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Archive for the ‘Informal Logic’ Category

10th eColloq on Argumentation
Monday FEB 24, 2014
4 pm CET (Central European Time, e.g., Rome, Berlin, Stockholm)
 
PROGRAM
4.00-4.10 Connect, Welcome
 
4.10-4:35 Gregor Betz (KIT, Stuttgart, Germany): Is there a method for reconstructing natural language arguments?
4:35-4:50 Discussion
 
4:50-5:00 Break
 
5:00-5:25: Michael Hoffmann (Georgia Tech, GA, USA): Designing argument visualization software as cognitive tools
5:25-5:40 Discussion
 
 
Abstracts are available at the above website.  To participate as a discussant, please register at this site.
Please see the links under “TechThings” to check hard- and software requirements.

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Essay Prize in Informal Logic/Critical Thinking/Argumentation Theory
The Association for Informal Logic and Critical Thinking (AILACT) invites submissions for the 2013 AILACT Essay Prize. This will be the ninth year in which the prize has been offered.

(more…)

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4th Summer Institute On Argumentation:-

Multi‐Modal Arguments: Making sense of images (and other non‐verbal content) in Argument

May 27-31, 2013 

  • Can works of art, films, virtual realities and other kinds of non-verbal content operate as arguments?
  • Why have some objected to this suggestion? What can we learn from their objections?
  • How can the various theoretical perspectives that make up argumentation theory, such as informal logic, rhetoric, dialectics, dialogue theory, and discourse analysis, account for multi-modal arguments?
  • How can we construct a comprehensive theory of argument that makes room for, explains, and allows us to assess, arguments of this sort?

In conjunction with the tenth OSSA (Ontario Society for the Study of Argument) conference, CRRAR will offer a summer institute on multimodal arguments.

One trend in the development of argumentation theory is an  increasingly broad conception of argument which recognizes (among other things) the use of “multi-modal”  elements – images, music, and other non-verbal components – as key components of many arguments. In this course we consider the questions that this raises. (more…)

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CALL for PAPERS

ASSOCIATION for INFORMAL LOGIC and CRITICAL THINKING [AILACT]

AILACT will convene a session of paper presentations and discussion during the APA Eastern Division Meeting in Atlanta, GA during 27-30 December 2012 to meet in the Marriott Atlanta Marquis.

While we are requesting papers that treat a broad range of topics relating to informal logic and critical thinking, as continuing focal points within the modern argumentation movement, we are especially interested this round to invite papers treating themes relating to the teaching and role/s of critical thinking in academia.

In recent months there has been an elevated discussion about the importance of cultivating critical thinking skills in core and general education curricula. These discussions have responded to some skepticism about teaching higher order critical thinking skills, that somehow doing so undermines authority and core social values. In this connection, we are asking for paper submissions treating such topics as (but not limited to) that might be thought to full (loosely) under the rubric of applied epistemology:

  • Successful or unsuccessful pedagogic strategies for teaching CT skills
  • Whether and in what ways CT skills are discipline specific
  • Successful assessment practices and strategies for teaching CT as an institutional or discipline learning goal
  • How student proficiencies with CT skills are measured
  • What students say about their experiences with CT and the means used to gather information
  • How CT skills and information literacy skills are similar or different; on the relationship between CR skills and IL skills in student learning
  • Whether CT skills should be scaffolded throughout the undergraduate curriculum; how CT skills could effectively be scaffolded throughout the undergraduate curriculum
  • Is teaching CT skills subversive?
  • Other

Again, while we encourage persons to submit papers relating to teaching critical thinking, our call for papers is open to any topic within informal logic and critical thinking.

Papers should have a reading time of 25 minutes.

Deadline: 30 September 2012

Send completed paper with abstract as a pdf document attached to an email message to:

George Boger

BOGER@canisius.edu

Department of Philosophy

Canisius College

Buffalo, NY 14208-1098

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Those acquainted with informal logic and argumentation will no doubt recognize Trudy Govier as one of the pioneers in the field.  RAIL is happy to report that her efforts have been recognized outside of the argumentation community too.  As the title of the post indicates, Prof. Govier has received the 2012 Distinguished Academic Award of the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Association (CAFA).  The full story can be found here.  Well deserved!

 
(Thanks to Cate Hundleby for bringing this to my attention!)

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Note: As of this posting, RAIL has adopted the convention of posting the author’s name and institutional affiliation at the bottom of each article.

