Past Student Fellows

Student Fellows 2018-2019

Michael Andrew Yong-Set is currently a PhD candidate in the University of Windsor's Argumentation Studies program. He completed an MA in Philosophy at the University of Windsor after pursuing his undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Psychology with a specialization in Law and Social Thought at Glendon - York University's bilingual liberal arts campus.

As a philosopher, his fields of interests lie in exploring the inter-relations between epistemology, the analytic philosophy of language and metalogic.

Harmony Peach: Currently, I am a PhD student in Argumentation Studies at the University of Windsor in the Cluster of Feminism and Social Justice.  I have a Master’s Degree in Communication and Social Justice and I hold an Honour’s equivalent Bachelor of Arts in Communication Media and Film. My extensive background as a broadcast and print journalist has helped to shape my research interests which include social power dynamics, institutional and public discourse, bias, ideology, informed consent and ethics. I tend to take a social constructionist view of reality, and am especially interested in how discourse shapes our meaning and understanding. As such, I tend to favour methodological approaches, like Critical Discourse Analysis, and theory which can help to highlight problematic discourse.  

My Master’s research addressed discourse utilized in online organ and tissue donor recruitment and registration, and whether it meets the threshold for informed consent. Moving forward, I will continue to research informed consent in the practice of organ and tissue donation.

Sophia Lutfallah is currently a third-year undergraduate student studying Political Science with a specialization in Law and Politics at the University of Windsor.  Sophia has an extensive background in areas such as government work and elections, as well as a great interest in argumentation studies. 
Since high school, Sophia has been involved in many mock trials and debates, which led to a piqued interest in rhetorical argumentation and extremism in legal arguments. She has explored the types of arguments made by politicians in past debates and has examined how these different types of arguments might influence a voter. Sophia is particularly interested in mastering the art of rhetoric, as she is planning to continue her academic studies in law school.

Student Fellows 2017-2018

Harmony Peach (Communication and Social Justice)
Matthew Steckle (Philosophy)

Student Fellows 2016-2017

Harmony Peach (Communication and Social Justice)
Matthew Steckle (Philosophy)

Student Fellows 2015-2016

Sam Atkin (Law)
Curtis Hyra (Philosophy)
Blake Scott (Philosophy)

Student Fellows 2014-2015

Lauren Earle

Lauren Earle began her MA in Philosophy at the University of Windsor in September 2014. Her research, in conjunction with Dr. Guarini’s area of expertise, is in computational neural modelling and epistemology with a focus on belief-formation. The specifics of her project are still in development but will address Fodor’s Language Of Thought hypothesis and Churchland’s ‘map in the head’ metaphor with reference to Braddon-Mitchel and Jackson. 

Curtis Hyra

Curtis Hyra is currently pursuing his M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Windsor.  His research interests span across environmental philosophy, social-political philosophy and argumentation theory.  Under the supervision of CRRAR research fellow Dr. Marcello Guarini, Curtis will draw on Paul Bartha’s work By Parallel Reasoning on analogical arguments.  Curtis will draw on this research for the completion of his major research paper.  The specific topic of his major research paper is currently under development.  Curtis thanks CRRAR for their support in this endeavor and looks forward to working with the centre over the next several months.

Student Fellows--Fall 2014

Jane Elizabeth McArthur

I have an undergraduate and a Master’s Degree in Communication and Social Justice and am currently in my first year of the PhD Programme in Sociology/Social Justice at the University of Windsor. In both the academic and employment realm, I have been committed to the exploration of the ways in which power relations affect society’s perceptions of occupational and environmental health issues. I tend to favour the methodological and theoretical approaches which have activism or change embedded in them and in particular the idea that words—as they help construct the social world—can also serve to change it. It has been my intent to further pursue research into the mainstream media constructions of breast cancer from the point of view that prevention, occupation and environment are lacking in the discourse, although there are many issues of social relevance which through critical discourse analysis could reveal a great deal about the world we live in as well as ways in which paradigm shifts could alter those discourses towards a more just existence.

Michael Yong-Set

Michael Andrew Yong-Set did his undergraduate honours degree in philosophy and psychology at York University in Toronto. While there, he studied: Argumentation Theory under Michael A. Gilbert; formal logic; informal logic; metalogic and contemporary analytic epistemology.

