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. 107–130
Strategic maneuvering in medical consultations
When doctors and patients argue their case, they are always confronted with the “argumentative predicament” that all argumentative moves they make need to be reasonable and effective at the same time. To reconcile the simultaneous pursuit of maintaining reasonableness and aiming for effectiveness, in medical consultations strategic maneuvering is required. Strategic maneuvering has three aspects, which affect each other mutually: selection from the topical potential of argumentative moves, adaptation to audience demand, and exploitation of presentational devices. In a medical consultation, strategic maneuvering takes place in all stages of the argumentative process and each argumentative move has both a reasonableness dimension and an effectiveness dimension. A series of argumentative moves is said to combine into a fully-fledged argumentative strategy when the three aspects of strategic maneuvering are coordinated within each argumenatiave move, as well as across all consecutive argumentative moves that are part of the series. When the doctor’s or the patient’s strategic maneuvering derails, this results in fallacies, which may easily go unnoticed by the other party because fallacious argumentative moves have a similar appearance as sound argumentative moves.