Topoi 40 (5):925-937 (2021)

David Godden
Michigan State University
Jeffrey K. Davis
Michigan State University
Adversariality in argumentation is typically theorized as inhering in, and applying to, the interactional roles of proponent and opponent that arguers occupy. This paper considers the kinds of adversariality located in the conversational roles arguers perform while arguing—specifically listening. It begins by contending that the maximally adversarial arguer is an arguer who refuses to listen to reason by refusing to listen to another’s reasons. It proceeds to consider a list of lousy listeners in order to illustrate the variety of ways that the conversational role of listener can be performed adversarially. Because conversational roles, while not adversarial by nature, can be enacted adversarially, arguers are properly subject to praise and blame for their performances of these roles. Thus, the paper concludes, argumentation theory stands in need of an articulated normative vocabulary and theory to codify, apply, explain, and justify the norms of listening governing, guiding, and appraising arguers’ performances of listening in argumentation.
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DOI 10.1007/s11245-020-09730-1
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