Argument Has No Function
Douglas Walton has been right in calling us to attend to the pragmatics of argument. He has, however, also insisted that arguments should be understood and assessed by considering the functions they perform; and from this, I dissent. Argument has no determinable function in the sense Walton needs, and even if it did, that function would not ground norms for argumentative practice. As an alternative to a functional theory of argumentative pragmatics, I propose a design view, which draws attention to the way participants strategically undertake and impose norms on themselves in order for their arguments to have force.
This article is from Informal Logic Vol. 27, No. 1 (2007): pp. 69-90. Posted with permission.