Instrumental Action and Rhetoric: Framing Rational Action on Language Field

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: Booth 69
Oral Presentation
Raul Francsico MAGALH√ES , Social Sciences, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, JUIZ DE FORA, Brazil
The paper makes a theoretical reconstruction of a model for instrumental action in language, using the notion of rhetoric. It takes persuasive language to be constitutive of instrumental reason, and analyses the possibility of bring to the theory of social action some concepts from linguistic field. The first step establishes an analogy between instrumental rationality and rhetorical movements like projection of future, or reconstruction of past. In those operations we use rhetoric in order to create the persuasive frames of reality and use them for self-persuasion and for persuade other people to go into a specific course of action. Since deliberation is a problem of collective action and rationality we can understand rhetoric in terms of building a new descriptive model of rationality, in other words, we can describe rationality as a rhetoric operation: it consists in giving different degrees of truth to the information available and then create conditions for choosing a specific way. This approach builds a critical view to the notion of information as objective data collected by rational actors, and points to the deliberation as a cognitive way to deal with framed discourses about reality. Based on this model we can criticize some analytical problems from the theories of rational choice concerning collective action, here represented by M. Olson’s paradox and, in the same way, criticize Jon Elster’s paradox of indeterminacy, based on the concept of optimal amount of gathered information. The concepts of rhetoric give to the theory of rational action a key to understand how in empirical situation words, and sometimes just words, are enough to create action.