Corpus Linguistics Methods in the Study of (Meta)Argumentation

Argumentation 35 (3):435-455 (2020)
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As more and more sophisticated software is created to allow the mining of arguments from natural language texts, this paper sets out to examine the suitability of the well-established and readily available methods of corpus linguistics to the study of argumentation. After brief introductions to corpus linguistics and the concept of meta-argument, I describe three pilot-studies into the use of the terms Straw man, Ad hominem, and Slippery slope, made using the open access News on the Web corpus. The presence of each of these phrases on internet news sites was investigated and assessed for correspondence to the norms of use by argumentation theorists. All three pilot-studies revealed interesting facts about the usage of the terms by non-specialists, and led to numerous examples of the types of arguments mentioned. This suggests such corpora may be of use in two different ways: firstly, the wider project of improving public debate and educating the populace in the skills of critical thinking can only be helped by a better understanding of the current state of knowledge of the technical terms and concepts of argumentation. Secondly, theorists could obtain a more accurate picture of how arguments are used, by whom, and to what reception, allowing claims on such matters to be evidence, rather than intuition, based.



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References found in this work

The Uses of Argument.Stephen E. Toulmin - 1958 - Philosophy 34 (130):244-245.
Fallacies.C. L. Hamblin - 1970 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 160:492-492.
Introduction to Logical Theory.P. F. Strawson - 1954 - Philosophy 29 (108):78-80.
Fallacies and Argument Appraisal.Christopher W. Tindale - 2007 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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