1st Edition

The Anthropology of Argument Cultural Foundations of Rhetoric and Reason

By Christopher W. Tindale Copyright 2021
    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    This innovative text reinvigorates argumentation studies by exploring the experience of argument across cultures, introducing an anthropological perspective into the domains of rhetoric, communication, and philosophy.

    The Anthropology of Argument fills an important gap in contemporary argumentation theory by shifting the focus away from the purely propositional element of arguments and onto how they emerge from the experiences of peoples with diverse backgrounds, demonstrating how argumentation can be understood as a means of expression and a gathering place of ideas and styles. Confronting the limitations of the Western tradition of logic and searching out the argumentative roles of place, orality, myth, narrative, and audience, it examines the nature of multi-modal argumentation. Tindale analyzes the impacts of colonialism on the field and addresses both optimistic and cynical assessments of contextual differences. The results have implications for our understanding of contemporary argumentative discourse in areas marked by deep disagreement, like politics, law, and social policy.

    The book will interest scholars and upper-level students in communication, philosophy, argumentation theory, anthropology, rhetoric, linguistics, and cultural studies.


    1. Early Encounters and the Blending of Argumentative Cultures

    2. Beneath the Text: Argumentation and the Pretexts of Orality

    3. Intercultural Reason and the Preliminary Conditions of Argumentation

    4. The Places of Argument

    5. Myth and Argument

    6. Reasons in a Narrative Form

    7. Reasons and the Power of Oral Traditions

    8. Deep Diversity and Deep Disagreement 

    Conclusion: Recovering Multi-Modal Argumentation


    Christopher W. Tindale is Director of the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation, and Rhetoric (CRRAR) and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Windsor.