Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Siegel’


As of a few weeks ago the latest issue of Cogency has been released. The issue contains a number of interesting articles, many of which bear thematic connections to the last OSSA conference back in May.  Of these I recommend two in particular: Dan Cohen’s “Skepticism and Argumentative Virtues“, and Harvey Siegel’s “Argumentation and the Epistemology of Disagreement”. Those that had the good fortune to be at Harvey Siegel’s talk at OSSA on the topic of the latter article will remember an interesting and insightful discussion that brought together recent literature in epistemology and the corpus within argumentation theory on Fogelin’s theory of deep disagreement. Compressed as it was, the presentation hit every major point in the discussion so well that I wound up abandoning a project on the same topic. (To paraphrase Kenny Rogers, you gotta know when to fold ’em!)  Dan Cohen’s paper in this issue of Cogency brings East Asian philosophy to bear on the themes of his keynote address at OSSA 10. Whether you happened to agree with his remarks there or in this article or not, I’m confident in saying that I think you’ll find it harder to find a more interesting paper before year’s end.

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In a recent post on the Chronicle of Higher Education website, frequent contributor and NAS president Peter Wood laments:

“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.”

Wood’s complaint about critical thinking is the punchline to a piece that is largely about how much of intellectual worth is lost when scholars and societies view culture (any culture) through a myopic, modern lens.  To assess this complaint fairly one has to have an idea as to what Wood means by the much vexed term “critical thinking”. Thankfully, he tells us what he means in another posting on the Chronicle website:

“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’ chief source of anti-intellectualism.”

It is hard to disagree with the substance of Wood’s assertion here. Though it is important to take account of how gender, race, and class might exert distorting effects on one’s thinking, critical thinking certainly does not reduce to such considerations, simpliciter. But why think that it does in the first place? Wood’s assertions here and elsewhere (for example, here) seem to presuppose that everyone in the academy (at least in the US) thinks of critical thinking in this way.

But they don’t. (more…)

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The journal THEORIA has just published its 72nd issue with a symposium on Lilian Bermejo-Luque’s, Giving Reasons (Springer, 2011. Argumentation Series). The discussants are John Biro, Harvey Siegel, James B. Freeman, David Hitchcock, Robert C. Pinto and Luis Vega.

In Giving Reasons, Bermejo-Luque attempts to set out and defend an original approach to argumentation theory that hinges on what she calls “argumentation as a second order speech-act complex”.  The discussion that emerges between Bermejo-Luque and her distinguished panel of respondents about this approach to argumentation theory  is an interesting one.  Click here to view the journal page, from which all articles can be accessed free of charge: http://www.ehu.es/ojs/index.php/THEORIA/issue/current.

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