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The Agentive Approach to Argumentation. A Proposal

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The main goal of this paper is to outline an agent-centered theory of argumentation. Our working hypothesis is that the aim of argumentation depends upon the agenda agents are disposed to close or advance. The novelty of this idea is that our theory, unlike the main accounts of argumentation (i.e., rhetorical, dialogical and epistemological theories of argumentation), does not establish an a priori function that agents are expected to achieve when arguing. Instead, we believe that the aims of argumentation depend upon the purposes agents are disposed to achieve (i.e., their agendas).

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... Besides that, we draw on Niño and Marrero (2015) 3 in considering that there are many functions to argumentation and that they are closely related to processes of belief construction. Thus, from our perspective, arguing may respectively aim at: ...
... We will not discuss the particularities of the differences -which are not that sensible, by the way. We refer the reader to Niño and Marrero (2015) paper for a "purer" view of the concepts. 4 Niño and Marrero (2015) discuss, in a rather engrossing way, this kind of argumentation, based on an example extracted from Doury (2012). ...
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In this paper, we advocate for a multidimensional approach to the analysis of argumentation by considering its cognitive, discursive and multimodal grounding. First, we briefly discuss the main theoretical premises of such an approach, assuming a multidisciplinary perspective. Second, by drawing on different traditions of argumentation studies, we introduce the five dimensions we consider relevant for a holistic analysis of argumentative practices-functional configuration, macrostructure, schematization, socio-affective grounding and argumentative orientation. Finally, we illustrate the functioning of the model through a multidimensional analysis of an argumentative move extracted from a Brazilian television political interview.
... The first regards the study of interactional dynamics, in open and closed groups, in virtual or physical spaces, which takes fake news content as a discursive topic. The main interest would be in how these texts are utilized in epistemic and practical argumentation and how they are connected to the processes of belief formation, revision and maintenance (Niño, Marrero 2015;Gonçalves-Segundo 2020b). ...
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This paper aims to discuss the motivations and effects of the production, distribution and interpretation of fake news stories, which draw on moral panics in contemporary Brazilian society. To do so, the article combines recent research on fake news, mainly from Media Studies, Sociology and Political Science, with the Critical Discourse Analysis perspective on meaning-making. The main hypothesis advanced is that this kind of fake news story lies in the tension between the evident and the absurd, as they seem to be oriented towards eliciting different readings and reactions from the endo and the exogroup. In terms of the endogroup, they may function as a means both to foster social cohesion and induce affective responses that intensify the dichotomization of identities. Regarding the exogroup, they may act as a means of drawing antagonism towards progressive groups and political parties, in a process that aims at diverting public debate to topics that not only keep the polarization aflame, but also shift the focus of attention away from the issues and policies that the neoconservative agenda deems problematic.
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This article synthesizes the results of several interviews with argumentation scholars from across the American continents to address three questions regarding the connections in argumentation studies between North and South/Central America: “What motivated the study of argumentation in the Americas?” “What commonalities, if any, exist in argumentation studies across the Americas?” and “What should the future of argumentation studies in the Americas look like?” Using these interviews in combination with existing textual sources, the article also provides motivated suggestions for directions for the future of the community in the field.
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RESUMO Nosso objetivo, neste artigo, é discutir um modelo multidimensional de análise que considere a ancoragem discursiva, cognitiva e multimodal da atividade argumentativa. Em primeiro lugar, apresentamos sucintamente as principais premissas teóricas de tal abordagem, partindo de uma perspectiva multidisciplinar. Em segundo lugar, por meio de um diálogo com diferentes tradições dos estudos argumentativos, introduzimos as cinco dimensões que consideramos relevantes para uma análise holística das práticas argumentativas – a configuração funcional, a macroestrutura, a esquematização, a ancoragem socioafetiva e a orientação argumentativa. Por fim, ilustramos o funcionamento do modelo por meio de uma análise multidimensional de um movimento argumentativo extraído de uma entrevista televisiva com um político brasileiro em contexto de campanha eleitoral.
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Nosso objetivo, neste trabalho, é apresentar reflexões iniciais sobre a possibilidades de articulação entre as operações de perspectivação conceptual, considerando os sistemas cognitivos a elas associados, e o processo de esquematização argumentativa, levando em conta seus três principais padrões: o sintomático, o analógico e o causal. Para isso, situaremos a reflexão no quadro do modelo multidimensional e multidisciplinar de argumentação que temos desenvolvido; discutiremos os principais esquemas argumentativos e debateremos os avanços possíveis delineados pelo diálogo com o arcabouço cognitivista; exemplificaremos essa convergência a partir de análises de dois segmentos textuais; e, por fim, levantaremos um conjunto de perguntas de pesquisa que constituem objetos relevantes para investigação no âmbito do quadro proposto.
