Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John P. Jackson

Second Advisor

Michele H. Jackson

Third Advisor

Peter Simonson


My thesis considers the use of argumentation in two distinct traditions: rhetoric and dialectics. I apply Chaim Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca's New Rhetoric and Douglas Walton's New Dialectics in a rhetorical analysis of David Cope's Virtual Music: Computer Synthesis of Musical Style. The book contains an exchange between composer David Cope, and cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter, about the implications resulting from Cope's compositional computer program: Experiments in Musical Intelligence (EMI). I apply Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca's concept of arguments of association and disassociation to analyze and categorize Cope and Hofstadter's arguments regarding the concepts of creativity, style, and imitation. I use Walton's concept of types of dialogue, and chains of presumptive reasoning to describe the internal structure of each argument and the overall contextual influence of the exchange. Ultimately, I address how these two frameworks interact and synthesize a new, unique model of argumentation.