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ERIC Number: ED341097
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Oct
Pages: 20
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Spheres of Argument: Academic Debate as a Mirror of the Overlap between the Technical and Public Spheres.
Rowland, Robert C.
Few concepts in argumentation theory have produced as much discussion as the idea that argument practices can be divided into distinct public, technical, and private spheres. The first important question relating to the spheres concept is whether the distinction between the spheres is useful. The second primary issue concerns the degree to which technical reasoning has usurped the public sphere's power over decisions regarding technology. The third issue concerns how to solve the imbalance between public and technical decision making. Both require technical data and resolve issues by means of rhetorical processes. However, some issues can only be decided by experts, while others demand no expertise. It appears that the border between the public and technical spheres can be placed where argument data is no longer intelligible to an intelligent layman. The absence of focus on public policy reflects the fundamental stability of the system. Through competition among various groups, the work of the nation gets done. Argumentation theory should return to the field concept, with spheres viewed as general groupings of fields organized around the shared purpose of the activity in question. Theorists need to devise an explanation of how argument develops among the main actors in the public arena. (SG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A