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The article outlines a general epistemological theory of argument: a theory that regards providingjustified belief as the principal aim of argumentation, and defends it instrumentalistically. After introducing some central terms of such a theory (2), answers to its central questions are proposed: the primary object and structure of the theory (3), the function of arguments, which is to lead to justified belief (4), the way such arguments function, which is to guide the addressee's cognizing (5), objective versus subjective aspects of argumentation (6), designing different types of argument (7). Then the notion of '(argumentatively) valid argument' is defined and criteria for the adequate use of such arguments are introduced (8). Finally, this conception is justified as, among others, leading to more true beliefs than competing conceptions (9).
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Se puede decir que la pregunta central de cualquier propuesta semiótica es en qué consiste la significación. Y cada una de estas propuestas, con variaciones de muy diverso grado, ofrece una respuesta a dicha pregunta. Por mencionar solo tres casos, por ejemplo, para el enfoque estructuralista (de De Saussure a Fontanille, pasando por Hjelmslev, Barthes, Eco, Greimas y Klinkenberg) la significacion se establece por medio de estructuras, esto es, sistemas de oposiciones entre unidades minimas, cuya union (“manifestacion” en sus terminos) genera signos y enunciados. Para el enfoque cognitivo la significacion (particularmente de P.A Brandt y L. Brandt) se establece en redes de espacios mentales en un espacio semiotico de base. Para el enfoque peirceano la significacion se establece mediante la actualizacion de condiciones de interpretabilidad fundamentada (cf. Short, 2007). Otras propuestas como la culturalista de Iuri Lotman o la de la biosemiotica tambien ofrecen sus propias explicaciones sobre en que consiste fundamentalmente la significacion. En este libro queremos proponer un enfoque alternativo, que hemos denominado “agentivo”: aquí la significación se establece –o más precisamente, emerge– en la relación agente-agenda, es decir, la relación entre un ente que hace y el tipo de resultado (u objetivo) al que ‘apunta’ dicho agente mediante su acción. A partir de esta tesis general, la propuesta agentiva lleva a una serie de tesis diferenciales: primero, la significación propiamente dicha es una actividad que realiza un agente; y en consecuencia, segundo, la significación no es algo que pueda encontrarse en eso que se ha llamado enunciados (lingüísticos, visuales, etc.) u objetos (de diseño o no): los signos y los objetos no significan nada, porque ‘significar’ es una actividad; y por tanto, tercero, si se pudiese hablar de la significación de los enunciados o de los objetos, esto sería legítimo sólo en un sentido derivado o ampliado; y así, cuarto, la reflexión sobre los signos es un punto de llegada y no de partida para la reflexión semiótica. Por el contrario, el punto de partida está vinculado a las preguntas sobre qué son los agentes y las agendas, cómo se constituyen y en qué condiciones el despliegue de la capacidad para actuar (agencia) permite la circulación de sentido. Finalmente, si la significación se genera en cuando un agente trata de alcanzar sus objetivos, y los objetivos se pueden cumplir de forma parcial, deficiente, suficiente o totalmente, esto implica que se pueden ofrecer criterios de corrección para evaluar cuándo dicha significación es o no correcta (por ejemplo, en la detección de errores).
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Los estudios sobre la argumentación empezaron por diferenciarse de los estudios de lógica formal al interesarse menos por las condiciones de validez (ideales o idealizadas) de los argumentos y más por las condiciones en que los agentes argumentan. Es así que los propulsores de la nueva retórica retoman y desarrollan algunas ideas de Aristóteles para llegar a la idea de audiencia universal (Perelman & Olbrecht-Tyteca, 2000). Otros hicieron investigaciones sobre los diferentes usos de los argumentos (Toulmin, 2003). Aún otros han intentado recoger los resultados de estos intereses, bien sea por ejemplo en términos de una lógica informal (Johnson & Blair, 2006) o una lógica pragmadialéctica (van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 2003). En una propuesta más reciente conocida como lógica práctica de agentes cognitivos, Dov Gabbay y John Woods (2003, 2005, 2006) han propuesto que en la resolución de problemas los agentes deben poder tener a su disposición cierta capacidad computacional, información y tiempo, para poder resolver los problemas cognitivos que se les presentan (agendas). En el presente texto se seguirá esta clave, esto es, pensar que la argumentación cobra sentido en la relación agente-agenda, pero el interés no será –como lo es en el caso de Gabbay & Woods– el de formular una lógica práctica de agentes cognitivos, sino el de esbozar algunas de las consecuencias que se generan de esa relación si se adopta un enfoque semiótico, es decir, donde el punto de partida es la pregunta por la emergencia del sentido. Una primera consecuencia consiste en que la argumentación es una actividad que realiza un agente con la intención de lograr ciertos objetivos, que se llamarán agendas, por lo que hay que preguntarse por las características de esta actividad. Una segunda consecuencia consiste en que los argumentos llegan a ser lo que son no en virtud de que los contenidos de sus premisas sean de este o aquel modo, sino en virtud de los usos legítimos (o legitimables) que realicen los agentes. Una tercera consecuencia –muy relacionada con la anterior– consiste en que un agente puede usar lo que a primera vista parece como un mismo argumento de diversos modos y en diversas situaciones, desde algunas familiares y cotidianas, hasta otras en las que puede no haber mucho terreno común, como en los diálogos y argumentaciones entre interlocutores pertenecientes a diferentes culturas. En lo que sigue se expondrá, primero, cómo se entiende la relación agente-agenda desde el enfoque semiótico que denominamos semiótica agentiva. Luego, en los tres apartados siguientes, se analizarán cada una de las consecuencias acabadas de mencionar.
