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Archive for the ‘Critical Thinking’ Category

Submissions are invited for the 2018 AILACT Essay Prize in informal logic/critical thinking/argumentation theory. This will be the 14th year in which the prize ($500 U.S.) has been offered. Submissions are due by September 1, 2018. For details, see below. The details are also available at: https://ailact.wordpress.com and in the attached flyer.

Eligibility Requirements
(more…)

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Via Tim van Gelder:

IARPA is currently recruiting thousands of participants to test the analytic methods developed for its CREATE (Crowdsourcing Evidence, Argumentation, Thinking and Evaluation) program.  IARPA is the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.  CREATE is a multi-million-dollar, multi-year R&D effort to improve the core process of intelligence analysis: making well-reasoned inferences from incomplete information. If effective, CREATE analytic tools could greatly assist many other disciplines that depend on good reasoning, including, law, medicine, and public policy. CREATE is a basic research program; it does not involve any security restrictions, and its research outputs will be freely available.

Participating might be interesting for anyone working in applied epistemology, critical thinking, informal reasoning, or probabilistic reasoning.  It might also be helpful for students wishing to develop their analytical reasoning skills.

For more information see: Frequently Asked Questions about CREATE

Here is the sign-up page: join.createbetterreasoning.com

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A lot has changed since RAIL was launched in December of 2009. I can’t believe it has

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Review, revise, keep rolling!

been almost a decade! With a little extra time on my hands I’ve been doing some thinking about how RAIL can best serve the argumentation and critical thinking research communities going forward.

One of the most important changes is that I’m working on strengthening the critical thinking side of RAIL. To that end I’ve recently launched the Critical Thinking Research Gateway, a page of links and research starters to help researchers find current work on critical thinking across the disciplines. I will also be looking to run more critical thinking-oriented content. That doesn’t mean that argumentation will no longer be featured on RAIL, however. The RAIL Resources page, as well as the Study Argumentation and People pages are still active and will remain so. (If you or your program is listed there, you could help by reviewing the information that’s there and making sure it’s accurate.)

What’s not there anymore is the ArgEvents Calendar. In the early days of RAIL there weren’t many other common places online where it was easy to get the word out about conferences and symposia in argumentation, apart from a couple of listservs. There are now thriving communities for argumentation across the web, including LinkedIn and Facebook, where this information is shared–more often than not by the organizers themselves.  The number of events–especially regularly recurring events–has grown exponentially too. This is an awesome development! It is however, also one that makes it hard for one person to keep up with. For this reason, although CFPs are most welcome and will still be posted at RAIL, I’m letting go of the attempt to keep a comprehensive calendar of argumentation-related events going.

One thing I’m considering adding is a page devoted to job postings (PhD studentships, research positions, and faculty positions) where critical thinking or argumentation are central to the work to be done. I’m curious to know what the community thinks. Is this a good idea or are folks happy to use other means to find candidates/positions for academic work in argumentation and critical thinking? Post here in the comments or drop me a line at railargumentation[at]gmail.com and let me know. As always, comments and suggestions for how to improve RAIL are more than welcome!

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Naturally I believe every issue of Informal Logic should be read cover to cover, but the most recent issue is particularly timely and deserves special mention here. Informal Logic Vol 38, No 1 (2018): Special Issue: Reason and Rhetoric in the Time of Alternative Facts is everything it’s title promises. Hats off to special editors Katharina Stevens and Michael Baumtrog for giving us the perfect antidote to the narcotic of fake news: a collection of articles that demystify and respond to it with clear, careful and informed thought.  It’s got Trump. It’s got snakes. It’s got everything you need to get started with your Defense Against the Dark Arts homework. Do check it out!

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800px-Decoys

“Decoys” by V.H. Hatter, CC SA-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons. No endorsement implied.

The Phenomenon

The “fake news” phenomenon plays on highly predictable and prevalent weaknesses in human cognition: confirmation bias, ownership/endowment effects, and belief overkill using messages with high affective valence, usually negative. Emotions of fear, outrage, and suspicion typically are featured, but sometimes positive themes are used too, like appeals to feelings of patriotism or nostalgia for an idealized past. The images selected typically reflect whatever the emotional focus is, or whoever (or whatever, in the case of abstract institutions) is the target of that focus. There is no attempt at truthful communication. Sources are often described rather than named (think pizzagate’s “New York City police detective”, or phrases like “sources close to the Trump family”). Essentially, fake news stories follow the same sort of style as tabloid writing: sensationalistic, unverifiable, and over-the-top claims are made about publicly recognizable figures for money. That’s nothing new. Tabloid journalism has been around since papers started being printed. What’s “new” about fake news is that: (more…)

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On 30th August, 2015, the critical thinking research community lost one of its earliest and most consistent supporters, Richard Paul. A memorial and biography of Dr. Paul can be found here on the website of the influential critical thinking organization he co-founded, the Critical Thinking Community.

A future issue of the journal Informal Logic will be devoted to discussion of Richard Paul’s works and influence on critical thinking research and advocacy.

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Beyond Critical Thinking: A Symposium

Friday, 13 November 2015
York University

Over the past 50 years a great deal of work has been done in the young field of Argumentation Theory. Much of this work is highly relevant to traditional Critical Thinking and Critical Reasoning pedagogy. Nonetheless, it has been largely ignored by the many instructors of those courses who are not themselves working in Argumentation Theory. In this symposium each speaker will relate their work to uses in the classroom and discuss the impact it can have on students and their approach to argument. Following each speaker, all the invited speakers and several other qualified scholars will form a panel and answer questions and raise points of discussion.

There will be two speakers in the morning and two in the afternoon. The morning and afternoon sessions will followed by a panel consisting of all speakers and other qualified persons. The panel will be discussion-based and participant led.

Invited Speakers:

  • Catherine Hundleby, University of Windsor
  • Michael A. Gilbert, York University
  • Chris Tindale, University of Windsor
  • Harvey Siegel, University of Miami

The Symposium takes place on Friday, 13 November, 2015 at:

York University
4700 Keele St.
Department of Philosophy
Toronto, Canada M3J 1P3

Lunch will be provided to registrants.

To register, please click here: http://sgy.apps01.yorku.ca/machform/view.php?id=13165

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