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Cogent Science in ContextThe Science Wars, Argumentation Theory, and Habermas$
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William Rehg

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262182713

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262182713.001.0001

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Three Dimensions of Argument Cogency—A Contextualist Case Study

Three Dimensions of Argument Cogency—A Contextualist Case Study

(p.240) (p.241) 8 Three Dimensions of Argument Cogency—A Contextualist Case Study
Cogent Science in Context

William Rehg

The MIT Press

In this chapter, the critical-contextualist approach is applied to a case study in which the findings of three expert committee reports on the possible links between diet and health are analyzed. Such committee reports sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) are helpful in explaining the cogency of scientific argumentation. This case analysis, by using different source materials and argumentation-theoretic tools, highlights three directions of normative concern on the part of participants. These directions include the content of the reports, the quality of the committee transactions, and the public merits of the reports. The chapter concludes with the discussion of tensions in the rhetorical use of process ideals that are identified after examining the debates surrounding the reports and NAS procedures.

Keywords:   critical-contextualist approach, scientific argumentation, NAS, case analysis, argument cogency, expert committee reports

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