Goodwin, Jean. “What, in Practice, Is an Argument?” In Dissensus and the Search for Common Ground, edited by Hans V. Hansen, Christopher W. Tindale, J. Anthony Blair and Ralph H. Johnson, 1-44. Windsor, ON: OSSA, 2007.
Theorists’ conceptions of argument inevitably color their interpretations of argumentative discourse. In this paper, I will try to reach past our theories and capture a conception of argument held by practitioners. Using methodologies from corpus linguistics, I will identify what participants in the U.S. congressional debate over entry into the first Gulf War took to be “an argument.”