'You're being unreasonable': Prior and passing theories of critical discussion

John E. Richardson*, Albert Atkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A key and continuing concern within the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation is how to account for effective persuasion disciplined by dialectical rationality. Currently, van Eemeren and Houtlosser offer one response to this concern in the form of strategic manoeuvring. This paper offers a prior/passing theory of communicative interaction as a supplement to the strategic manoeuvring approach. Our use of a prior/passing model investigates how a difference of opinion can be resolved while both dialectic obligations of reasonableness and rhetorical ambitions of argumentative success are simultaneously accommodated. The paper explores the model with particular reference to the pragma-dialectical rules of critical discussion, strategic manoeuvring and fallacious reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-166
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical discussion
  • Fallacies
  • Interpretation
  • Passing theory
  • Pragma-dialectics
  • Prior theory
  • Reasonableness
  • Strategic manoeuvring


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