Tag Archives: Paul Thagard

OSSA Day One: Thagard’s “Critical Thinking versus Informal Logic”

So begins our "live blogging" exercise from the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation conference.  I won't comment on the beer store, the Vietnamese restaurant, or Detroit Coney Island style hot dogs, or the 2.50  3.00 dollar Rye.

Scott will comment on Doug Walton's paper on argument schemes are dialogue; here a quick note about this morning's keynote by Paul Thagard's, "Critical Thinking versus Informal Logic." 

Always interesting about papers like these are the examples of motivated reasoning, which Thagard might call "inference."  Argument, by constrast, is the stuff you do in logic class.  The problem Thagard points to is that argument has little cognitive value; we arrive at most of our beliefs by a process of inference, which, is unfortunately susceptible to various motivational distortions (fear, hope, etc.).  So what of argument?  Argument can at best be a corrective, used in the best of circumstances to influence inference, perhaps overnight, asleep, or while dreaming.