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Language, reason and education

Studies in honor of Eddo Rigotti

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Edited By Giovanni Gobber and Andrea Rocci

Language as reason represents the unifying theme of this multifaceted reflection on Eddo Rigotti’s scientific contribution offered by his students and colleagues on the occasion of his seventieth birthday. Spanning argumentation theory, linguistics, psychology, semiotics and communication sciences, the volume reflects Rigotti’s generous personality and his trajectory of semiotician, philosopher, linguist and specialist in argumentation studies. Language as an instrument of communication with semiotic peculiarities is considered at different levels in which it manifests traces of reason at work. This means considering how reality reveals itself by means of language and how the semiotic character of language structures is used by people to enable joint actions and change the natural and social world. Particularly in focus is the realm of argumentation, that is of those joint actions where people exchange reasons in various communities, fora and markets in view of understanding and practical deliberation. To argumentation Eddo Rigotti devoted all his research efforts in recent years, with a keen sense of its intrinsic educational value and a sincere care for fostering the development of the argumentative mind.
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Sara Cigada, Sara Greco Morasso: Good reasons for good manners. An argumentative foundation of courtesy in Giovanni Della Casa’s Galateo

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Good reasons for good manners. An argumentative foundation of courtesy in Giovanni Della Casa’s Galateo

SARA CIGADA, Catholic University of Milan & SARA GRECO MORASSO, University of Lugano

1. Premises

1.1 A reasoned approach to good manners

The Galateo may be mostly known for its precepts about good manners, namely behaviours which should be adopted when dealing with other members of society. There is more to it, however. In fact, any rule or precept is justified by its goal and, from the vantage point of argumentation, a rule is well justified if it is supported by adequate means-end argumentation. Good manners are no exception to this principle. And, interestingly, Giovanni Della Casa is well aware of the necessity of justifying the subject of his treatise, which he mainly does in the first two chapters of his work1.

In the first chapter, Della Casa addresses his beloved nephew offering him his treatise about good manners as a gift which, in spite of its frivolous appearance, will be of great use: politeness is a virtue that does not concern magnificent actions, but we need it every day ← 51 | 52 → whenever dealing with others. Though far from being a mortal fault, impoliteness makes living with the others fairly impossible: and nobody wants to be alone. Being polite, on the contrary, helps reaching important goals.

The second chapter points to a general principle: we dislike what is disgusting or...

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