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Via The Non Sequitur, the blog of Scott Akin and John Casey:

School has started again. For some of us academics, this means shifting from reading professional literature to papers written by absolute beginners. Over the years this can wear on you, especially since you’ll encounter the same moves over and over and over. The sheer repetitiveness of it will cause you to ask whether you’re having any effect at all on their work. If you’re smart, you’ll vent about it to your trusted colleagues in the friendly confines of the faculty lounge. They will commiserate with you, and hopefully remind you of your obligations as a teacher. After a scotch or two and some quality time in a chesterfield chair, you’ll return to class refreshed, or maybe a bit buzzed, but nonetheless ready to do whatever it is you do.

Should you lack good mentors or quality whisky, you may be tempted to go online with a post about how stupid the kids are. Before you do this, you need to remind yourself of three critical things…

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Read the rest of this excellent post here.

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Source: Unilateral Disarmament in the “War on Science”

Some scientists perceive themselves as an embattled minority, fending off attacks from a public whose declining trust in science has been manufactured by self-interested adversaries aided by an easily-duped press. This perception is largely unfounded. When scientists communicate to the public from this point of view, they don’t contribute usefully to public deliberations. In fact, they add more toxins to the already polluted science communication environment. There has to be a better way.

Read the rest of the post at Jean’s excellent blog.

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CRRAR has announced their schedule of seminars for Winter 2015. Click the link below for a pdf copy of the schedule, which includes dates and location information.

CRRAR-Schedule of seminars

As readers of this site are no doubt aware, CRRAR runs a schedule of seminars, colloquia, and argumentation- and informal logic-related events throughout the year. As can be seen from the schedule for Winter, these feature leading argumentation scholars from programs from around the world as well as speakers from CRRAR itself. The discussions are always lively! Hope to see you there!

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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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home_180The latest issue of the journal Cogency is now available! Most articles are open access pdf downloads. Do check it out!

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From the Journal homepage:

In Greek mythology, Eris is the goddess of discord, strife, and quarrel. Aesop warned that Eris should be left undisturbed since combating Eris could cause it to intensify. However, Hesiod recognized Eris’s second nature as a force of progress and improvement, the noble competition. Argumentation and debate can regulate Eris and prioritize its second positive nature, sometimes leading to the solution or dissolution of the dispute.

The purpose of Eris is to refine and reflect on theory and practice of argumentation and debate. It seeks to attract and promote theoretical, empirical, and educational contributions on argumentation and debate from several perspectives (philosophical, rhetorical, educational, psychological, among others) with a focus on both their function to regulate conflicts and disagreements and their epistemic function.

Therefore, we invite you to submit paper proposals for the next issues of Eris. Italian, English, French and Spanish papers will be accepted for peer review.

For paper guidelines, please check the website: Eris.

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Dan Cohen did a very nice TED talk on argumentation. If you haven’t seen it already, do check it out below!

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