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This paper discusses the definition of argumentation as a means for persuading an audience on the acceptability of a thesis. It is argued that persuasion is a goal that relates more to the communicative situation, the type of interaction or the type of discourse, rather than to the argumentative nature of it. Departing from the analysis of a short conversational sequence between people who agree on an issue and nevertheless argue, I suggest that a definition of argumentation in terms of persuasion fails to account for what people are actually doing in these situations. I propose instead that several functions may be assigned to argumentation when considering the context in which it is produced: a cognitive function (which helps participants to elaborate a position on the discussed issue), and an identifying function (which enables them to portray themselves through the expression and the justification of their opinion). In the case analyzed here, a third function to which the argumentative activity contributes can also be identified, namely the enhancing of the emotional tonality of the relationship between the participants. While it becomes clear from the discussion of this argumentative sequence that the participants do not seek to persuade each other or some third party, it is not suggested that argumentation never aims at persuading an audience, but rather that persuasion cannot be considered as a defining feature of argumentation.
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The chapter raises an alarm about the direction that theorizing seems to be taking. For understandable reasons there has been a focus on the persuasive use of arguments to such a degree that many now define argument as a tool of persuasion. But there are plenty of other uses of arguments and it is possible, and indeed desirable, to define “argument” without reference to any particular use. Arguments are reasons for beliefs or for believing, reasons for attitudes or for emotions, or reasons for decisions about what to do—that is, in Mill’s phrase, “considerations … capable of determining the intellect either to give or withhold its assent.” It is important to focus on arguments so defined because we have not yet finished the job of providing a complete account of their logical norms. I sketch one way of framing their norms within the Toulmin model that assimilates a lot of the recent work of various theorists. And I join those who insist that assessing the logic of an argument is not all there is to evaluating arguments. KeywordsArgument-Argumentation-Reasons-Logical norms-Toulmin-Uses of arguments
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A certain conception of social epistemology is articulated and applied to numerous social arenas. This conception retains epistemology's traditional interest in truth and reliable inquiry, but replaces its customary emphasis on solitary knowers with a focus on social institutions and interpersonal practices. Postmodernism, science studies, and pragmatism pose worries about the meaning and attainability of objective truth and knowledge. After laying these concerns to rest, “veritistic” social epistemology is advanced as a normative discipline seeking practices and institutions that would best foster knowledge. The book explores forms and methods of communication, including norms of argumentation, information technology, and institutional structures governing speech and the media. Social dimensions of knowledge quests are explored in science, law, democracy, and education. The book examines popular topics in contemporary epistemology such as testimony and Bayesianism, while breaking new ground by connecting epistemology with historically unrelated branches of philosophy such as political and legal theory. Democracy's success, it is argued, requires the attainment of certain epistemic desiderata, and substantive justice depends on well‐chosen procedures of legal evidence.
Structure and function of argumentations. An epistemological approach to determining criteria for the validity and adequacy of argumentations
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Lumer, C. (1991). Structure and function of argumentations. An epistemological approach to determining criteria for the validity and adequacy of argumentations. In F. van Eemeren, R. Grootendorst, A. Blair & C. Willard (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Argumentation. Organized by the International Society for the Study of Argumentation (ISSA) (pp. 98-107). Amsterdam: Sicsat.
Good arguments Socializing epistemology. The social dimensions of knowledge
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The reach of abduction: Insight and trial. A practical logic of cognitive systems
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Agenda relevance: A study of formal pragmatics. A practical logic of cognitive systems
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Socializing epistemology. The social dimensions of knowledge
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