Critique and argumentation
On the relation between the discourse-historical approach and pragma-dialectics
At the core of critical discourse analysis lies its emancipatory agenda: arguing for social equality and against discrimination. In the case of the discourse-historical approach (DHA), this stance has been theoretically justified mainly through references to Habermas’ language-philosophy. At the same time, the analysis of actually occurring argumentative speech requires more than a theoretical underpinning of one’s critique and, here, DHA has benefitted from drawing on van Eemeren and Grootendorst’s Pragma-Dialectical argumentation theory. However, Pragma-Dialectics is not just a tool kit but rests on Popper and Albert’s critical rationalism. This results in both epistemological as well as normative conflicts at the paradigm-core of DHA between critical rationalism and Habermas’ critical theory regarding the concept of critique. In this article, we review the different epistemological and normative underpinnings of DHA and Pragma-Dialectics and discuss the consequences of implementing the latter in the former. We conclude by arguing for a coherent orientation towards Habermas’ language-philosophy in order to maintain a high degree of consistency in DHA.
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