Chapter published in:Argumentation between Doctors and Patients: Understanding clinical argumentative discourse
Frans H. van Eemeren, Bart Garssen and Nanon Labrie
[Not in series 235] 2021
► pp. 13–36
Argumentation and resolving differences of opinion
Argumentative discussions are part of everyday clinical discourse. Doctors and patients may explicitly or implicitly have different opinions about various issues, such as the causes of patients’ symptoms or the best course of action. Through argumentative discussions, these differences can be resolved. Medical standpoints, which can be advanced by both doctors and patients, may concern a myriad of topics and different types of standpoints can be distinguished (factual and predictive claims; judgments; recommendations). When a standpoint is advanced, it may meet with doubt (unmixed difference of opinion) or opposition (mixed difference of opinion). Verbal indicators in the text, as well as clues from the situational context, can be used to identify standpoints as well as their supporting arguments. Analytically, an argumentative discussion consists of four consecutive stages: confrontation, opening, argumentation, and conclusion. Knowing about these stages is helpful when striving to understand, analyze, and evaluate argumentation in clinical settings.