ERIC Number: ED245281
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
Teaching the Cognitive Context of Argument.
The two chief approaches to teaching argumentation and invention over the centuries have been first presenting a formal, abstract system, such as logic or topic, then emphasizing audience analysis. Sometimes these have been seen as alternatives, and sometimes as complements. Cursory attention is often paid to the ideal of investigating audience psychology, perhaps quoting Plato's "Phaedrus," but students often end up with a primarily demographic checklist of things to find out about their intended targets such as age, education, and present attitudes. Then they are informed about logic or stock issues. Rarely are the two approaches integrated successfully. According to Boethius, there is a distinction between argumentation and argument. When a belief regarding a matter is in doubt, the argument is the strength, mental content, and sense of argumentation; argumentation is the actual unfolding of the argument by means of discourse. Students should initially be taught the difference between the rhetor's argument and the presentation or argumentation of the thought. This emphasizes from the beginning that argument is psychological and prepares the student for commitment to argument considered cognitively. The paper describes the rationale for teaching the cognitive context of argument and argumentation, presents an example of an approach to value argument, and discusses the role of the unconscious. In helping students to understand their own values, lexical universes, and ways of constructing argumentations, and to pay attention to human psychology and the cognitive context of argument, teachers can assist students in teaching themselves to argue well. (CRH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Central States Speech Association (Chicago, IL, April 12-14, 1984).