A Pragmatic Theory of Argument
Routledge – 2000 – 408 pages
This book works through some of the theoretical issues that have been accumulating in informal logic over the past 20 years. At the same time, it defines a core position in the theory of argument in which those issues can be further explored. The underlying concern that motivates this work is the health of practice of argumentation as an important cultural artifact. A further concern is for logic as a discipline. Argumentative and dialectical in nature, this book presupposes some awareness of the theory of argument in recent history, and some familiarity with the positions that have been advanced. It will be of interest to academics, researchers, and advanced undergraduate and graduate students in the disciplines of logic, rhetoric, linguistics, speech communication, English composition, and psychology.
"Manifest Rationality is an important book, because it presents a detailed assessment of the way in which informal logic, as opposed to formal deductive logic, deals with the problems which a theory of argument poses, and because it attempts to develop the informal logic approach by basing it, more consistently than has been done so far, on a pragmatic and dialectical conception of argument. A major value of the book consists in providing a clear and comprehensive overview of the concerns of informal logic. But, above all, of course, the book's value lies in bringing informal logic up to date by incorporating into it the dialectical and pragmatic dimensions which modern argumentation theories such as formal dialectics and pragma-dialectics have shown to be crucial to the study of argument….For specialists in the field and advanced students of argumentation theory the book will be of great interest."
"In this ambitious work, there are many matters of detail to inspire interest….For anyone who is interested in real and realistic arguments, and current theorizing about them Manifest Rationality will be an important book to study."
—History & Philosophy
"Johnson's thorough review of twentieth century developments in informal logic and argument theory, development of a more pragmatic theory of argument, and advocacy of a more dialogically-engaged argumentation pedagogy make Manifest Rationality worth the investment."
—The Southern Communication Journal
Contents: Preface. Introduction. Part I: The Historical Context. Context: Argumentation as a Cultural Practice. Context: The Study of Argumentation. Paradigm Abandoned: Critique of Deductivism. Lessons From the Past. Part II: A Pragmatic Theory of Argument. Informal Logic: An Alternative Theory of Argument. Argument as Manifest Rationality: A Pragmatic Conception. What Makes a Good Argument? Toward a Theory of Evaluation. Principles of Criticism. Part III: Matters Dialectical. Criticisms, Objections, and Replies. Alternative Theories of Argument. Outstanding Issues and the Research Agenda. Retrospect and Prospect.