Cognitive semiotics in argumentation; a theoretical exploration

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Argumentation is a cognitive category. Texts cannot be said to be argumentation, nor can argumentation be said to lie in texts. This is an almost trivial semiotic point of departure, but it is quite relevant nevertheless. In this contribution, three reasons are developed to emphasize and to articulate the semiotic component of argumentation to show that it is a crucial element that cannot be disregarded. Two of these reasons are mentioned only in passing as other contributions in this volume deal with them more substantially. The third reason, being that argumentation requires an exchange of discourse worlds and that consequently the mimetic construction of these discourse worlds is part of the argumentation, is discussed in some detail in this paper. It will be argued that a lack of attention for the mimetics of argumentation is regrettable, both theoretically and practically. Focusing on the mimetics raises questions concerning the dominant ‘propositional’ format of argumentation assumed to be essential for argumentative assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-176
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Cognitive semiotics
  • Discourse
  • Diegetics
  • Evidence
  • Hedging
  • Mimetics
  • Multimodal argumentation
  • Proposition
  • Straw man


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