Conferencistas plenarios

Christopher W. Tindale

Es profesor de Filosofía y Director del Centro de Investigación en Razonamiento, Argumentación y Retórica en la Universidad de Windsor, Canadá. Recibió su Ph.D. en filosofía en la Universidad de Waterloo, Canadá, y enseñó por muchos años en la Universidad de Trent antes de ser parte de la Universidad de Windsor en 2006.

Es co-editor de la revista Informal Logic es parte de varios comités de otras revistas. Sus intereses investigativos se centran en teoría de la argumentación, filosofía griega y ética, en las que tiene publicaciones. Además de los artículos publicados, su publicaciones clave son: (con Leo Groarke) Good Reasoning Matters (Oxford, 1989/5th ed. Forthcoming 2012), Acts of Arguing (SUNY, 1999), Rhetorical Argumentation (Sage, 2004), Fallacies and Argument Appraisal (Cambridge, 2007), Reason’s Dark Champions (South Carolina, 2010), and Einführung in die Informelle Logik (Fern Universität, 2011).

Título de la conferencia magistral:

The Force of the Better Argument: Rhetoric’s Role in Informal Logic

Jürgen Habermas has famously noted the importance of informal logic in his theory of communicative action (1984) and then in the book translated as Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action (1990). He writes there that a theory of argumentation must take the form of an “informal logic” (1990:63), insisting that in order to provide substantive content arguments must escape the restrictions of deduction. William Rehg also finds Habermas’ approach to argumentation to be “consistent with that of mainstream informal logic” (Cogent Science in Context, 2009:132). In his own treatment of argumentation, Habermas insisted that the Aristotelian triad of logic (product), dialectic (procedure), and rhetoric (process) must all be included, and considered the goal of rhetoric to be “convincing a universal audience and gaining general assent for an utterance” (1984:26). While each level of the triad has its own feature of ideality, together they provide a multi-level theory for meeting the demands of communicative actions. But it is important that they operate together: “At no single one of these analytic levels can the very idea intrinsic to argumentative speech be adequately developed” (1984:26).  This forms the basis of Habermas’ critique of two other theories of argument, those of Wolfgang Klein and Stephen Toulmin, both judged to have emphasized one level at the expense of the others.

This raises questions of whether informal logic can operate as a serious theory of argumentation without a rhetorical component, on Habermasian terms, and on any other terms? And if it must—that is, both if informal logic should be deemed a serious theory of argumentation, and it should have a rhetorical component—then what role will the rhetorical take? In terms of the Aristotelian triad, informal logic has seemed to emphasize the product (Ralph Johnson & Tony Blair; Trudy Govier), and/or the procedure (Douglas Walton). Now we must consider what is at stake in emphasizing the process.

In this talk, I explore the role rhetoric takes in informal logic, conceived of as a theory of argumentation. I look at this from a position that recognizes all three of logic, dialectic and rhetoric being important. Because we understand—and have done so since Aristotle—that good arguments do not necessarily persuade the audiences for whom they are intended, we cannot afford to focus only on the products of argumentation. What, then, is it that adds the ‘force’ to good arguments and makes them successful? This is where the role that rhetoric must be involved. In the course of exploring this issue, I will look at Habermas’ own treatment of argumentation, since it is Habermas who speaks so effectively of the ‘force of the better argument’. But what he means by this has been complicated by Rehg’s recent argument (2009) that the rhetorical component of Habermas’ theory of argumentation is in fact just another aspect of the dialectical and not rhetorical at all.