Problems of the theory of argument
Persuasion as a matter of argument theory
The theory of argument explores the many ways to persuade the audience through speech.
The theory of argumentation analyzes and explains the hidden mechanisms of "inconspicuous art" speech impact in a variety of communicative systems - from scientific evidence to political propaganda, artistic language and commercial advertising.You can influence the beliefs of listeners or viewers not only through speech, verbally expressed arguments, but also in many other ways: gesture, facial expression, visualization, etc. Even silence in certain cases turns out to be a strong enough argument. These methods of influencing beliefs are studied by psychology, art theory, etc., but are not affected by the theory of argumentation.
In addition, beliefs can be influenced by violence, hypnosis, suggestion, subconscious stimulation, drugs, drugs, etc. These methods of influence are also engaged in psychology, but they clearly go beyond even the widely interpreted theory of argumentation.
Argumentation is bringing arguments to change the position or beliefs of the other party (audience).
An argument, or argument, is one or more related statements. The argument is intended to support the thesis argument - statement, which the argumentative party finds necessary to inspire the audience, make it an integral part of her beliefs.
The word argumentation often called not only the procedure of bringing arguments in support of some position, but also the very totality of such arguments.
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"Argumentation," writes the American expert in the theory of persuasion G. Johnston, "is the pervasive feature of human life. This does not mean that there are no cases when a person lends itself to hypnosis, subconscious stimulation, drugs, brainwashing and physical strength, and that there are no cases in which he can properly control the actions and views of people by means other than argumentation. However, only that person, who can be called inhuman, will enjoy the influence on the behavior of other people only by non-argumentative means, and only an idiot will willingly obey him. We do not even rule over people when we only manipulate them. We can rule over people only by treating them as people. "
Argumentation is a verbal action that includes a system of statements designed to justify or refute an opinion. It is addressed primarily to the mind of a person who is capable of judging , accept or reject this opinion.
Thus, the arguments are characterized by the following features:
• The argument is always expressed in language, has the form of spoken or written statements; the theory of argument explores the interrelationships of these statements, and not the thoughts, ideas, motives behind them;
• Argumentation is a purposeful activity: it has as its goal the strengthening or weakening of someone's beliefs;
• Argumentation is a social activity, as it is directed at another person or other people, suggests dialogue and an active reaction of the other party to the arguments presented;
• The argument assumes the intelligence of those who perceive it, their ability to rationally weigh the arguments, accept them, or challenge them.
Persuasion is studied by many sciences; psychology, logic, linguistics, philosophy, social communication theory, etc. A special place among them is the theory of argumentation that systematizes and generalizes what other disciplines say about persuasion. This theory answers questions about ways to substantiate and refute beliefs, and the dependence of these methods on the audience and the problem under discussion, and the originality of the justification in different areas of thought and activity - from natural and human sciences and to ideology, propaganda, art, etc.
Persuasion concerns assertion and is the belief that the given utterance must be accepted because of the available grounds.
The subject of persuasion can be not only a separate statement, but also linked system statements: message about some events, proof, concept, theory, etc.
Persuasion does not coincide with either truth or faith, devoid of any clear grounds ("blind faith"). When the statement is true, the situation described by it really exists. But if the statement is someone's belief, it does not necessarily mean that something corresponds to it in reality. Unlike pure faith, which can serve as the foundation of oneself, persuasion presupposes a certain foundation. The latter can be absolutely fantastic or even internally contradictory, but, nevertheless, it must exist.
Truth and goodness can be intermediate goals of argumentation, but its ultimate goal - to convince the audience of the fairness of the proposed position, to incline to accept this provision and, possibly, to the action he is supposed to take. This means that the opposition truth is false and good - evil, important to other sciences, are not key in the argument, or in its theory, respectively. Arguments can be cited not only in support of the theses, which seem to be true, but also in support of knowingly false or vague theses. Argumentedly, not only goodness and justice can be defended, but what appears or will later turn out to be evil.
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The grounds for accepting statements can be very different. Some statements are accepted, because they seem to be correct descriptions of the real state of affairs, others are taken as useful advice, others - as effective estimates or norms, etc. It is impossible to create a complete list of grounds for accepting statements or their groups. There is also no any, even preliminary, classification of grounds.
Persuasion of people, i.e. their beliefs, with well-known reasons, are as varied and changeable as human life itself, in the fabric of which they are always intertwined. At the same time, there are certain methods that allow one or the other to prompt people to accept certain statements and reject others.
Among these well-known techniques is a reference to empirical evidence, to existing logical evidence, to certain methodological considerations, to a time-honored tradition, to a particularly insightful intuition or sincere belief, to common sense or taste, to a causal relationship or communication goals and means, etc. The theory of argument does not say anything about why certain people or groups of people share some concrete - reasonable or, on the contrary, ridiculous - beliefs. Its task is to investigate and systematize those devices or methods, reasonings by which one can try to convince an individual or a group of people of the necessity or appropriateness of making any statements.
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