 

What do patterns of abusive argumentation reveal?  Feminists maintain that we receive a disproportionate level of abusive responses to our argumentation, and a disproportionate level of abuse, even relative to the level of anger and hatred on the internet.  Because people are skeptical about the prevalence and level of verbal abuse that feminists receive, and because abusive comments are deleted on many websites, feminist video blogger Anita Sarkeesian AKA “Feminist Frequency” has archived the response to her argument-based request for research support. More details can be found in The New Statesman, and I would add that I (and other feminist instructors) occasionally receive sexist abuse directed at the feminist course content in anonymous comments that are part of our student evaluations of teaching. Anonymity may be a crucial factor in this phenomenon. (more…)

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Informal Logic vol. 32 no. 1

The latest edition of Informal Logic  is now available.  Contributing authors to this volume include Lilian Bermejo-Luque , Louise Cummings , Christoph Lumer, Michael Gary Duncan,  David Botting and Ben Hamby.  While there are, as usual, several very interesting articles, of particular interest to readers of RAIL will be Cristián Santibáñez Yáñez’s thorough and well-researched critical notice of the forthcoming book-length treatment of Mercier and Sperber’s argument theory of reasoning.   The arrival of this book will undoubtedly be one of the highest-impact events of recent years on argumentation studies.  If you’ve not become acquainted with it yet, this critical notice is a good place to start.  (The archives here at RAIL aren’t bad either!)

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The program for the University of Windsor symposium on Psychology, Emotion and the Human Sciences is now available at http://www.thehumansciences.com/programme/.  Registration should be available in a few days.

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Rush Limbaugh’s recent dismissal of Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute” reminds me of how much more vulnerable women are than men to the abusive ad hominem.  There is a a greater number of abusive words associated with women:  add “whore,” “bitch,” “cunt,” “old maid,” “hag,” “bag,” “jezebel,” “hoochie mama,” etc., as opposed to “prick,” “dick,” and “boy toy.”  Plus the feminine insults tend to be considered so bad that people often won’t actually say them, but only allude to them, for instance in saying “the c-word.”

On top of that, women tend not to be listened to, so the ad hominem may always be more effective against women.  Merely pointing out that a speaker is a woman may act as reason to ignore her. The same would apply to any marginalized people.  One’s very identity can undermine one’s claims and one’s reasons.

Lorraine Code has argued in a few places that the dismissal of women’s reasons for being women’s reasons should be identified as ad feminam.  The vulnerability of women to ad hominem suggests indeed that ad feminam deserves recognition as a distinct category.

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A new article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on the decline of philosophy in the academy stresses again (see my previous post) the importance of philosophy in providing critical thinking education.  I’m pleased to see the props the author (Lee McIntyre) gives to feminist philosophers for their attention to pressing issues of our time, but I’m not sure his general despair over philosophy is warranted given other reports of the rising popularity of philosophy education.

McIntyre may simply be building a career as an alarmist.  His most recent book “Dark Ages: The Case for a Science of Human Behavior” despairs over losing the emancipatory potential of the social sciences.  (See Berel Dov Lerner’s review here.)  One begins to sense a pattern, and while I haven’t had a chance to investigate “Dark Ages” yet, I’m sceptical that it claims to promote value-free science.

However, his message about the need for a revaluation of the significance of philosophy education, and the central role of critical thinking in that context, may be important.  (He has a book coming out on this too.)  He says “the goal—especially at the undergraduate level—should be to help students recognize that philosophy matters. Not just because it will improve their LSAT scores (which it will), but because philosophy has the potential to change the very fabric of who they are as human beings.”  This requires taking critical thinking to a much higher level than most undergraduate programs will.

McIntyre blames the discipline for hiring sessional instructors, which is absurd since those decisions are made by administrators rather than faculty members.  However, philosophers do tend to view critical thinking, argumentation, and introductory education as less valuable, and so assign it to sessional instructors.  That might be rethought, but only if we begin to have philosophers trained in those methodological issues.

As argumentation theory and informal logic continue to grow (see the introductory editorial in Cogency), giving rise to new journals (such as Cogency) and becoming institutionalized in new research centres and doctoral programs, perhaps we will have the resources for that.   As it stands, critical thinking is much less a part of the philosophy curriculum than one might expect.

Philosophy is not alone in promising (and perhaps failing) to teach “critical thinking,” since that buzzword is so heavily used in education that it is almost meaningless.  Yet philosophers continue to claim a rightful ownership of that terrain.  That claim and the pride that goes with it flies in the face of typical educational and hiring practices that undervalue teaching and research in argumentation and informal logic.

What we need to turn things around may be a radical reconsideration of what is the purpose of a philosophy education.  McIntyre suggests that should be an appreciation of the value of philosophy, and that may require greater focus on the skills of philosophy. That will certainly depend on a broad consciousness-raising among philosophers, not to stem the hiring of sessional instructors but to demand that instructors of courses and authors of textbooks in critical thinking have expertise and training in informal logic.

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