Conceptions of speech acts in the theory and practice of argumentation

Posted on 20 April 14

Goodwin, Jean. (2014).  Conceptions of speech acts in the theory and practice of argumentation: A case study of a debate about advocatingStudies in Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric, 36 (49), 79-98.

Far from being of interest only to argumentation theorists, concep- tions of speech acts play an important role in practitioners’ self-reflection on their own activities. After a brief review of work by Houtlosser, Jackson and Kauffeld on the ways that speech acts provide normative frameworks for argu- mentative interactions, this essay examines an ongoing debate among scientists in natural resource fields as to the appropriateness of the speech act of advocat- ing in policy settings. Scientists’ reflections on advocacy align well with current scholarship, and the scholarship in turn can provide a deeper understanding of how to manage the communication challenges scientists face.

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