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Argumentative theory of reasoning subject of Friday symposium

The argumentative theory of reasoning challenges the traditional view that the function of reasoning is to help us get better beliefs and improve our decision-making, says philosophy professor Christopher Tindale.

“Instead, the theory presents reasoning as a purely social phenomenon that has developed in order to help us convince others and monitor the ways other people try to convince us,” he says. “One interesting consequence is that apparent flawed reasoning is itself a useful adaptation that aids in persuasion.”

One of the developers of the theory, cognitive social scientist Hugo Mercier of the University of Neuchâtel, will be on hand for a symposium on the subject at 2:30 p.m. Friday, October 5, in Assumption University’s Freed-Orman Centre.

Dr. Mercier will deliver a talk entitled “The Evolution of Argumentation” and will hear responses from a panel of experts:

  • philosopher Ian Hacking, University of Toronto;
  • cognitive psychologist Lori Buchanan, University of Windsor;
  • communications scholar Mark Aakhus, Rutgers University; and
  • computational legal theorist Burkhard Schafer, University of Edinburgh.

The event, sponsored by the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric, is free and open to the public.

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