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WANTED: Ideas for a paper or a panel discussion or a book review session for the AILACT Group Session at the Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association, February 18-21, 2015, at the Ballpark Hilton, St. Louis.

This is a great way to share some ideas and test some arguments with friends. It’s always a fun social occasion too.

Topics include:  critical thinking, informal logic, argumentation, their instruction, assessment, and philosophical and psychological foundations.

Please send ideas or questions by September 30 to Kevin Possin: kpossin@winona.edu

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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.

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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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Some RAIL readers may recall the fracas that developed between Peter Wood, of the NAS and AILACT around the end of 2011.  Unfortunately, it’s a fracas in which RAIL played a direct role–something I sincerely regret. Though I had written what I hoped was a moderate-in-tone post questioning Wood’s use of the term ‘critical thinking’ before this, it was a guest post by Don Lazere that really earned Wood’s anger in sufficient quantity for him to denounce both RAIL and AILACT in a post at the Chronicle of Higher Education website. Many members of AILACT, including myself, found Wood’s characterization of the organization and its conception of critical thinking in this post to be both unfair and inaccurate.  In order to respond to Wood’s charges, the Board of AILACT wrote the following reply, which appears in the organization’s April Newsletter.  It is reproduced here, in its entirety, by permission of the Board.  In addition to setting the record straight about AILACT and the sense of critical thinking it endorses, I hope that it sets the stage for a more constructive dialogue between AILACT and Wood, and with others who care about critical thinking and its place in higher education.

A Reply by the AILACT Board to Peter Wood’s CHE Comments on “Critical Thinking” (more…)

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The Association for Informal Logic and Critical Thinking invites submissions the 2012 AILACT Essay Prize.  Value: $300 U.S. The prize-winning paper will be published in Informal Logic, contingent upon meeting the conditions specified in the prize’s notice, available at http://ailact.mcmaster.ca/. Papers related to the teaching or theory of informal logic or critical thinking, and papers on argumentation theory, will be considered for the prize. Authors need not be members of AILACT. Previously unpublished papers, and papers published or accepted for publication between January 1, 2009 and October 31, 2012, are eligible.  Maximum length: 6,000 words. Please send the paper ready for blind-reviewing. The deadline for receipt of submissions now is October 31, 2011.  For further questions, contact Susana Nuccetelli at sinuccetelli@stcloudstate.edu.

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Editor’s Note: The following is a guest article by longtime critical thinking advocate and researcher Donald Lazere.  Prof. Lazere is Professor Emeritus of English at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

WHY IS THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOLARS SAYING SUCH AWFUL THINGS ABOUT CRITICAL THINKING?

Donald Lazere, Professor Emeritus of English, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Two of National Association of Scholars president Peter Wood’s recent “Innovations” blogs in the online Chronicle of Higher Education renewed NAS’s long-running attack on the theory and teaching of critical thinking, about which he and I had an e-mail go-round a few years ago. I think there have been several semantic misunderstandings here that have needlessly exacerbated the dispute, and I will try, once again, to overcome these here.

In “The Curriculum of Forgetting“ (Nov. 21), Wood wrote “What we need is a reversal of cultural tides, a restoration of the basic principle that the university is responsible for keeping the past imaginatively alive and available for the present.  The stance of generalized antagonism to the whole of Western civilization and the elevation of “critical thinking” in the sense of facile reductionism (everything at bottom is about race-gender-class hierarchy) makes the university function more and more as our society’s chief source of anti-intellectualism.”

In “Leaf Taking” (Dec. 4), he added, “We have elevated ‘critical thinking’ as the chief and worthiest end of a liberal education.  Perhaps it is time for a reassessment.   The critical thinker who is deaf to culture’s deeper appeals is impoverished in some profound ways.  He is equipped to take everything apart but not to put anything together.  We need more minds capable of moving at ease and grasping the whole.”

I posted the following comment in response to the Dec. 4 piece, but as I should have made clearer, it was directed more to the previous one: (more…)

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CALL FOR PAPERS: AILACT @ the APA Eastern Division, December 28-30, 2011, Washington, DC
Deadline: July 31

We are now accepting proposals on any relevant topic for the Association for Informal Logic and Critical Thinking (AILACT) session to be held in conjunction with this year’s Eastern Division meetings of the APA.  Papers, papers-with-commentators, author-meets-critics, and panel discussions are all welcome. Send proposals or abstracts to dhcohen@colby.edu by July 31.

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