In the study of argument forms, causal argumentation has received much critical attention. A field where pragmatic argumentation has also recently grown fairly popular is represented by judicial settings, where “judges often defend a decision by referring to the consequences of application of a particular legal rule in the concrete case” (Feteris 2002:349). By drawing on such concrete body of evidence, this paper aims at undertaking an exploratory study of the discursive indicators of pragmatic argumentation in a synchronic corpus of judgments by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. The Supreme Court is the highest appellate court or court of last resort in the U.S. legal system, and it has gained in power and prestige over the last few decades as a result of the landmark decisions it took in the fields of Federal regulation of many new areas of constitutional law, and the increased protection of civil liberties (see Miglioli 1995). Among the reasons that make the Court’s discourse well suited for an investigation of pragmatic argumentation, a convincing one appears to be its frequent recourse to arguments from substantive reasons: invoking moral, political, economic, or other similar considerations to motivate the (un)desirability of a decision is postulated to be a practice that “commonly occurs in Supreme Court opinions” (Summers 1991:418). The purpose of the paper is therefore to determine the frequency and describe the use of the discursive indicators of pragmatic argumentation retrieved in the reference corpus. As such, the investigation will largely draw on the detailed inventory of indicators compiled by Van Eemeren et al. (2007): the items found to be attested in the corpus were studied in context, thus highlighting that the use of corpora may represent a valuable source of insights about the tools through which pragmatic argumentation takes concrete textual shape in the specialized language of the law exemplified by judgments.
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|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Titolo:||“Our reading would lead to…”: Corpus Perspectives on Pragmatic Argumentation in US Supreme Court Judgments|
|Autori interni:||MAZZI, Davide|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1075/jaic.3.2.01/maz|
|Rivista:||JOURNAL OF ARGUMENTATION IN CONTEXT|
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