Agreements can be considered under four perspectives.
(1) In general, fully developed argumentative interactions are characterized by a preference for disagreement, which distinguishes them from consensual interactions, governed by a preference for agreement (Bilmes 1991), S. Politeness.
(2) The existence of “preliminary agreements” (Perelman, Olbrechts-Tyteca) in regard to both the organization of the discussion and the issues to be discussed, can be considered as a necessary condition for the fruitful conclusion of argumentation. In a dialectical exchange, previous specific agreements are imposed on the participants, as the rules of a game are imposed on the players. In a rhetorical address, the orator seeks a priori areas of agreement with the audience.
In civil life, argumentative encounters (courts, conciliation offices, parliaments, decisional meetings…) follow pre-established standard procedures upon which volens nolens, the participants must agree and comply with, whether they find them fair or not, S. Rules; Conditions of discussion.
(3) The production of an agreement can be regarded as the ideal purpose of argumentative interactions. In combination with (2), this makes argumentation a technique for transforming preliminary agreements into a final consensus. S. To persuade; Persuasion.
(4) The existence of a consensus can be exploited as an argument. In argumentations that justify a proposal by claiming that it is the subject of general consensus agreed on by everyone. The actual opponent to the claim appears therefore as an isolated eccentric individual, excluded from “our community”. His or her opinion is disqualified, and can be dismissed without taking the trouble to refute or even consider his or her arguments, S. Dismissal.