Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) has undergone dramatic transformations since its emergence as a distinct discipline. This paper aims to highlight the scope, power, and future promise of evo-devo to transform and unify diverse aspects of biology. We articulate key questions at the core of eleven biological disciplines—from Evolution, Development, Paleontology, and Neurobiology to Cellular and Molecular Biology, Quantitative Genetics, Human Diseases, Ecology, Agriculture and Science Education, and lastly, Evolutionary Developmental Biology itself—and discuss why evo-devo is uniquely situated to substantially improve (...) our ability to find meaningful answers to these fundamental questions. We posit that the tools, concepts, and ways of thinking developed by evo-devo have profound potential to advance, integrate, and unify biological sciences as well as inform policy decisions and illuminate science education. We look to the next generation of evolutionary developmental biologists to help shape this process as we confront the scientific challenges of the 21st century. (shrink)
Virtue argumentation theory provides the best framework for accommodating the notion of an argument that is “fully satisfying” in a robust and integrated sense. The process of explicating the notion of fully satisfying arguments requires expanding the concept of arguers to include all of an argument’s participants, including judges, juries, and interested spectators. And that, in turn, requires expanding the concept of an argument itself to include its entire context.
The claim that argumentation has no proper role in either philosophy or education, and especially not in philosophical education, flies in the face of both conventional wisdom and traditional pedagogy. There is, however, something to be said for it because it is really only provocative against a certain philosophical backdrop. Our understanding of the concept "argument" is both reflected by and molded by the specific metaphor that argument-is-war, something with winners and losers, offensive and defensive moments, and an essentially adversarial (...) structure. Such arguments may be suitable for teaching a philosophy, but not for teaching philosophy. Surely, education and philosophy do not need to be conceived as having an adversarial essence-if indeed they are thought to have any essence at all. Accordingly, philosophy and education need more pragmatic goals than even Pierce's idealized notion of truth as the end of inquiry, e.g., the simple furtherance of inquiry. For this, new metaphors for framing and understanding the concept of argumentation are needed, and some suggestions in that direction will be considered. (shrink)
One result of successful argumentation – able arguers presenting cogent arguments to competent audiences – is a transfer of credibility from premises to conclusions. From a purely logical perspective, neither dubious premises nor fallacious inference should lower the credibility of the target conclusion. Nevertheless, some arguments do backfire this way. Dialectical and rhetorical considerations come into play. Three inter-related conclusions emerge from a catalogue of hapless arguers and backfiring arguments. First, there are advantages to paying attention to arguers and their (...) contexts, rather than focusing narrowly on their arguments, in order to understand what can go wrong in argumentation. Traditional fallacy identification, with its exclusive attention to faulty inferences, is inadequate to explain the full range of argumentative failures. Second, the notion of an Ideal Arguer can be defined by contrast with her less than ideal peers to serve as a useful tool in argument evaluation. And third, not all of the ways that arguers raise doubts about their conclusions are pathological. On the contrary, some ways that doubts are raised concerning our intended conclusions are an integral part of ideal argumentative practice. (shrink)
Technology has made argumentation rampant. We can argue whenever we want. With social media venues for every interest, we can also argue about whatever we want. To some extent, we can select our opponents and audiences to argue with whomever we want. And we can argue however we want, whether in carefully reasoned, article-length expositions, real-time exchanges, or 140-character polemics. The concepts of arguing, arguing well, and even being an arguer have evolved with this new multiplicity and diversity; theory needs (...) to catch up to the new reality. Successful strategies for traditional contexts may be counterproductive in new ones; classical argumentative virtues may be liabilities in new situations. There are new complications to the theorist’s standard questions—What is an argument? and Who is an arguer?—while new ones move into the spotlight—Should we argue at all? and If so, why? Agent-based virtue argumentation theory provides a unifying framework for this radical plurality by coordinated redefinitions of the concepts of good arguers and good arguments. It remains true that good arguers contribute to good arguments, and good arguments satisfy good arguers, but the new diversity strains the old unity. Ironically, a unifying factor is provided by examining those paragons of bad arguers, argument trolls whose contributions to arguments are not very good, not really contributions, and, ultimately, not genuine argumentation. (shrink)
Is argumentation essentially adversarial? The concept of a devil's advocate—a cooperative arguer who assumes the role of an opponent for the sake of the argument—serves as a lens to bring into clearer focus the ways that adversarial arguers can be virtuous and adversariality itself can contribute to argumentation's goals. It also shows the different ways arguments can be adversarial and the different ways that argumentation can be said to be "essentially" adversarial.
