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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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Poznań Reasoning Week 2018

Deadline for submissions: 1 JUNE 2018

 

https://poznanreasoningweek.wordpress.com/

Poznań Reasoning Week 2018, which is the third edition of PRW, consists of three conferences, aimed at bringing together experts whose research offers a broad range of perspectives on systematic analyses of reasoning processes and their formal modelling. PRW 2018 is co-organised by the Institute of Psychology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland, and Institute of Philosophy, University of Zielona Góra, Poland.

In 2018 we will address:
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Of possible interest to argumentation theorists…

Applied philosophy examines the questions that are most central and relevant to the ways that we live our lives. Many of these questions are epistemic in nature, since questions about what can be known, understood, and reasonably believed, and questions about how we ought to understand the world around us relate directly to our lives. Applied epistemology marks a natural intersection between epistemology and ethics, both because our epistemic activities and beliefs are important determinants of our actions, and because our epistemic agency itself is a central part of our personhood.

Possible topics include:

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Amsterdam, the Netherlands

July 2, 2018

The recent movement of people from one place to another due to precarious circumstances furnishes a decisive, contemporary subject for inquiry. Arguers assemble and move themselves and things about within cities and across countries via material and immaterial networks. Identities are mixed. Status split. Pro and con arguments work amid situations where the roles of hospitality, exchange, and collaboration mix and meet restrictions, group disconnections, and resistance. What are the stances, schemes, and genre of rescuers, smugglers, camp-life, border life, and residential enclaves? What are the dialogical capacities, apparatus, and ties of migrants, refugees, diasporatic groups, displaced persons, specious document holders, extended visa holders, temporary workers, and students? After what scholars call the mobility turn, the history of movement provides new language to understand the ambit of everyday, informal reasoning, as the new “normal”: exile, exodus, migration, expatriation, place-less-ness, multiple identities, and anonymity often without the option of returning “home.”

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“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: Continue Reading »

Tonight marked a very special occasion for the entire argumentation theory community: the inaugural lecture opening the Argumentation Studies Ph.D. program at the University of Windsor.

To be clear the program’s first class of students began classes at the start of this term, so tonight’s event was more ceremonial than operational, but it was a great event. It was an honor to be there. The lecture was given by guest of honor Frans van Eemeren, and covered the history, recent trends in and future prospects of the pragma-dialectic school of argumentation theory. It was a lovely talk and Professor van Eemeren closed it with words of encouragement for the first class of Argumentation Studies Ph.D. students:

“The future is yours.”

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This is the Life We Have Chosen

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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