Three contrasting approaches to the epistemology of argument are presented. Each one is naturalistic, drawing upon successful practices as the basis for epistemological virtue. But each looks at very different sorts of practices and they differ greatly as to the manner with which relevant practices may be described. My own contribution relies on a metamathematical reconstruction of mature science, and as such, is a radical break with the usual approaches within the theory of argument.
The periodic table may be seen as the most successful example of inquiry in the history of science, both in terms of practical application and theoretic understanding. As such, it serves as a model for truth as it emerges from inquiry. This paper offers a sketch of a central moment in the history of chemistry that illustrates an intuitive metamathematical construction, a model of emerging truth. The MET, reflecting the structure the surrounds the periodic table, attempts to capture the salient (...) epistemological elements that warrant truth claims based on sets of models that are progressive in light of both empirical and theoretical advance seen over time. (shrink)
Recently Erik Scerri has published an influential philosophical history of the development of the Periodic Table. Following Scerri’s account, I will explore the main thread of the arguments responsible for the remarkable advancement of scientific understanding that the Periodic Table represents. I will argue that the history of disputation at crucial junctures in the debate shows sensitivity to the aspects of truth that are captured by my model of truth in inquiry. The availability of a clear and explicit model of (...) truth in inquiry is of crucial importance as a response to post-modernist and other relativistic accounts of inquiry. It shows that despite such apparent sociological constraints as acceptability a robust theory of truth is available as a foundation for evaluating argumentation. (shrink)
In this article it is argued that a complex model that includes Toulmin's functional account of argument, the pragma-dialectical stage analysis of argumentation offered by the Amsterdam School, and criteria developed in critical thinking theory, can be used to account for the normativity and field-dependence of argumentation in science. A pragma-dialectical interpretation of the four main elements of Toulmin's model, and a revised account of the double role of warrants, illuminates the domain specificity of scientific argumentation and the restrictions to (...) which the confrontation and opening stages of scientific critical discussions are subjected. In regard to the argumentation stage, examples are given to show that a general account of argumentation, as advocated by informal logicians, is not applicable to arguments in science. Furthermore, although patterns of inference differ in various scientific practices, deductive validity is argued to be a crucial notion in the assessment of scientific arguments. Finally, some remarks are made concerning the burden of proof and the concluding stage of scientific argumentation. (shrink)
A narrative review of a 35-year career in critical thinking reflecting an idiosyncratic approach to both practical and theoretical matters. The social as well as the intellectual context is described. Critical thinking across the disciplines and metamathematics are discussed as alternatives to more standard perspectives such as informal logic.
The problem of what Philosophy is and how it relates to the contemporary concern with thinking and reasoning is one of the first items on the agenda when introducing teachers to Philosophy for Children. Professor Cannon began offering the teachers he trains an overview of these subjects in an attempt to give them a map to some of the areas he and they were to examine during the subsequent workshop. The following is a result of our collaboration in refining this (...) material, which we now use in our teacher training workshops. We offer it in hope that it will be of use to others. (shrink)
I have argued that argumentation theorists should concern themselves with scientific argument as a source for images of epistemic virtue in argument. In this paper I will contrast the lessons learned from this endeavour with their counterpart in the evaluation of political arguments. Despite obvious differences, fundamental symmetries between the two argumentation cultures point to the need for a more serious engagement with rigorous disciplinary arguments in argument theory.
The paper bridges between a science-based metamathematical model of emerging truth and truth emerging from inquiry within ordinary contexts of argumentation. This requires that the underlying intuitions driving the notion of truth in the scientific image be made clear and analogues identified in a manner that permits their application within the ordinary contexts found in the manifest image.
During the past decade, the Philosophy for Children Program has offered teacher-training workshops throughout the United States and elsewhere. The workshops frequently supported by grants, enable teachers to work with a professional philosopher in developing the skills required for teaching critical thinking to elementary and intermediate schools.
Richard Morehouse has identified two crucial areas, central to the pedagogical core of Philosophy for Children. These, he claims enable techniques associated with P4C to be generalized to other contexts. After Lipman, he reminds us that the power of the P4C curriculum is found, first in the novels which are written to be "captivating and beguilding, designed to liberate the literary and illustrative powers of the children and to stimulate their thinking." This philosophical 'liberation' is both enabled by and enables (...) the child's insight into the individual as 'concrete wholes existing in relationships.' The reading of the novels is the basis for the other major program component, the discussion that prompts the 'reflection on that experience,' 'the pulling of leading ideas from the narrative and the application of conceptual tools to the understanding of those ideas.' The ideas that constitute the content of the P4C program are drawn from the philosophical texts and are applied to the text in the discussion. These ideas include the 'basic tools of philosophy.'. (shrink)
In a number of recent discussions of non-standard, Philosophy programs vaarious ages have been identified as the focus for spontaneous or exceptional interest in philosophising. Such claims, supporting a particular population as naturally suited to philosophical inquiry, are based as often as not, on anecdotes that exhibit telling instances of philosophical activity. Needless to say, such motivated activity occurring spontaneously and outside of a formal classroom may occur in many contexts and at various ages. If professional educators egar to support (...) philsophical programs on the basis of the naturalness of the philosophical enterprise are to warrant their interest on the basis of claims to age-appropriateness, some reasonable attempt at gathering empirical data is required. We offer the questionaire on the following pages as a probe to be used by interested educators and others. (shrink)