Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name







Blair, J. A.




This thesis investigates from a rhetorical perspective a theory of an arguer's dialectical obligations to deal with objections and alternative positions. Ralph H. Johnson argues that, besides offering a good reason to support the thesis advanced, an arguer is obliged to offer a dialectical tier, an added level in which the arguer responds to objections or alternative positions. In developing a theory of an arguer's dialectical obligations, argumentation scholars from an informal logical perspective do not seem to have a guiding theory that helps to specify which objections and alternative positions the arguer is obliged to address. This thesis examines whether the classical rhetorical theory of stasis can help an arguer anticipate possible objections and alternative positions in a systematic way. Classical stasis theory consists of potential stases, or the types of "points at issue," to be argued in court. They are the stases of conjecture (fact), definition, quality (value), and legal procedure. Since these often become actual issues, the arguer must address them. However, the implications of classical stasis theory for an arguer's dialectical obligations and argumentation in general seem to be limited, because of its strong tie with substance of legal matters. In order to overcome the shortcomings of classical stasis theory, this thesis generalizes each of the constituent stases. By removing elements specific to legal argumentation from constituent stases and generalizing them, this thesis claims that a generalized stasis theory will cover more types of issues, and accordingly more types of objections and alternative positions. Since the issues specified in a generalized stasis theory are likely to be focus of controversy, the arguer has obligations to reply to them.Dept. of History, Philosophy, and Political Science. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2000 .K66. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 40-03, page: 0574. Adviser: John Anthony Blair. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2000.