Argumentation in Discourse: A Socio-discursive Approach to Arguments

Ruth Amossy


Rather than the art of putting forward logically valid arguments leading to Truth, argumentation is here viewed as the use of verbal means ensuring an agreement on what can be considered reasonable by a given group, on a more or less controversial matter. What is acceptable and plausible is always coconstructed by subjects engaging in verbal interaction. It is the dynamism of this exchange, realized not only in natural language, but also in a specific cultural framework, that has to be accounted for. From this perspective, it is not enough to reconstruct patterns of reasoning. As logos is by definition both Reason and Language, abstract schemata have to be examined in their verbal realization in a given situation of discourse. Such an approach to
arguments allows for a “thick” description taking into account their discursive and communicational aspects, as well as argumentation’s constitutive dialogism and its inscription in a set of common representations, opinions and beliefs (a doxa).
This approach, exemplified by the analysis of a short text on stock options borrowed from the French newspaper Libération, is an attempt at establishing a dialogue between disciplines like argumentation theories, rhetorical criticism and discourse analysis.


argumentation in discourse, argumentativity, discourse analysis, interdis-course, Perelman, rhetoric

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ISSN: 0824-2577