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Argumentative Invention and Public Debate - A Sociological Perspective on the Origin of Good Arguments





Analyzing how public debates affect social processes needs a critical reflection about the status given to argumentation by models in social sciences. This paper examines the conditions in which arguments could transform the positions of actors involved in a debate. The strength of an argument is not located in an underlying social struggle or in a pure logical space. It depends on the links it produces between three types of constraints: the set of tangible evidences which are used by actors; the compatibility of different representations and interests in a common computational space; at last, new ways of thinking the relationships between past, present and future. Then, debates appear like moments of invention of new argumentative features that are able to resist against critical variations. When the invention of argumentation can be developed, public debates are producing a new common sense for the actors.

Suggested Citation

  • Francis CHATEAURAYNAUD, 2004. "Argumentative Invention and Public Debate - A Sociological Perspective on the Origin of Good Arguments," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 47, pages 191-213.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2004:i:47:p:191-213

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    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General


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