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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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Anne-Nelly Perret-Clermont, Stéphanie Breux, Sara Greco Morasso, Céline Miserez-Caperos: Children and knowledge-oriented argumentation. Some notes for future research

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Children and knowledge-oriented argumentation. Some notes for future research1

ANNE-NELLY PERRET-CLERMONT (*), STÉPHANIE BREUX (*), SARA GRECO MORASSO (**) & CÉLINE MISEREZ-CAPEROS (*) (*) University of Neuchâtel (**) University of Lugano

In the study of argumentation skills in children, a mainline perspective has consisted in comparing children’s performances to adults’ fully achieved argumentation (e.g., Golder 1993, 1996; Kuhn 1991; Kuhn and Udell 2003; Piaget 1926). Interesting results have pointed to the complex step by step development of children’s capacities that allows them gradually to take into account points of view different from their own; then to coordinate them; and finally to use language in order to progressively manage discursive argumentations with explicit standpoints and back ups.

Yet, there is a sense of dissatisfaction when approaching such theories of “initial deficit” in children. Parents know how competent arguers their children can be in “case of need” (i.e., when the kids really want to reach their goals). Some educators marvel at the sophistication of young pupils’ discourse when enthusiastically involved in some intriguing issue (Pontecorvo and Arcidiacono 2010; Pontecorvo and Sterponi 2006). As we see, being an adult does not necessarily lead to performing formally good argumentations: implicitly or explicitly, discourse expresses not only facts, thoughts and feelings, but also roles and social positions and their contexts (Bernstein 1973); argumentations address specific audiences and this ← 259 | 260 → contributes to the shaping of the argumentative schemes (Grize 1982). If audience and context are so important (Rigotti and...

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