What Does an Argument Culture Look Like?

David Zarefsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


However the term “culture” is defined, a culture becomes an argument culture when it is characterized by consciousness of audience, comfort with uncertainty, expectation of personal convictions, commitment to justification rather than formal proof, realization that the enterprise is essentially cooperative, and willingness to assume risks. Such a culture productively negotiates tensions between contingency and commitment, partisanship and restraint, personal conviction and sensitivity to audience, reasonableness and subjectivity, decision and nonclosure. This essay originally was presented as a keynote address at the 8th conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation, at the University of Windsor in 2009, and subsequently was published in Informal Logic, 29, 299–310. The theme of the conference was “argument cultures” and the essay responds to that theme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationArgumentation Library
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameArgumentation Library
ISSN (Print)1566-7650
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1907


  • Argument culture
  • Audience
  • Cooperative argumentation
  • Justification
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


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