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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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Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap

Three Rhetorical Perspectives on Science

(p.57) 3 Closing the Gap
Cogent Science in Context

William Rehg

The MIT Press

This chapter explores three “rhetorics of science” that attempted to ”bridge Kuhn’s Gap” with analysis of persuasion and to accommodate the logical and social-institutional perspectives. These accounts of science include Marcello Pera’s abstract normative dialectics, Lawrence Prelli’s communitarian rhetoric, and Bruno Latour’s antinormative rhetoric of science. The chapter emphasizes that conceptions of cogency are rejected in terms of the intrinsic or process-independent merits of arguments in all of these models. It further emphasizes that Latour’s Machiavellian model gives natural phenomena a constitutive role in persuasive argumentation and at the same time addresses the broader social process of science as it occurs in a context populated by a range of social actors, groups, and institutions.

Keywords:   rhetorics of science, Kuhn’s Gap, Marcello Pera, abstract normative dialectics, Lawrence Prelli, communitarian rhetoric, Bruno Latour, antinormative rhetoric

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