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Perelmans Argumentation Theory And International Relations Philosophy Essay

The reason for this essay is to outline the key notions of Chaim Perelman's philosophy as presented in The Realm of Rhetoric. Allow it be pointed out here that Perelman never planned his book to be a methodological study book, but a concise focus on what justification of ideals appears like in sensible discourse. Still, his works have been widely applied as a methodological tool in the field of international relations. From outlining Perelman's philosophy I will proceed onto how it has been applied in international relationships research. In the last part of my article, I will study how to use Perelman's work in my research.


Initially, the Polish-born philosopher Chaim Perelman transported his research in legislations and philosophy along the lines of logical positivism. In 1944, Perelman completed an empiricist review on justice, "De La Justice". In his research he concluded that the applications of regulations always involve value judgments, and since values cannot be subjected to the rules of logic, the foundations of justice must be arbitrary. Perelman found his own conclusions untenable since value judgments are an integral part of all useful reasoning and decision-making. To deny the worthiness judgments means denying the rational foundations of school of thought, politics, laws and ethics. Due to his own empiricist analysis, Perelman declined his positivism, absorbing influences from the philosophies that provided a rationale for value judgments. Corresponding to him, the effectiveness of rational positivism was limited by the applications of "pure science". Regressive philosophies that provide a rationale for value judgments were just as untenable for him because metaphysics' self-evident axioms - only 1 perceived mistake would cause the metaphysical construction and its claims for universal truths to collapse. Common alternatives, especially the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre, do not elicit any sympathy from Perelman either: Perelman says that Sartre basically replaces absolutes of metaphysicism with overall skepticism.

In 1948 Perelman fulfilled with Madame Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, with whom he placed on a cooperation project, the goal of which was to develop a beliefs that avoided the absolutes of both positivism and radical relativism. Their basic question can be portrayed as: "What does justification of beliefs "appear to be" in genuine, verbal discourse? In other words, they set to research non-formal quarrels.

Together with Olbrechts-Tytega, Perelman created a theory of rhetoric and argumentation, founded upon Greco-Latin rhetoric, as the foundation for a reasoning of value judgments. Their multidisciplinary review, TraitЁ de l'argumentation la nouvelle rhtorique was shared in French in 1958. This work, where Perelman and Olbrechts-Tytega create their theory of rhetoric and argumentation, is the foundation of Perelman's The World of Rhetoric, where he broadens the initial work further. Relying heavily on the works of Aristotle, Perelman concludes that rather than aspiring to universal truths, philosophy in reality is more concerned with persuading specific audiences to simply accept its promises. For Perelman, a performing beliefs (which would stimulate action and essential aspects of being) should be made on probabilities, not "universal truths", and it will also have the ability to take propositions of ideals stemming from its reception by particular audiences.


Rhetoric and theory of argumentation form the central central of Perelman's thought. Perelman's research of argumentation is the analysis of discursive techniques that induce or raise the mind's adherence to the theses provided because of its assent. As Arnold proposes, Perelman's "realm of rhetoric" is the entire world of argumentative discourse. Perelman's rhetoric is dependant on the idea that since argumentation is aimed at securing the adherence of these to whom it is dealt with, argumentation is relative to the audience to be affected. Thus, rhetoric is an artwork of persuasion.

3. 1. Audience and the premises of argumentation

Argumentation is a person-centered activity - it is personal because it begins with the premises that the audience accepts. As for the audience, Perelman sticks to the twin principles of a particular audience and a widespread audience; whilst every argument is aimed to a specific individual or an organization, it is up to the loudspeaker to decide what information and data will win the greatest adherence regarding to an ideal audience. The aim of all argumentation is to move an audience from an contract on the premises for an agreement about some final result, to change an audience's convictions through discourse, gain a gathering of minds instead of imposing its will through constraint or fitness. Thus, all argumentation must begin from bases of contract effectively accepted by the audience prior to the discussion. Perelman differentiates between two types of bases of contract: the first category contain facts and truths, the next of the prices and hierarchies. Facts and truths here can be known as supposedly having been accepted by the general audience, whereas the second category, the prices, that can be concrete and abstract, are not universal. Establishing prices as a starting place of argumentation is important as they could effect action and determine good behavior. Prices are usually organized in hierarchies, for occasion the superiority of the "just" in the "useful"; as a starting point for argumentation - an audience may value both but in argument arranged a preference between the two.

