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Chaim Perelman


Chaim Perelman was born on 20th may, 1912 in Warsaw in France. Perelman spent most of his life in Brussels learning, teaching and living. Perelman was among the 20th century most significant theorists of argumentation. His most recognized work is the Traite de I ‘argumentation which he published in 1958 in collaboration with Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca.

In 1952, Perelman family moved from Warsaw and settled in Antwerp in Belgium. Perelman started his undergraduate education at the Universite Libre De Bruxelles. In 1934, Perelman received his first a doctorate in law and in 1938, received the second doctorate after accomplishing a study on the philosophy. During the same year, Perelman was employed as a philosophy and letter lecturer at Brussels University. Perelman developed as the youngest ever full professor in the Brussels University.

Perelman’s Philosophy

The first philosophy and law research of Perelman was done under the logical guidance positivism. In 1944, Perelman accomplished a pragmatist research on justice and affirmed that, since the use of law at all times integrated value rulings and the value cannot be endangered to the logic rigors, the justice basics was indiscriminative.

In his conclusion, Perelman considered the judgment indefensible because value rulings did not involve an integral decision making as well as practical thinking. Perelman argued that, value judgments do not have basic logics and thus deny the rational basics of law, ethics, politics and philosophy.

Perelman, as a result of his empiricist research, vetoed positivism in preference to regressive philosophies which he felt they provided rationale in value rulings. Perelman met with Lucie Olbrechts – Tyteca and the two collaborated in a project which later developed into pre-historical rhetoric as the basic of the value judgments logic.

Perelman Achievements

Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, in 1958 published research on informal thinking as Traite de I’arguementation. The study analyzed a broad variety of real arguments from realms of law, politics, ethics, journalism and philosophy. The study led to the argumentation theory which drew common techniques for argument. Perelman also collaborated with Henry W. Johnstone before publication of la nouvelle rhetorique which was also proven fruitful. It was during this time when Perelman became recognized as the leading theorist of argumentation in United States.

Perelman continued to publish related works derived from the modern rhetoric for the subsequent two decades. Perelman as a logic research director of the National Center at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, made vital contribution in law studies through his publications on argument and philosophy. In 1862, Perelman awarded the human science Francqui Price

In recognition to his civil and academic achievements, in December 1983, Perelman was nominated parliament to the baronage by the Belgium. Chaim Perelman died from heart attack on January 22, 1984 at his home in Brussels.