Rhetoric and cognition
This chapter defends a cognitive-pragmatic take on rhetorical effectiveness by hypothesising that information-selection mechanisms at play in the interpretation of verbal stimuli positively influence the outcome of subsequent argumentative evaluation. Moreover, this chapter also shows that relevance theory (Sperber and Wilson 1995) is ideally well equipped to develop this assumption. Indeed, this chapter argues that the inclusion of a cognitive pragmatic component in a theory of argumentation can boost the explanatory power of existing accounts, which typically refrain from adopting the sort of cognitive insights offered by relevance theorists (cf. van Eemeren and Grootendorst 2004: 74). Accordingly, an example from political discourse is discussed in this framework to illustrate its explanatory advantages.