Goals in Argumentation: A Proposal for the Analysis and Evaluation of Public Political Arguments

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In this paper, I review and compare major literature on goals in argumentation scholarship, aiming to answer the question of how to take the different goals of arguers into account when analysing and evaluating public political arguments. On the basis of the review, I suggest to differentiate between the different goals along two important distinctions: first, distinguish between goals which are intrinsic to argumentation and goals which are extrinsic to it and second distinguish between goals of the act of arguing and goals of argumentative interactions. Furthermore, I propose to analyse public political arguments as multi-purposive activity types and reconstruct the argumentative exchanges as a series of simultaneous discussions. This enables us to examine public political arguments from a perspective in which the intrinsic goals of argumentation are in principle instrumental for the achievement of the socio-political purposes of argumentation, and consequently, it makes our assessment of the argumentative quality of the argument also indicative of the quality of the socio-political processes to which the arguments contribute.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-245
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Act of arguing
  • Activity types
  • Argumentative interactions
  • Constitutive goal
  • Dialogue types
  • Extrinsic goals
  • Emancipatory potential
  • European Parliament
  • Function of argumentation
  • Intrinsic goals
  • Purposes of argumentation
  • Simultaneous discussions
  • Uses of argumentation


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