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Critical Discussion

 

Disciplines Argument > Critical Discussion

Confrontation | Opening | Argumentation | Closing | See also

 

Van Eemeren and Grootendorst (1984) describe the purpose the critical discussion as having the purpose to resolve a conflict of opinions by means of rational argumentation and describe the process as follows:

Confrontation

At the Confrontation stage, a dispute appears where the one person advances a 'point of view', whilst the other person casts doubt on that point of view or puts forward an opposing point of view.

Opening

At the Opening stage, the two parties agree to seek resolution by expressing opposing points of view, and undertake to resolve the conflict by advancing opposing rational arguments.

Argumentation

During the Argumentation stage, each side puts forward arguments to support his or her own point of view, and each takes turns questioning and criticizing the arguments put forward by the other side.

The rules for the argumentation stage are as follows:

  1. Parties must not prevent each other from advancing or casting doubt on standpoints.
  2. Whoever advances a standpoint is obliged to defend it if asked to do so.
  3. An attack on a standpoint must relate to the standpoint that has really been advanced by the protagonist.
  4. A standpoint may be defended only by advancing argumentation relating to that standpoint.
  5. A person can be held to the premises he leaves implicit.
  6. A standpoint must be regarded as conclusively defended if the defense takes place by means of the common starting points.
  7. A standpoint must be regarded as conclusively defended if the defense takes place by means of arguments in which a commonly accepted scheme of argumentation is correctly applied.
  8. The arguments used in a discursive text must be valid or capable of being validated by the explicitization of one or more unexpressed premises.
  9. A failed defense must result in the protagonist withdrawing his standpoint and a successful defense must result in the antagonist withdrawing his doubt about the standpoint.
  10. Formulations must be neither puzzlingly vague nor confusingly ambiguous and must be interpreted as accurately as possible.

Closing stage

A successful critical discussion ends in the Closing stage with the resolution of the initial conflict of opinions. It is generally considered as a win-lose argument which means that one party is deemed as successful while the other is not.

See also

Toulmin's argument model

van Eemeren, Frans H., Grootendorst, Rob, (1984). Speech Acts in Communicative Discussions. Foris, Dordrecht.

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