Output 2

Theoretical module

Arguments and argumentation

This module introduces basic rhetorical terms and concepts. The theoretical rhetorical heritage i is rich and it is not possible to present it exhaustively. The aim of this module is to focus on some terms that are grouped together. This module is hyperlinked to the glossary. This is an open module and can be added to by anyone teaching rhetoric, according to their requirements, programmes, traditions and individual approach. This section also allows for independent study. The module is oriented towards self-organization of the time and the way of studying rhetoric, discovering in the text itself available resources – mainly these are the definitions in the different parts in the glossary.

The purpose of the module is to introduce traditional and new rhetorical concepts, perspectives and possibility.

  • Definitions of rhetoric and types of rhetoric
  • Basic terms
  • Monological rhetorical genres
  • Dialogic rhetorical genres and formats
  • Arguments and argumentation
  • Rhetorical figures and tropes
  • Bibliography

Argumentation and arguments

Argumentation is related to the basic purpose of rhetoric, defined by Aristotle “Rhetoric is „the faculty of discovering in any particular case all of the available means of persuasion.” (Aristotle 1986: 45). Argumentation is an indispensable part of rhetoric, and Aristotle goes on to say, “The evidence supplied by speech is of three kinds: one is found in the character of the speaker, another in his ability to bring the hearer to a certain mood, and a third in the speech itself, in its fitness to prove or to seem to prove” (Aristotle 1986: 45).

In subsequent works on rhetoric over the millennia, several directions develop. Here are just a few:

Clarifying the types of arguments.

Arguments vary by different criteria, here only some of them are listed, and definitions of some of them can be found in the dictionary. These are argument from substance, argument against the individual, argument from/to authority, argument against the individual, argument from strength, populist argument, compassion/empathy argument, etc.

Structuring the argument – Structure of argumentation

Argumentation can be structured using the familiar methods of logic: induction, deduction, analogy. Arguments are used both in monologic rhetorical statements and in dialogic ones. In preparation, counterarguments are sometimes prepared and used to challenge the opponent’s thesis and in debates and disputes. The selection of arguments is very important; it is part of the process of structuring an argument and requires critical thinking skills to judge the strength of the argument and whether it will contribute to persuading the audience.

In constructing the argument, what matters is what the sources from which the arguments are selected are, if these are credible sources, what authority they enjoy, to what extent they are accessible and if the data in them are verifiable. Such sources can be scientific publications and research results, legal documents, administrative documents, statistical data, monitoring data, media, history, fiction, films, party documents, institutional documents, business records, archives, personal experience, etc.

Defining visual and multimodal arguments.

Lio Groarke, on what a multimodal argument is, argues that the main reason for adopting multimodal arguments is the notion that an argument is an attempt to support a conclusion by presenting evidence for it – something that can obviously be done in ways that extend beyond premises and conclusions understood as declarative sentences (Groarke, 2013: 34). The author believes that a multimodal argument can be developed based on visual and non-verbal elements: photographs, map, paintings, films, stories told. (Groarke, 2013: 36).

Design of argumentation on the Internet

Marcin Lewiński presents in his book some positions, one of them is about proof on the Internet, about ‘argumentation design’ and ‘computer-mediated design’ (Lewiński, 2010: p. 38). He talks about ‘providing a quote or link’/pattern and believes that hyperlinking should be used, which is a ‘simple technological capability that has become a vital part of online culture’; he adds that it is a specific way of presenting argumentation online (Lewiński, 2010: pp. 140-141).

Rhetoric: theory, arguments, practical orientation, critical thinking

At the end of the 20th century, a trend began to produce handbooks, manuals, and practice-oriented texts that attempted to adapt the theoretical rhetorical heritage to practice.

  • Lanham, R. L. (1991). A Handlist of Rhetorical terms. 2nd ed. Buckley, Los Angelis, London: University of California Press.

