Conviction, Persuasion, and Argumentation: Untangling the Ends and Means of Influence

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15 Scopus citations


This essay offers a start on sorting out the relationships of argumentation and persuasion by identifying two systematic ways in which definitions of argumentation differ, namely, their descriptions of the ends and of the means involved in argumentative discourse. Against that backdrop, the traditional "conviction-persuasion" distinction is reassessed. The essay argues that the traditional distinction correctly recognizes the difference between the end of influencing attitudes and that of influencing behavior-but that it misanalyzes the means of achieving the latter (by focusing on emotional arousal) and that it mistakenly contrasts "rational" and "emotional" means of influence. The larger conclusion is that understanding the relationships of the phenomena of argumentation and persuasion will require close attention to characterizations of communicative ends and means.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Argumentation
  • Conviction
  • Persuasion
  • Rational influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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