As a Master's student, he is investigating something that he is calling 'Re-Situating the Logical within the Rhetorical' - which is an attempt to understand how to integrate formal systems of logic within rhetorical frameworks of argumentation. Re-discovering the relevance of formal symbolic logic in the context of real argument may or may not require an exciting re-conception of the nature of logic itself.
Sharpening and precisifying the understanding of the link between logic and real argument would be a great boon for the pedagogical practices of teaching both informal logic and formal logic.

Student Fellows--Winter 2014

Laura Nicola

Laura Nicola began the University of Windsor's  Philosophy MA Program in September 2013. Her interests in argumentation concentrate on the legal field, particularly in regards to the connections between the jurisprudential system as we know it and the accounts of legal argumentation offered by Golding, Feteris, Bickenbach and especially Toulmin. Her research interests partially coincide with Dr. Hansen’s studies on the rhetorical analysis of Louis Riel’s speeches within the legal setting of his time; they are also related to the works of Douglas Walton on Legal and Critical Argumentation.

Matthew Pezzaniti
(2nd term, see below for full details)

Student Fellows -- Autumn 2013

Faizal Forrester

I am currently in the second year of the MA in English Literature, Language and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor. My thesis will bring together my interests in disjunctive poetry and critical literary and cultural theory in an effort to contest or, at the very least, problematize specific histories of ideas most related to Postcolonial Studies. The research I will carry out will lead to the creation of a poetry manuscript, “Boyhood Thinks” and a scholarly essay, “These Noises of Diaspora.” Together they will introduce a scene of diaspora, what I wish to define, borrowing from Judith Butler’s theories on subjection, as melancholy diaspora/refused identification. As a whole, “Boyhood Thinks” and “These Noises of Diaspora” will make the argument that notions of diaspora lead to a melancholia that prevents subjects from participating fully in the residence of their present topos, which, in my poems, is Canada. As a CRRAR fellow, I wish to further strengthen the ontological significances of my thesis project, especially the ways in which it attempts to suture genres of written argumentation together (through poetry and theory, poet/theorist), privileging the importance of considering the suasive effects of imaginative interventions into specific conversations on the verity of certain ideas. 

Matthew Pezzaniti

I have just begun my Master's degree in philosophy at the University of Windsor. Before coming to the University of Windsor I completed my Bachelors of Arts Honours in philosophy at Saint Mary's University.  

I am currently enrolled in Dr. Hansen's graduate seminar course on logic and argumentation. In this course, we are exploring the relationship between informal logic and argumentation.  I hope that this course—as well as the work I complete at CRRAR—will inform a thesis concerning informal logic. 

Student Fellows - Winter 2013

Jamie Sewell

Jamie's interests characterized broadly, include: feminist philosophy, social and political philosophy, critical theory, philosophy of education, and Eastern philosophy (especially Taoism and Zen Buddhism).

Currently, her research interests have focused on the intersections between feminist critiques of pedagogical ideals and practices, philosophies of education, and critical thinking. Jamie started working on her Master’s thesis four months ago – generously funded by SSHRC – the title of which is “bell hooks on Engaged Pedagogy: Critiques and Constructions of Teaching Practices concerning Critical Thinking”. This thesis' primary concern is with critiquing ideals and practices of teaching that reinforce systems of domination and/or exclusion while exploring hooks’ account of practices which she suggests can lead to positive social and political action.

The aim of Jamie's project is to be able to point to possible avenues by which learning communities within Canada can move away from a ‘banking-system’ of education, and toward a system of education that represents values of inclusion and justice; a system which concentrates on critical thinking and development from within, rather than ‘producing’ graduates by imposition from without.

Jason Boose

Jason is pursuing a Master’s degree in political science at the University of Windsor. In general, Jason's research interests include comparative politics and comparative public policy of both the developed and developing world. More specifically, his interest is in Canada-US relations, counterterrorism policy, politics of the Middle East, and democratization. Moreover, Jason is interested in political theory, research methods and approaches to political science. Jason's research paper is a study of US counterterrorism policy post-9/11. Jason's research interest in political parties and the rhetoric they use during election cycles to secure votes and manipulate public opinion and voter perceptions. The work that will be conducted as a CRRAR fellow will be analyzing the argumentation in the recent Alberta provincial election.

Laura Benacquista

Laura is a second year Masters in Philosophy student at the University of Windsor. She spent the fall term of 2011 as a visiting researcher at the Department of Speech Communication, Argumentation Theory and Rhetoric at the University of Amsterdam. During this time she intensively studied the pragma-dialectical approach to argumentation theory.