This trend has intensified in the first decades of the 21st century, with a new trend emerging, namely the intensification of pragmatism: giving advice, recommendations, and guidance in order to achieve rhetorical effects and impact on the audience.

One of the books published and reprinted in various translations is that of Carsten Bredemeyer, which contains communicative and rhetorical techniques that are used, combined and applied in various situations to achieve effect, influence and even manipulation.

  • Bredemeyer, K. (2014, 2019). Black rhetoric. Power and the magic of words. (Irina Ulyanova, E. Zhevaga – translator). Moscow: Alpina Publisher.

Critical thinking is accepted as an integral part of solid rhetorical knowledge and of the skills to prepare the speaker, debater, and negotiator to evaluate the argumentation, sources, and behaviour of opponents. Two books by the following authors, Stella Cottrell and Colin Swatridge, stand out:

  • Cottrell, S. (2005). Critical Thinking Skills. Developing Effective Analysis and Argument. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Swatridge, C. (2014). The Guide to Effective Argument and Critical Thinking. USA. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Martha Collins and Loretta Gray find intersections between rhetoric and grammar, and again the pragmatic approach is dominant. The text references the age-old principles and traditions that knowledge of grammar is the foundation for an orator’s success.

  • Kollin, M. & Gray, L. (2012). Rhetorical Grammar. Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects. 7th edition. Boston, Tokyo: Pearson.

See the Glossary section for definitions of some arguments.

See the Rhetoric Online Reference at for definitions.

Scientific publications related to arguments and argumentation:

  • Christian Plantin. (2016). Dictionnaire de l’argumentation. Une introduction aux études d’argumentation, Lyon, ENS Éditions, coll. „Langages”.’argumentation_Une_introduction_aux_etudes_d’argumentation_Lyon_ENS_Editions_2016_634_pages Retrieved on 10.08.2021.

  • Jimenes, Catano, R. (2012). Ragione e persona nella persuasione. Testi su dialogo e argomentazione. Roma: Santa Croce University. 
  • Lausberg. (1998).  Handbook of Literary Rhetoric. Editors: David Orotn, Dean Anderson.  Matthew T. Bliss (Translator), Annemiek Jansen (Translator). 
  • Cattani, А. (2008). Logical and Rhetorical Rules of Debates. Dialogue and Rhetoric. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 119-132.

  • Perelman, C. (1963). The idea of justice and problem of argument. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

  • Perelman, H. & Berman, H. J. (1980). Justice, law, and argument. Essays on moral and legal reasoning. Dortrech: Reidel.

  • Ботева, М. (2008). Речник по реторика 150 аргумента на оратора. София: Парадигма.

– Boteva, M. (2008). Dictionary of Rhetoric – 150 Arguments of the Orator. Sofia. Paradime.

  • Стефанова, Н. (2015). Кратък терминологичен справочник по обща и политическа реторика. София: УИ Св. Климент Охридски“.
  • Stefanova, N. (2015). A short terminological guide to general and political rhetoric. Sofia: Sofia University Kliment Ohridski Press.

Visual argumentation

  • Žagar, I. Ž. (2020). On inference, understanding and interpretation in visual argumentation: Challenges and problem. Rhetoric and Communications, issue 44, July, 2021, 24-54., Retrieved on 10.08.2021.

Argumentation and the Internet

  • Lewiński, M. (2010). Internet Political Discussion Forums as an Argumentative Activity Type. A Pragma-Dialectical Analysis of Online Forums of Strategic Manoeuvring in Reacting Critically. Lugano-Amsterdam: Sic Sat.

  • Lewiński, M. (2011). Dicalectical Trade-offs in the Design of Proticols fro Computer-Madiated Deliberation, Studies in Logic. Grammar and Rhetoric, 23 (36): 225-241.

  • Lewiński, M. & Mohammed, D. (2012). Deliberative Design or Unintended Consequences. The Argumenttaive Ises of Facebook during the Arab Spring. Journal of Public Deliberation, Volume 8, Issue 1, Article 11, 1-11.