Virtue epistemology was modeled on virtue ethics theories to transfer their ethical insights to epistemology. VE has had great success: broadening our perspective, providing new answers to traditional questions, and raising exciting new questions. I offer a new argument for VE based on the concept of cognitive achievements, a broader notion than purely epistemic achievements. The argument is then extended to cognitive transformations, especially the cognitive transformations brought about by argumentation.
This work formalizes an informant-based structured argumentation approach in a multi-agent setting, where the knowledge base of an agent may include information provided by other agents, and each piece of knowledge comes attached with its informant. In that way, arguments are associated with the set of informants corresponding to the information they are built upon. Our approach proposes an informant-based notion of argument strength, where the strength of an argument is determined by the credibility of its informant agents. Moreover, we (...) consider that the strength of an argument is not absolute, but it is relative to the resolution of the conflicts the argument is involved in. In other words, the strength of an argument may vary from one context to another, as it will be determined by comparison to its attacking arguments (respectively, the arguments it attacks). Finally, we equip agents with the means to express reasons for or against the consideration of any piece of information provided by a given informant agent. Consequently, we allow agents to argue about the arguments’ strength through the construction of arguments that challenge (respectively, defeat) or are in favour of their informant agents. (shrink)
This paper explores the outlines of a framework for evaluating arguments. Among the factors to take into account are the strength of the arguers' inferences, the level of their engagement with objections raised by other interlocutors, and their effectiveness in rationally persuading their target audiences. Some connections among these can be understood only in the context of meta-argumentation and meta-rationality. The Principle of Meta-Rationality (PMR)--that reasoning rationally includes reasoning about rationality-is used to explain why it can be rational to resist (...) dialectically satisfying arguments or accept logically flawed ones. (shrink)
In his biography of Isaac Newton, which forms the most recent production in this flourishing genre, Niccolò Guicciardini states as his first point of departure that Newton's work arose not from ‘attempts to answer questions that came to him spontaneously, but [from addressing] those posed by his contemporaries’. Right he is to communicate to the larger audience for which he is writing this principal fruit of by now almost a century of professional history-of-science writing – a deep-seated awareness that every (...) scientific view or finding, even if looking timeless in retrospect, has emerged from some given historical context that shows us where the scientist in question started, and that helps explain how, and in what direction, they managed to venture beyond the original context. Indeed, the same truth applies to every genuine – that is, in some way innovative and also worthwhile – contribution to scholarship. And so it is, therefore, with the three books here under review, which I intend to examine with the following leading question in mind: what in each of them is new and what, in what turns out to be new indeed, has been worth learning? (shrink)
While deductive validity provides the limiting upper bound for evaluating the strength and quality of inferences, by itself it is an inadequate tool for evaluating arguments, arguing, and argumentation. Similar remarks can be made about rhetorical success and dialectical closure. Then what would count as ideal argumentation? In this paper we introduce the concept of cognitive compathy to point in the direction of one way to answer that question. It is a feature of our argumentation rather than my argument or (...) your argument. In that respect, compathy is like the harmonies achieved by an accomplished choir, the spontaneous coordination of athletic teamwork, or the experience of improvising jazz musicians when they are all in the flow together. It is a characteristic of arguments, not a virtue that can be attributed to individual arguers. It makes argumentation more than just the sum of its individual parts. The concept of cognitive compathy is brought into focus by locating it at the confluence of two lines of thought. First, we work up to the concept of compathy by contrasting it with empathy and sympathy in the context of emotions, which is then transplanted into epistemic, cognitive, and argumentative soil. Second, the concept is analytically linked to ideal argumentation by way of authenticity in communication. In the final section, we explore the extent to which argumentative virtues are conducive to producing compathetic argumentation, but reach the unhappy conclusion that the extra value of compathetic argumentation also transcends the evaluative reach of virtue argumentation theory. (shrink)