Christian Plantin – Dictionnaire de l’argumentation. Une introduction aux étudesd’argumentation” (2016). Review – Ivanka Mavrodieva, GerganaApostolova “Dictionnaire de l’argumentation. Une introduction aux étudesd’argumentation” (2016), by Christian Plantin

Christian Plantin – Dictionnaire de l'argumentation. Une introduction aux étudesd'argumentation” (2016). Review - Ivanka Mavrodieva, GerganaApostolova “Dictionnaire de l'argumentation. Une introduction aux étudesd'argumentation”  (2016), by Christian PlantinDictionnaire de l’argumentation. Une introduction aux étudesd’argumentation, author and compiler Christian Plantin was published in 2016 in Lion by ENS and its volume is of 639 pages.

Christian Plantin is a professor at the University of Lion. He is a researcher of Joint Research Unit ICAR (Interactions, Corpus, Learning, Representation). Christian Plantin is a philologist,  a linguist and a theoretician of argumentation who publishes the results of his studies  and analyses of argumentation. The main areas of his research are argumentation, emotions and pragmatic interactions.  

The Dictionnaire de l’argumentation gives a systematic presentation of arguments and argumentation and there are sufficient grounds to take it as a fundamental research in this field.   The author has profound knowledge and understanding of the arguments and argumentation which are markedly manifested in each of the articles. The terms and the concepts follow alphabetically. The origin of the basic concepts related to argumentation is stated in the texts. What is more, special attention is paid to the introduction of these concepts into the specific fields of study of researchers and research teams and schools from different universities in different countries around the world as well as to the establishment of these concepts as terms and the following changes of their meaning and usage.

The author’s reference to the authority of solid rhetoricians such as Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, etc. creates opportunities for following the traditional lines in the studies of argumentation and systematic encompassing of their contributions to rhetoric in general.   

Precision is the main trait of this fundamental and valuable book on rhetorical argumentation and the proof of its practical efficiency for the student of rhetoric is immediately seen in the examples and sources contained sufficiently in each of the articles, which creates opportunities for further searches of the inquisitive minds.

The respect for the rhetorical heritage and for the contributions of other researchers and academic discussion concerned with topics related to argumentation is seen in the introductory part of the Dictionnaire de l’argumentation where the author mentions that the whole text is based on the work and achievements of such established names into the fields of argumentation and rhetoric as Jean-Claude Anscombre, Anthony Blair, Oswald Ducrot, Frans van Eemeren, Jean-Blaise Grize, Rob Grootendorst, Charles L. Hamblin, LucieOlbrechts-Tyteca, Chaïm Perelman, Stephen E. Toulmin, Douglas Walton, John Woods.

Christian Plantin presents the contributions of the separate scientists and schools while parallelly outlining the novel prospects for argumentation. The author achieves conceptualization of knowledge related to argumentation without final imposing of his statements as postulates to be followed, and neither has he rejected other researchers’ achievements. Thus academic ethics comes forward as the second trait of the Dictionnaire de l’argumentationand it is due to thisfeature that to find information in it is but a pleasant and fruitful adventure of the mind. Taken into view the genre and specifics of academic communication, it is easy to look for and find separate terms, e.g.  Argument against authority, Argument of power, etc. The arguments A priori, A posteriori are paid special attention to (p. 29); specific linguistic features of argumentation are explicated (Les étiquettesprépositionnelles: prépositions ab, ad et ex), and the connection of argumentation with other public practices and events is made evident (Explication et argumentation, p. 271).

Christian Plantin has also included some fundamental concepts to argumentation such as induction, deduction and analogy paying attention to pseudo-deduction (Pseudo-déduction, p.  272). Numerous pages of the Dictionnaire de l’argumentationare devoted to the explicit description of the nature and types of logical faults and fallacies.

The achievements of such scholars as Walton, Wood, Eemeren, Grootendoorst, Toulmin, Perelman Blair, etc. are outlined in separate articles or given as correct quotes.  

