Archive for the ‘Connections’ Category

Causal and Probabilistic Reasoning

18-20 June, 2015, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy

Idea and Motivation

2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the publications of Judea Pearl’s Causality and the second edition of Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour, and Richard Scheines’ Causality, Prediction, and Search, which together are the foundations for the mathematical theory of causal modeling. During this period, the theory of causal Bayesian networks has been applied to a variety of topics in the special sciences, including the brain and cognitive sciences. This conference will focus on the applications of probabilistic and causal modeling in cognitive science, with an emphasis on assessing both the power and limitations of these tools in our understanding of cognition.
Topics of the conference will include, but are not be limited to:
  • Causal reasoning
  • Probabilistic reasoning
  • Models of bounded rationality
  • Probabilistic causal models in cognitive psychology
  • Models of Judgment and Decision Making
  • Learning and Decision Making
  • Group Decision Making
  • Social Norms and Networks
  • Foundations of Causal Bayesian Networks

Call for Abstracts


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Many of us working in argumentation theory have an interest in disagreement. Indeed, discussion of so-called “deep disagreement” (per Fogelin) is practically a cottage industry in our field. Recently, professional philosophy has circled around to the topic of disagreement too and spawned it’s own cottage industry on the subject: discussion of the epistemology of disagreement.

Though at present neither field is really engaging the other in a serious way, it would be great to see these bodies of research be brought together. (It can be done! As I have mentioned before here on RAIL, Harvey Siegel’s made a good start on the job.)

In the interest of pushing the argumentation research circle on disagreement further towards the philosophical research circle on disagreement, in the hopes of achieving a Venn diagram of research with a healthy intersection between the two, I offer the following in addition to the above link to Harvey’s paper:

First up, via Philosophy TV an interesting philosophical discussion about the epistemology of disagreement between David Christensen (a philosopher I think argumentation theorists should be reading anyway) and David Sorenson:

David Christensen & Roy Sorensen from Philosophy TV on Vimeo.

Secondly, there’s this more recent item of interest from the NewAPPS blog. The piece gives the results of a recent survey of philosophers’ attitudes towards religion. It specifically addresses the question of how philosophers recognize epistemic peers across religious boundaries.

It seems to me that in this (and in other areas) mainstream philosophy and argumentation theory could benefit from making each others’ mutual acquaintance. What do you think?

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(provisional title)

Editors: Assimakis Tseronis (University of Amsterdam); Charles Forceville (University of Amsterdam)

Taking up on the momentum that has been gathering in the last two decades around the study of multimodal discourse from an argumentation studies perspective, we have taken the initiative to propose the first edited volume on the subject to the Argumentation in Context book series of John Benjamins Publishing House. The number of papers presented in the last OSSA and ISSA conferences as well as the special issues devoted to the subject by journals such as Argumentation and Advocacy, Argumentation, and Semiotica attest the growing interest and maturing discussions on the theoretical, methodological and analytical issues that the argumentative analysis of non-verbal modes raises. We would like to invite you to submit a proposal for a chapter that fits with the project as described in the outline of the book.


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Friends in Rhetoric and Classics, this one’s for you.

The saying “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” gets thrown around a lot in a lot of different contexts. Apparently it’s a favorite in Washington as well. Witness the Washington Post on last week’s speech by Senator Ted Cruz, in which the Senator appropriates one of Cicero’s Cataline orations–almost word for word–to inveigh against President Obama.

At least he cites his source?

There’s a really nice breakdown of the original speech’s historical background here at the blog of classicist Charles MacNamara, to whom I owe thanks for the tip (via Twitter) about Cruz’s speech.

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The Practice/s of Giving Reasons: a special issue of Topoi

Guest Edited by Chris Campolo and David Godden


The re-discovery, in the late 1970’s, of the perspectives on argument as process and practice (added to that of product) occasioned a dramatic re-visioning of the object of study in argumentation. Viewed as a practice of transacting reasons, argumentation became a situated activity, or doing, requiring know-how, rather than a collection of reasons – a thing containing a collection of knowledge-that.

This volume focuses on the normative and epistemic dimensions and consequences of viewing argumentation as the practice/s of transacting (giving and asking for) reasons. We mean to create momentum behind the perspectives focused primarily on the actions and doings which, alongside many related human practices, constitute argumentation. Here we open a space to explore and interrogate the idea that neither argumentation as a whole, nor the many elements into which it may be analyzed, can be adequately understood apart from an account of what it is to give reasons, with all the complexity and fluidity that attends our engagement in any kind of know-how. Rather, the practice/s of transacting reasons is central to the projects of explaining what a reason is, how reasons work, the normativity of reasons, as well as their prescriptivity (or our accountability to them).


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Just in case you’ve not yet heard about this, the folks in Windsor have done us all a great service. The proceedings of all OSSA conferences from the very first to the most recent are now available online at the OSSA Conference Archive. Papers and commentaries are available for viewing and download. Search options are up-to-date too. For those of us who want to cite these papers in our work, this is an indispensable and easy-to-use resource that compares favorably with the ISSA Conference Archive maintained by Rozenberg Quarterly. Both are laudable additions to the online resources available for argumentation researchers.

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The 1st International Workshop for Methodologies for Research on Legal Argumentation (MET-ARG)

December 10, 2014, Kraków, Poland at JURIX 2014 (The 27th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, http://conference.jurix.nl/2014/)

MET-ARG is held in conjunction with the CMNA 14 workshop (http://www.cmna.info/CMNA14) and is organized under auspices of the ArgDiaP organisation (http://argdiap.pl/)

The aim of the workshop is to provide a space for exchange of methodological ideas concerning the research on legal argumentation from three perspectives: AI and Law, argumentation theory and legal theory. Since a thorough discussion of scientific aims and adopted methodologies is needed in this field, our main motivation is to discuss some perspectives of cooperation and mutual inspiration among these three research areas in order to develop more effective, accurate and scientifically adequate theories and models of legal argumentation. This may lead to establishing of interdisciplinary research projects related to legal argumentation.

Since we intend to facilitate a vivid and fruitful discussion of these issues, we would like to call for participation in the workshop on behalf of the organizing committee.



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