This article examines Jürgen Habermas's argumentation theory for an answer to the question of the role of rhetoric in cogent argument-making practices. At first glance, Habermas's triadic synthesis of logic, dialectic, and rhetoric appears conventionally neo-Aristotelian and logocentric. However, in aligning rhetoric with a formal, idealized understanding of argument as a process, Habermas gives rhetorical evaluation an authoritative role in certifying nonrelativistic public knowledge. Further elaboration of the implications of his model reveals a radically social view of rational persuasion and of reasonable opinion formation that makes intellectual humility a central virtue. Humility heavily restricts the scope for reasonable disagreement and dissent, particularly in polarized controversies. Examination of such a controversy shows the limits of the Habermasian conception of rhetoric.

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