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This paper presents a novel conceptualization of policy making as social drama. The selection and presentation of evidence for policy making, including the choice of which questions to ask, which evidence to compile in a synthesis and which syntheses to bring to the policy making table, should be considered as moves in a rhetorical argumentation game and not as the harvesting of objective facts to be fed into a logical decision-making sequence. Viewing policy making as argument does not mean it is beyond rationality--merely that we must redefine rationality to include not only logical inference and probabilistic reasoning, but also the consideration of plausibility by a reasonable audience. We need better evidence, but we also urgently need better awareness by policy makers of the language games on which their work depends.


Journal article


Healthc Policy

Publication Date





34 - 42