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?
Read Full Post »
Paul Gustav Fischer, “A fire on Kultorvet” c.1900
Eric Schliesser, over at NewAPPS, has an interesting post up regarding a dispute between Marcus Arvan and Jason Brennan over the ethics of promoting the study of philosophy by citing empirical data about the success of philosophy majors. For those outside the discipline of philosophy this may seem a tempest in a teacup, but I think it warrants a closer look. For where one reads ‘philosophy’ in these discussions one could almost, in every case, substitute the name of another humanities discipline with no damage at all to the logic of the arguments in play. In the same way, I’m writing this post as a philosopher, but my guess is that a good deal of what I say here could probably be said just as well (if perhaps more eloquently) by my colleagues in, say, English or Communications. (more…)
Read Full Post »
CALL FOR COURSE AND WORKSHOP PROPOSALS
North American Summer School in Logic, Language and Information
June 23-27 2014
University of Maryland, College Park
The sixth NASSLLI (after previous editions at UT Austin, Stanford University, Indiana University and UCLA) will be hosted at the University of Maryland, College Park, June 23-27 2014. The summer school, aimed at graduate students and advanced undergraduates in a wide variety of fields, is loosely modeled on the long-running ESSLLI series in Europe. It will consist of a number of courses and workshops, selected on the basis of proposals. By default, courses and workshops meet for 90 minutes on each of five days.
Proposals are invited for courses or workshops that present interdisciplinary work between the areas of logic, linguistics, computer science, cognitive science, philosophy and artificial intelligence, though work in just one area is within the scope of the summer school if it can be applied in other fields. Examples of possible topics would include e.g. logics for communication, computational semantics, modal logics, game theory and decision theory, dynamic semantics, machine learning, Bayesian cognitive modeling, probabilistic models of language and communication, and automated theorem proving. (more…)
Read Full Post »
The connections between argumentation theory and mainstream analytic-ish philosophy may not always be clear for those outside of either discipline. For those that find themselves so bemused, I recommend having a look at yesterday’s interview with philosopher Robert Stalnaker, by 3:AM magazine. The discussion ranges over a wide spectrum of issues, from the importance of pragmatics to the motivations for possible worlds metaphysics. Along the way a number of contact points with the concerns of argumentation theory can be discerned. Consider Stalnaker on this bit about contextualism and disagreement, for example:
There is a philosophical problem that needs to be addressed, but the threat is not just an abstract philosophical concern. The contextualist picture also points to a practical threat that is worth worrying about. The contexts in which discourse and inquiry take place can be, and are, manipulated in ways that distort the outcome. If, as I believe, we can make sense of rational discourse, deliberation and inquiry, only in a given context which involves substantive presuppositions, we face a daunting challenge when the contexts we find ourselves in are skewed – when the basic presuppositions that define the context are false. When disagreements are deep, or when one judges that our whole way of looking at things is radically mistaken, we need to find our way into a new context, and there may be no neutral way to do so. But we have rich and diverse resources for talking and thinking about the world and for deciding what we must do, and even if there is no absolutely neutral set of rules governing rational activity, and no safe platform where we are guaranteed to find common ground on which to settle our disagreements and find the truth, with good will we can usually find a way to get to a place where we can understand each other, and engage in what we can agree is rational debate.
The interview is well worth your time, if you have an interest in connections like these. A plus is that the interviewer makes a point of pushing the question of how the work that Stalnaker does as a professional philosopher is relevant to the world outside the discipline–a challenge that Stalnaker largely is able to answer. You can read interview in its entirety here.
Read Full Post »
Below are a few details about an intensive graduate course on reasoning to be held over one week at Lund University in Sweden. Credits earned will be transferable, and there is a possibility that help with accommodations may be made available.
Reasoning, 7,5 ECTS
Lecturer: Frank Zenker
Course dates: One week (Mo-Fr 10-12 and 14-16) in autumn 2012. Enter your date preferences now:
If you would like to take this course please get in touch with the instructor now. E-mail & webpage
The study of reasoning—deductive, inductive, abductive, belief revision, defeasible, cross cultural, conversational, argumentative—is a major focus of investigation in both psychology and philosophy. Next to more traditional issues arising from the rationality debate, this includes a focus on fallacious reasoning and its reduction through education, the development of pragmatics, and the study of human reasoning process through neuro-imaging techniques.
Aim: The aim of this course is to enable learners to orient themselves in this research area (which may reasonably be called interdisciplinary) to the extent that they can actively participate in current empirical research and discourse on this matter.
We will work through select parts of a recently compiled selection of “classics” from a reader by Adler and Rips (2008). The three major themes are: 1. Foundations of Reasoning (Philosophical Viewpoints; Fallacies and Rationality), 2. Modes of Reasoning (Deductive Reasoning; Induction; Dual and Integrative Approaches; Abduction and Belief change; Causal and Counterfactual Reasoning; Argumentation); 3. Interactions of Reasoning in Human Thought (Reasoning and Pragmatics; domain-specific, Goal Based, and Evolutionary Approaches; Reasoning and Cultures; Biology, Emotions, and Reasoning).
Workload/Grading: Successful completion requires reading 20 to 30 pages per meeting, and the preparation and delivery of a max. 30 minute group presentation on one of the above subthemes (the presentation requires additional reading of ca. 60-90 pages). Learners are expected to focus on at least one of the above subthemes (see the table of content under the link below).
Grading occurs on the basis of presentation, an intermediate quiz, peer feedback, and a final paper (of 10-15 pages) due within 2 months after the end of the course.
Prerequisites: A background in mathematics or logic may be found helpful for some (but not all) subthemes. Learners with a background in the empirical sciences are especially welcome. A background in philosophy is not necessary to successfully conclude the course. Those interested in pursuing empirical work are assumed to have a background in empirical research methodology (which is not provided in this course). The course is open to students at Master’s level and up. The language of instruction is English.
Read Full Post »
Knowing that the process of intellectual development begins long before publication, The American Dialectic Charitable Trust provides opportunities for promising individuals whose efforts and contributions might otherwise go unaided or unrecognized. The Annual Dissertation Contest provides visibility and support for promising new scholars in philosophy and related fields, promoting individuals who continually develop themselves intellectually in such a way that the greater community of thinkers is also served.
The American Dialectic Dissertation Contest is open to all current and recent graduates. The author of the winning essay will receive $500 and the winning essay will be published in American Dialectic the following term. Materials are accepted on a rolling basis, but all finalized materials must be recieved no later than October 1st. For eligibility requirements and contest instructions, please visit: www.AmericanDialectic.org/Dissertation/
American Dialectic is currently accepting submissions in all areas of philosophy. If you would like to learn more about how to submit an article or response to American Dialectic, please visit our submission guidelines page.
Read Full Post »