argument practice Argumentation and Advocacy Argumentation and rhetoric Circumstantial Ad Hominem Definitions, Frameworks, and Critiques Impasse of the Liberal Argument Knowledge Claims in Rhetorical Criticism Patterns of Rhetorical Argumentation Presidential Rhetoric and the Power of Definition Public argument Rhetoric perspective on argumentation Speculation on American Politics Strategic Maneuvering in Political Argumentation Studying Argumentation Rhetorically Studying Argumentation Rhetorically Theory of Argument Fields What Does Argument Culture Look Like

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Rhetorical Perspectives on Argumentation
  • Book Subtitle Selected Essays by David Zarefsky
  • Authors David Zarefsky
  • Series Title Argumentation Library
  • Series Abbreviated Title Argumentation Library
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-05484-1
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-37938-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-05485-8
  • Series ISSN 1566-7650
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIX, 265
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Logic
    Theories of Law, Philosophy of Law, Legal History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“A valuable contribution to argumentation theory is provided in the compilation of 20 essays written by David Zarefsky during his academic career. … Considering the richness of his ideas, the broad area to which they apply and the clever and lucid way in which they are presented to us, David Zarefsky has done the argumentation community a great service.” (Henrike Jansen, Journal of Argumentation in Context, Vol. 4 (3), 2016)

“Their selection and grouping reflect Zarefsky’s choices, and the resulting anthology provides readers, whether students new to argumentation studies or established scholars, with valuable theoretical perspectives as well as models of analysis. … it represents the scholarly achievement of the leading US scholar in argumentation studies and a rhetorical critic nonpareil.” (Jeanne Fahnestock, Argumentation, Vol. 30, 2016)