As a CRRAR fellow, Laura intends to explore the practical values of sophistic argumentation in comparison to those of pragma-dialectics. Her research for CRRAR will inform her major paper on this topic, which will be completed and defended this summer. In the fall Laura intends to explore her broader philosophical interest in phenomenological hermeneutics at the Doctoral level.

Justin Morris

I have just begun my Master's in Philosophy and recently completed my undergraduate degree—majoring in the same discipline—here at the University of Windsor. In the future, I intend to continue my studies at the Doctoral level.

Currently, I am enrolled in Dr. Hundleby's Feminism and Argumentation graduate seminar where we are exploring the implications of gender and sexuality on argumentation. Eventually, I plan on writing a major paper concerning the moral status of nonhuman animals; specifically, I will focus on and expand ecofeminist critiques of the epistemic foundations, anthropocentric tendencies, and underlying ontologies that have suppressed and obfuscated our moral and social obligations to nonhuman animals.

With respect to my tenure at CRRAR, I aim to establish what I believe to be a fruitful connection between a theory of audience-identity in argumentation and the work of reader-response theorists Wolfgang Iser and Hans Robert Jauss. Their respective historical, aesthetic, and hermeneutic accounts of the processes involved in reading a literary text—including the intersubjectively verifiable characteristics between reader, text, and author—has the potential to be an invaluable resource for better understanding the dynamic, dialectical character of argumentative discourse and how the dialogical interplay between audience, arguer, and argument functions within it.

Andy Ball

I am currently in my final term as a Philosophy M.A. student at the University of Windsor. Prior to this, I completed an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Detroit Mercy (’06) and then took off on the road with the ‘Lonesome River Band’ for three years before beginning graduate studies. As part of my current coursework, I am writing a major paper on the subject of Ernest Sosa’s virtue epistemology approach, specifically, his distinction between animal and reflective knowledge by responding to some of the major criticisms that have been leveled by Hilary Kornblith. My particular interest that is more related to the mission of CRRAR concerns how virtue approaches can be applied to aspects of argumentation theory, such as by possibly helping us get a better understanding of fallacies as something not merely wrong with an ‘argument’ per se, but possibly as something defective with the ‘arguer.’

Michael (Bommer) Baumtrog

I am currently in my last semester of the Masters program in philosophy which, when completed, will end a seven-year career at the University of Windsor.  My philosophical research interests pertain to the status of youth and notions of personhood.  Within CRRAR I hope to conduct research reviewing the role of people in argumentation while paying specific attention to questions regarding the ability youth have to reason and conduct arguments. Upon graduation, I plan to study for a Ph.D. in an effort to work for children's causes on an international scale.

Matt Stevens

This is my first year in the Philosophy MA program here at the University of Windsor. I finished my undergrad at McMaster University in Hamilton and double majored in Mathematics and Philosophy. I hope to prepare either a major paper or thesis in the field of informal logic.

A main challenge for informal logic is to have a theory for what makes an argument cogent for an individual. Many theories seem to favour a relativistic or internal standard for cogency, which may ultimately be necessary. Despite this, there are objective standards one ought to use to analyze an argument and to aid an individuals evaluation. My hope is to help identify and develop some of these standards. This will likely involve clarifying the variable relationships between premises and possibly explore the uses of fuzzy logic in the evaluation of argument. My fondness for formal logic and epistemology as well as my study of math should provide me with a strong background in this pursuit.

I am excited to take advantage of CRRAR's unique specialization and skills. Informal logic is an extremely important field of philosophy and one which is not given enough attention. I look forward to joining the leading school in this field of research.

Jack MacLennan

A native of Saint John, New Brunswick, Jack MacLennan holds an Honours BA in Political Science from St. Thomas University in Fredericton. Currently, he is a Master of Arts candidate in the Political Science department at the University of Windsor and an Master of Public Policy student at the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, University of Michigan-Dearborn. As a CRRAR Graduate Fellow, Jack's research topic will be concerned with rhetorical frames used during the diplomatic build up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, namely, how and how well humanitarian rhetoric was used to frame the invasion and garner international support. This is a key part of Jack's major research for his MA and has been formed the basis of a paper given at the 2010 Centre for International Peace and Security Studies Graduate Student Conference at McGill University. More broadly Jack's research interests include International Relations Theory, namely Constructivism; Political Theory and Methodology; Human Rights; and the role of force in world affairs. In all of these endeavors, the role of words, rhetorical frames, and discursive constructions of meaning play a central role. 