The last argument starting point, to draw the attention of the audience, is building a presence. Perelman identifies creating and evoking occurrence as a method belonging uniquely in the world of rhetoric, achieving beyond space and time; convincing an audience through their thoughts.

3. 2. Techniques of argumentation

As the non-formal debate is determined by the adherence of any audience, the orator must ensure that his successive components of an argument will be accepted or adhered to by the audience. Perelman offers two basic techniques to achieve this: first of all, the relationship through quasi-logical quarrels, and attracts truth; secondly - responding to incompatible views through dissociation of principles.

Quasi-logical arguments resemble logical, numerical thinking. However, a quasi-logical discussion always presupposes adherence to non-formal theses which by itself allow the program of the discussion. An example of this would be a parlamentarian presenting budget figures in the Parliament, with the aim of initiating yet another rescue package for bankers. He/she presents genuine characters but purports them in a certain way in his argumentation, to be able to encourage his/her audience.

Association through attractive to reality, on the other side, refers to affirming of a causal tie between phenomena. Out of this vantage point argumentation can be aimed toward the seek out causes, the persistence of results, and the evaluation of a fact by its repercussions, which in some cases causes further inquiries. A straightforward example of this may be a discovery of any corpse and the consequences that follow this specific action. Other ways of argumentation by attractive to reality include examples, illustrations, models and analogy.

The second strategy - dissociation of ideas - the orator uses when the tenets of a disagreement are incompatible with accepted opinion. Perelman's view is that when faced with the incompatibilities that regular thought encounters, a person attempts to solve it in a theoretically satisfying manner by reestablishing a coherent eyesight of reality by dissociating the ideas accepted in the start. A good example of this dissociation for an appearance vs. fact, a practice found immediately or indirectly in every dissociations, could be an oar plunged in to the water - it seems broken however when we touch it, it is direct. Accordingly, appearances offer an equivocal position - some of them match simple fact but sometimes they are just a way to obtain an illusion.


First and foremost, Perelman was a philosopher, not really a theoretician in neuro-scientific international relations. Subsequently, as far as I have understood it, he never directed his task on rhetoric and argumentation theory, neither his book The World of Rhetoric, to be used as a e book of methodology in any academic discipline per se.

Anyway, in the past two decades there's been a whole lot of research in neuro-scientific international relationships that concentrate on the impact of the politics of have a discussion, or linguistic techniques on world politics. Rhetoric and argumentation theory have been used extensively as a method. However, in my opinion, different scholarly communities seem to be seeking different agendas on different message boards, and regardless of the overlaps, complementarities and possible unification of how words concerns in politics, appears to be beyond reach.

The different kinds of "talk" - bargaining, rhetoric, commonplaces, legal discussion, verbal fighting - take place in different forums in the sectarian field of international relations. The different discussion boards vary in the amount to that they are public, or rule-governed/institutionalized. The have a discussion of politics also exerts its effects through different mechanisms - legitimization, representational pressure, grafting, framing, persuasion, coercion. The political effects of discussion are manifold: the resolution or the escalation of the discord, the popularity of or level of resistance to authority and domination, the construction and transformation of identities and narratives, etc.

What I'd conclude about Perelman's rhetoric and theory of argumentation in the world of international relations, is that as a method it is rather adaptable and versatile, and they have thus been used thoroughly. An itemized report on using Perlman's viewpoint as a way in different studies in international relationships, apart from on the general level, as in the last chapter, would run tens of webpages.

When trying to find examples of studies in neuro-scientific international relations, where Perelman's school of thought have been applied as a way, the most interesting one I stumbled upon was a report by the Viennese researcher Markus Kornprobst, called International Relations as Rhetorical Self-control. Kornprobst proposes that the "irreconcilable" distinctions and debates inside the fragmented self-discipline of international relations are not that irreconcilable and immeasurable in any way - if we understand the willpower in Perelmanian conditions. He proposes, borrowing from Bakhtin and Gadamer that people should comprehend international relationships as a field of overlapping paradigms, which are not hermetically covered and sectarian. Speechlessness, non-communication inside the self-control can be get over by uncovering overlaps. Second, he argues that this can be applied even to the most "irreconcilable" epistemological dissimilarities (positivism/postpositivism) inside the discipline. His heuristic vehicle for uncovering overlaps is a classification of epistemological stances in Old Greece, which in Kornprobst's review begins from the thesis that international relations is a rhetorical self-control; predicated on its Aristotelian truth claims, the modes of reasoning and its manner of disseminating what's taken to be knowledge. Thus, the epistemological distinctions inside the willpower are in fact not irreconcilable in any way. Dialogue can develop out of the overlap of the horizons and (re)produce the distributed dialect across horizons on which a scholarly community is based.


