Can perelman's NR be viewed as an ethics of discourse?

Roselyne Koren

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1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to defend and justify the hypothesis that Perelman's New Rhetoric can enable the French school of Discourse Analysis to readjust its theoretical positions concerning the ethics of discourse. While it is no longer necessary, in the wake of linguists such as Benveniste and Kerbrat-Orecchioni, to point out the founding role of the inscription of subjectivity in language, it is, paradoxically, still necessary to justify the legitimacy of choosing the axiological dimension of discourse and its ethical issues as a scientific object. Indeed, very few linguists view Perelman's New Rhetoric as a logic and a "pragmatics" of values; most of them prefer to view it as a technical reservoir of types of arguments (Cf. concerning the critical enumeration and classification of references to the NR, raised in approximately forty linguistic works, Koren 2002: 197-228). So far, the notions of "guarantee" and "commitment" are integrated in pragmatic linguistic theories; but these notions have mostly to do with a "commitment" vis-à-vis a referential truth. Truth is still considered as the ultimate value, as the normative reference to every questioning on discursive rectitude. We are thus left with an epistemological lacuna, namely the integration of the responsibility for value judgments in linguistic theories, that could be partially answered for by the New Rhetoric. An editorial from Le Monde will be analyzed to illustrate this point of view.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-431
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Argumentation of values
  • Discourse ethics
  • Editorial and commitment
  • French school of discourse analysis
  • Responsibility for the truth and for value judgments


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