Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: April 07, 2011 | Print ISBN: 9781412927482 | Online ISBN: 9781412994088| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Argument, Power of
Argument is the provision of reasons to justify a conclusion. One alternative is bargaining where the interested parties “cut a deal” so that they all satisfy at least some of their interests. Another alternative is assertion, where willfulness is sufficient justification for proposed action. Assertion goes straight to the conclusion, bypassing the process of justification. Why is justification important? The answer takes us to the power of argument: justification disconnects judgments of the legitimacy of the proposal from the quantum of power of the proposer (“do it or else”) and reconnects them to the qualitative merits of the proposal (“I accept your reasons”). This entry deals mainly with the public power of argument in managing social and political conflict, but says little about the pure power of logic or the framework of fallacies of bad argument treated in philosophical analysis. Argument involves claims about evidence and usually stops short of ...