I have planned to write my Master's thesis on Thailand's democratization process and the nationwide id of Thainess. I am still at the early stages in my own thesis. However, I am planning to use an interdisciplinary theoretical framework in my thesis, along the lines of the political considered Robert J. Cox, Antonio Gramsci, Karl Polanyi and Gianbattista Vico. Let it be brought up here that we am only starting to outline the theoretical framework of my thesis, so the method I will use is still open.

However, my purpose is to study how the American idea of democracy has been implemented in the local Thai context so the concept of democracy has been assimilated to the strong land state by the local competing elites. In this technique, the neighborhood elites have used the idea of democracy as an instrument of order and self-discipline. This elite liberal democracy has been used to set-up Western-style projects, which creating a countrywide identity of Thai-ness -project is a best example to reduce diverse segments of inhabitants. Thus, the liberal democracy is a kind of ideological tool to secure hegemony to regulate and discipline the population. An important area of the hegemonic process is immersing for example the civil culture, various people's moves and democracy it into creating obedient citizens, who will act as guardians to the elite and their interest. At the heart of the national identity task in Thailand's particular "case" is the monarchy.

My emphasis would be on the socio-cultural interplay between rulers and ruled within condition problems over hegemony leading to different ways along which domination and level of resistance can be examined. Primarily, I thought my emphasis would not be on economics and on the cost-effective analysis, however through the research process my research is directing me increasingly more towards the international political economy and critical geography.

When it comes to the applicability of Perelman's rhetoric and argumentation theory to my thesis as a way, the argumentative procedure would be easily appropriate. As footnote here: Gramsci offers an extremely elastic body of thinking, which demands interdisciplinarity and open-mindedness - exactly like Perelman's philosophy does.

A good starting place to use Perelman in my own research will be the central idea in Gramsci's thinking, specifically hegemony. Hegemony is a multilayered theory; it functions within the duality push/consent and violence/persuasion that to Gramsci characterizes the type of ability. It acquires concrete framework and specific content especially during those periods in history in which the people or the public either form the bottom for political action or become a drive in politics. According to Gramsci, capitalism preserves control not only through political and monetary coercion and make but also ideologically, by way of a hegemonic culture. Any category that would like to dominate in a world, has to move beyond economic-corporate pursuits, to exert moral and intellectual impact and make alliances and compromises with different cultural forces to make a counter-hegemonic traditional bloc.

Applying Perelman's rhetoric and theory of argumentation in analyzing Gramsci's notion of hegemony would mean analyzing each day argumentative discourse in public areas policy, in my thesis it could involve the dichotomy between your have difficulties of the subaltern classes versus the prominent elites. What's the dominating discourse in holding onto power of the various elites and exactly how is it used to solidify the sovereignty of the authoritarian express over different sections of society battling for power? What exactly are the areas of the dominant discourse, political, inexpensive - and social?

As Gramsci recognizes the world as an organic and natural process, much like the modern physics, he also sees the prevailing hegemony as an activity on many levels, including the struggle between your authoritarian talk about and subaltern classes. Thus, the annals of the subaltern classes and counterhegemonical forces is bound to be sporadic, with respect to the politics space that the subaltern classes have the ability to create for themselves at certain times of history. What is the public discourse and the argumentative discourse of the subaltern classes like, and what exactly are its implications when the area the subaltern makes create for themselves at these historical periods? How to interpret the have a discussion of politics in my own research?

In many respects, Perelman's rhetoric and theory of argumentation offers an extremely interesting and productive tool for my own research. However, as I am still writing my very own research plan and doing the background research, I will leave the choice of which method to use, available.


In this article, I have tried out to describe Chaim Perelman's sometimes obscure beliefs on rhetoric and theory of argumentation. Perelman's theory has been broadly applied as a methodological tool in the overlapping fields of research in the educational self-discipline of international relationships. As it pertains down to my own research, I find that Perelman's rhetoric and theory of argumentation is certainly one possible option I could as a methodological tool.


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