Arguing Constructively:  by Dominic A. Infante
165 pages, $25.95 list
0-88133-327-1
978-0-88133-327-5
Arguing Constructively
A refreshing fusion of interpersonal human relations and argumentation! This clear and engaging volume is unique because of its dual focus. On the one hand, the purpose is to instruct on the methods of argumentation theory. This represents a set of principles, methods, and strategies of argument that have evolved from the time of Ancient Greece. On the other hand, the intent is to teach human relations in argumentative situations, specifically, how to manage interpersonal relations during arguments. Books on argumentation and debate have tended to say little about how arguing can affect the relationship one has with an adversary. How do you prevent harm to a valued friendship, for instance? Moreover, books on interpersonal communication have had little to say about arguing. Instead, the emphasis is on achieving satisfying relations with others.

The author shows that recent research makes it clear that argumentation and interpersonal communication are complementary areas of communication. Arguing constructively in informal interpersonal and small group contexts is a skill that can bring about good outcomes. Instruction on building and maintaining satisfying relations with other people is lacking if it does not deal with how to do this while arguing, especially since argumentative communication probably will occur throughout a relationship. This book has been written to correct what has been perhaps too narrow a focus in the areas of argumentation and interpersonal communication.
Reviews
“An excellent blending of interpersonal communication with principles of argument. Infante has made an excellent attempt to convey the practical utility of argument while not forsaking argumentative procedure.” — Taylor A. McKenzie, Grossmont College

“Infante takes many difficult concepts and explains them in concrete terms with excellent examples.” — John G. Oetzel, Citrus College

“In an area in which most of the textbooks look depressingly alike, Infante has succeeded in producing one that is worthwhile. The whole notion that we need to consider the interpersonal aspects of argumentation and take the probable consequences of our communication into account while formulating adversarial discourse is so obvious, and yet so overlooked.” — Alan Cirlin, St. Mary’s University

“A fresh approach to an old subject. Infante does a good job of blending the traditional argumentative approach with the newer human relations approach to communication.” — Ronald D. Bever, Oklahoma Christian College

“Excellent book for equipping students to argue constructively in daily conflict situations. Far more useful to the average student than the typical debate text.” — Norma Champion, Evangel College

“I love the idea of combining the disciplines of argumentation and interpersonal conflict resolution. This is a very worthwhile approach because it offers the rhetorical background that has proved so solid as well as the current research that is so relevant.” — Tom Fisher, Lewis & Clark Community College

“It is exactly what I have been looking for! The material is simple without being simplistic. This will be ideal for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The author has used many examples that are current and of interest to all. This text will make my job easier.” — Edith Markel, Adelphi University

“Perhaps the clearest and most concise introduction to argumentation theory, this text is a practical guide to making successful arguments that will be useful not only in college, but throughout their careers.” — Stephen O'Leary, University of Southern California
Table of Contents
Part I. UNDERSTANDING ARGUING
1. Argumentativeness: Your Constructive Side
2. Verbal Aggressiveness: Your Destructive Side

Part II. CONSTRUCTIVE ARGUMENTATION
3. Stating the Controversy in Propositional Form
4. Inventing Arguments
5. Presenting and Defending Your Position
6. Attacking Other Positions
7. Managing Interpersonal Relations

Part III. ARGUMENTATIVE REFINEMENTS
8. Analyzing Your Adversary
9. Presentational Factors