How do individuals change their minds as a result of argumentation? It is generally assumed the speech act of argumentation can trigger a change of mind in the other party—the perlocutionary act of convincing. This means that a discussant changes her commitment relative to the proposition under scrutiny when the other party presents argumentation that is in some way convincing or persuasive. I challenge this received view by showing that argumentation cannot trigger this change of commitment in the way that scholars commonly assume. Convincing cannot be triggered by assertives that are already in the listener’s commitment set, nor can it be triggered by assertives that are newly introduced in the discussion. Using the notion of “joint commitment” I propose an alternative account according to which change of mind is the result of two speakers jointly experiencing facts as stipulated by a joint commitment. I conclude the paper by sketching the impact of such an approach in the study of argumentation and provide suggestions for further developments.
- joint commitment
- rational persuasion