Posts Tagged ‘Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation’

Call for Proposals

Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA)


May 22-25, 2013 University of Windsor

Keynote speakers:

Daniel H. Cohen, Department of Philosophy, Colby College

Marianne Doury, Communication & Politics, CNRS – Paris

G. Thomas Goodnight, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California

The OSSA Organizing Committee invites proposals for papers that deal with argumentation, especially those that pertain to the practice of argumentation and its virtues.

Abstracts prepared for blind refereeing must be submitted electronically to the Program Committee no later than SEPTEMBER 7, 2012, to <ossa@uwindsor.ca>

(write ‘[your last name] OSSA abstract’ in the subject line).

Abstracts should be between 200 and 250 words long. Additional information on how to prepare proposals will be available on the conference website in the coming months: www.uwindsor.ca/ossa.

OSSA wishes to promote the work of graduate students and young scholars in the field of argumentation studies. Thus we strongly encourage submissions from this group.

The J. Anthony Blair Prize ($1000 CDN) will be awarded to the student paper presented at the Conference judged to be especially worthy of recognition. The competition is open to all students whose proposals are accepted for the Conference.

Canadian graduate students who need financial assistance in order to attend should advise us when submitting their proposals.

For the purpose of the Conference, a graduate student is one who has not completed her/his graduate program by September 7, 2012.  (Additional information about this prize will also be available on the website.)

Organizing Committee:

H. V. Hansen – C. W. Tindale – C. E, Hundleby

University of Windsor


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OSSA 2011 is now officially in the bag.  It was a good week. With such a high volume of papers presented it’s possible to follow many trajectories, but these were my highlights:

The Ambassador Bridge

  • Attending a pre-conference workshop on normative pragmatics with Jean Goodwin and Beth Innocenti. Jean and Beth did a fantastic job explaining their views and those of Fred Kauffeld, with whom I was also fortunate enough to chat with at length. Even having known something of these views before, I left considerably enriched for the experience, and convinced that normative pragmatics is a research program that deserves a lot more investigation and development.
  • Discourse analyst Karen Tracy’s keynote address on reasonable hostility in public hearings was also rich with ideas that I intend to think a lot more about in the coming weeks–especially her conception of how issues move through phases of being unarguable (unreflectively taken as settled), arguable (manifestly unsettled or controversial) and then unarguable again (settled sufficiently for the public discussion to move on).  This is not to say that the other keynotes were not also worthwhile–they were. Paul Thagard’s effort to bring a neuropsychological viewpoint to the discussion over the nature of critical thinking was timely, and David Hitchcock’s presentation of his work on inference claims was as interesting and challenging as those who know his work would expect it to be. (You can read the abstracts of the keynotes here.)
  • Having the chance both to attend Maurice Finocchiaro’s session on deep disagreement and to chat with him about it afterwards was illuminating.  As readers of this blog will know, deep disagreement is one of my areas of interest within argumentation theory. Finocchiaro’s work, which will be part of a forthcoming book on meta-argumentation, moves the discussion of deep disagreement forward in what I think are all the right ways.  I’m very glad he’s taken the problem on in the way that he has.
  • Of course I have to thank the wonderful audience that attended my presentation on the history of conductive argument and reflective equilibrium as well. We had an excellent discussion from which I learned much that I will bear in mind as I carry forward my work on this and other projects.

Finally, no discussion of an OSSA conference would be complete without mention of the enormous camaraderie and good will that animates these events.  Coming away from this iteration of OSSA I am reminded of my initial impression that the argumentation community models what I think are scholarly ideals of diversity of approach, internationality and interdisciplinarity.  Of course, we have our divisions and competitive moments just like any other body of scholars.  This is only natural among diverse people who care deeply about what they study and who struggle to get it right.  What is impressive about argumentation theory is that these divisions enliven the discussions rather than hamper them.  In many ways, these gatherings are as much gatherings of friends as they are academic gatherings. Thus, though I won’t try the reader’s patience with a long list of names, I will close this entry by saying how glad I am to have had the chance to catch up with so many old friends, and to have made so many new ones. All in all, it was a week well spent. I look forward to the next one.

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The Ambassador Bridge, via Wikimedia Commons. Original by Mike Russell, CC 3.0 S-A

As many in the argumentation studies community know next week is OSSA 9, one of the bigger events on our calendars.  The conference theme this go around is “Argumentation, Cognition and Community”.  Having had a look at the schedule I think this promises to be an interesting conference. Many leading scholars in argumentation, informal logic, rhetoric, and normative pragmatics will be there presenting and responding to papers.  There is also a good range of strong papers by up and coming scholars as well.  This is one to look forward to, if you’ll be coming.

All the pertinent information for OSSA, including .pdf downloads of the schedule and abstracts among other things, can be accessed here.

Unfortunately, as we all know, not everyone who would like to attend can attend.  These are tough times and many of us find ourselves at institutions who can’t always support travel to events like these as often or to the degree that they would wish. For those who won’t be coming but want to follow along, I thought I might propose a conference back-channel on Twitter with the hashtag #OSSA2011.  Those of us who have Twitter accounts and will be there could post about discussions, sessions, workshops, and everything else OSSA between sessions or whenever else we have the chance.  That way those who cannot come can follow along. An added benefit is that those of us who are there will be able get to know each other a little better and to coordinate a little easier when it comes to dinner plans, taxi rides, etc.. (To get a better idea of how it works, you might check out this post from the innovative and consistently helpful ProfHacker blog on the Chronicle of Higher Ed website.)

If you’re interested, let me know!  You can comment here or post to Twitter including “#OSSA2011” somewhere in your tweet.

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