11 July 2023

A Copenhagen School in Argumentation Studies

The volume Rhetorical Argumentation : The Copenhagen School, edited by Christian Kock and Marcus Lantz, is now available digitally (open access) and for sale in hard copy at amazon.com. The editors write as follows:

Rhetorical argumentation means giving reasons to influence attitudes and actions, typically in the public and political spheres. Rhetorical argumentation is omnipresent and multiform. On any issue in rhetorical argumentation there are usually several relevant reasons, both pro and con. To complicate matters further, these reasons are often not commensurable, they may have varying degrees of merit, and judging degree of merit legitimately involves subjective factors.

An adequate theory of rhetorical argumentation needs to critically probe some of the assumptions that are widely taken for granted in argumentation studies. It cannot aim for definitive argument appraisal or rely on dichotomous criteria.

The thirteen scholars represented in this volume—all current or former affiliates of the Rhetoric program at the University of Copenhagen—develop implications of these views across a broad range of fields, contributing multiple individual perspectives. Subjects include the centrality of debate, “reasonable disagreement”, uses and failings of Toulmin’s theory, argument merit in debates on prostitution, polyphony in online debate, temporality in argument, stasis theory revived, pandemic-related argument, political commentary as perceived by readers, polemical argumentation in science, “bullshit-sniffing”, reason-giving in clinical practice, and a call for “scientist citizenship”.

Scholars and students in argumentation studies and in political science and theory will want to learn how contributions by the “Copenhagen School” connect and enrich their respective fields.