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University of Windsor

Argumentation researchers working to find broader audience

Philosophy professor Christopher Tindale says he is constantly surprised at where his research crops up. A specialist in argumentation theory, he finds citations of his work in unexpected places.

"My work critiquing defenses of torture used to be considered academic," Dr. Tindale says. "But now I see it showing up in discussions of torture as public policy."

This impact on social and political issues is of keen concern to researchers in argumentation, critical thinking, and informal logic. Tindale hopes the publication of his latest book, Fallacies and Argument Appraisal, by Cambridge University Press, will help bring attention to these flourishing fields of study.~

"This is a way in which philosophers can show their ability to connect with common concerns and political questions relevant to everyday life," says Tindale. "We need to educate people in reasoning. We see it in political argument, certainly, but also in advertising."

Fallacies and Argument Appraisal is the second book in a new series from Cambridge University Press on critical reasoning and argumentation. The series is co-edited by Tindale's University of Windsor colleague, Hans Hansen.

"The series is drawing on the latest research and aims to move the theoretical insights into the classroom," Tindale says. "It's part of a conscious effort to affect the way that logic is taught, to influence the academic world."

Among other initiatives in this effort is the founding of the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric at the University of Windsor. The brainchild of its co-directors, philosophy professors emeriti J. Anthony Blair and Ralph Johnson, the centre is envisioned as an international leader in research in these fields.

It will draw together researchers in many disciplines, including English, psychology, communications, and computer science, as well as philosophy. One of the centre's founding principles is to have the public interest drive its research. A reception this afternoon will celebrate the founding of the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric—and the publication of Tindale's book.