There are also tables of systematization (e.g.  p. 289), which we accept as another advantage of the text of this great book, for the reader can immediately have an overview of the generalization of definitions and comparative layout of concepts and terms. The table on p. 92, for example, shows the main cross points, connections and inter projections of the scientific fields of rhetoric, dialectics, logic, grammar, philosophy and pedagogy, and these are placed into view of the new rhetoric, pragma-dialectics and other schools of latest time. The next pages again and again lead us beyond the traditional borders of terminological description and the connections are sought for in the cross concepts of rhetoric, logic, grammar and dialectics based on solid and detailed knowledge of the works of our masters in these fields.  

Pages 95-96 give some basic terms related to Latin arguments and followed by a table where their names in English make things easy for the modern user. This approach proves the utilitarian time saving value of the book of Christian Plantin in the fast search for high information in the educational processes of today.

The systematic approach of the author is seen in the presentation of publications related to argumentation by scientists from different countries, universities and schools, which forms a generalized and clear view of the development of argumentation and its studies into diachronic and contemporary plans (p. 90).

On the one hand, the historic approach has been wisely applied to outline tradition in the millenniums of development of argumentation.  On the other hand, philosophy has been used efficiently to approach terms, meta-terms and concepts. There is a third aspect to the holistic approach of the author keeping account of the achievements and contributions to the study of argumentation in publications on discourse analyses in different areas and concerned with different types of discourse.   

Christian Plantin has been working as a devoted researcher in the connected fields of argument and argumentation, debate, dialogue and emotion for over four decades. He is a prolific author in these fields and an established scholar who reaches far beyond the theoretical and methodological conventions of philology and argumentation. Plantin’s publications of his research on argumentation review its development ever since the 1970s up to date. His work is qualified by its intensity and related searches into novel areas adding to the study of argument, discourse, debate and speech. The best proof of this is his solid scientific produce of which the following titles give but some idea:  

  • “Les figures en situation argumentative”. In M. Bonhomme (coord.) Les figures .L’informationgrammaticale, 2013, 137. 50-56.
  • Théories du débat. Texte et Documents pour la Classe . Paris, CNDP, 2007, 6-13;
  • “Critique de la parole: les fallciesdans le discoursargumentatif”In V. Atayan, D. Pirazzini (eds) Argumentation: théorie – langue – discours. Actes de la section Argumentation du XXX Congrès des RomanistesAllemands, Vienne, septembre 2007. Frankfurt, etc, Peter Lang. 51-70.
  • A Argumentação: História, teoria, perspectivas, 2008;
  • Unmodèledialogal de l’argumentation. Dans Flor M a Bango de la Campa, Antonio Niembro Prieto, Emma ÁlvarezPrendes (eds), 2008. Intertexto y polifonía. EstudiosenHomenaje a M a Aurora Aragón , TomoII.Oviedo, Ediciones de la Universidad de Oviedo, 2008, 737-754;
  • On casting doubt: The dialectical aspect of normative rules in argumentation, In Houtlosser P. & A. van Rees (eds) Considering pragma-dialectics. Mahwah, N. J., Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006, 245-256;
  • L’argumentation – Histoire, théories, perspectives. Paris : PUF (Coll. “Que Sais-Je ?”), 2005;
  • Les émotionsdans les interactions, Lyon, 2000;
  • L’argumentation, Paris, Seuil, 1996;
  • Argumenter. De la langue de l’argumentation au discoursargumenté, Paris, Centre national de documentation pédagogique, 1989;
  • Oui , non , si – Etude des enchaînementsdans le dialogue
  • Thèse de 3e Cycle enlinguistique, EHESS – Université de PARIS VIII. Sous la direction de O. Ducrot. Jury : J. Bouveresse, J.-C. Chevalier, O. Ducrot. Mention Très Bien, 1978.

In conclusion, getting back to a general view of Dictionnaire de l’argumentation. Une introduction aux étudesd’argumentation, we are even more convinced in our stating that it has three types of  achievements at the levels of making methodological, theoretical and practical contributions.

Christian Plantin possesses explicit fundamental knowledge, an interesting approach to the extraction and systematization of arguments and argumentation procedures, and impressive skills of conceptualization of terminology  based on his novel attitude to the millennium-aged heritage  of the science of argumentation. Dictionnaire de l’argumentation  is exceptionally useful for the academic training of student of philosophy, rhetoric, jurisprudence, communication, etc.  

Rhetoric and Communications E-journal, Issue 22, April 2016,,, ISSN 1314-4464

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