Ewa Wasilewska - Kaminska
CRRAR Student Fellow

Ewa Wasilewska - Kaminska is a Ph.D. student in the Faculty of Pedagogy at Warsaw University, Poland. Previously she was awarded an M.A. in English (Education & Linguistics) from the University of Gdansk.

Ms Wasilewska-Kaminska's doctoral research concerns the idea of Critical Thinking as it has developed in North American educational communities. She will use her findings as a basis for determining whether this educational initiative could be fruitfully implemented in Poland. Her dissertation is tentatively titled “The theoretical foundations and practice of Critical Thinking Instruction in U.S.A. and Canada: Implications for Polish Education.”

Ms Wasilewska-Kaminska will be visiting CRRAR (the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric) for three weeks in March 2010. While she is here she will be consulting especially with Dr. Ralph H. Johnson, Senior Research Fellow at CRRAR, and availing herself of the Leddy Library’s resources on critical thinking.

Janine Morris
CRRAR Student Fellow

I am in my second year in the English Language and Literature Masters program, specializing in feminist approaches to the field of Composition Studies. Following my Masters Degree, I am seriously considering continuing my studies of Composition and Rhetoric on to the PhD level.

As a graduate student, I have had the opportunity to teach several sections of first-year writing (Composition 26-100). In my teaching, I have tried to employ feminist principles of inclusion and feminist processes (such as those that challenge traditional distributions of power and that promotes an environment of inclusiveness) in order to create a pedagogy that encourages the development of these qualities in my students. My work as an instructor has helped me to conceive of the writing classroom as a rhetorical space, where the interaction between instructor and student can become dialogic and interactive, moving away from a one-sided transmission of knowledge. In the collaborative classroom space, students learn rhetorical tools in order to reach their audiences and realize their power in the shaping and creation of meaning through their writing. Pedagogies highlighting dialogue between instructor and student and promoting collaborative work change the nature of argumentation in the classroom. Instead of instructors acting as experts in their areas of study, the balance of authority is shifted through collaboration, and students can learn to gain authority over their written work. The collaborative classroom environment, in particular, is one that I have found useful in creating an area where students are able to work together to help each other develop their abilities in written argumentation.

My research interests, stemming from my experience teaching, have involved problematizing the role of the feminist writing instructor while conceiving the classroom as a rhetorical space. I am interested in how a classroom climate created by incorporating the principles of rhetoric with feminist processes can have a positive effect on the way students interact with one another. As a student and instructor in the field of Composition, I have spent the past year thinking about how a classroom that values collaborative and feminist practices can positively impact the contribution of female students and the ways they present themselves to others. I have found that both in practice and through research that female students’ often participate less and speak with less certainty than male students in their writing and in classroom discussions. Through my studies, I have been interested in the most effective ways to create a more powerful voice for female students in academia.

I am developing this line of thinking into a paper which I am presenting at the Feminism and Rhetoric Conference (Michigan State University, October 2009). I intend to continue to further research in this area as I continue my studies. I find that my interest in the area of classroom rhetoric and my professional development as an instructor would greatly benefit from learning and working with the faculty members involved with CRRAR.

Aleksandra Kostic
CRRAR Student Fellow

I completed courses in Logic in my undergraduate studies at the Belgrade University (Department of Philosophy). I am a Master’s student at the University of Windsor, and enrolled Methods of Informal Logic taught by Dr. H. Hansen has given me valuable opportunity to learn further about this subject.

Since my graduation, I've worked for several Serbian NGOs and think-tanks through which many of the most prominent Serbian authors in the field of philosophy, sociology and political science tried to make a positive impact on the public sphere. Besides some administrative work, my experience included writing essays and taking part in the debates that were important the during politically turbulent times in Serbia. Thus, the appeal that Informal Logic could provide a means to analyze and assess arguments given in natural language, and in that way give valuable – or, better to say, invaluable – contribution to resolving problems that can be addressed only through arguments. My background includes also translating academic works from German authors such Juergen Habermas, Axel Honneth and Peter Sloterdijk.

Michael Walschots
CRRAR Student Fellow

I am currently in my first year of the Master’s program in Philosophy at the University of Windsor. I completed my undergraduate in Philosophy here at the University of Windsor in 2009 and after finishing my coursework I will be writing a thesis under the supervision of Deborah Cook and Dr. Radu Neculau.

I am interested in the history of German philosophy generally but will be writing a thesis on the intersection between the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant and that of twentieth-century German philosopher Theodor Adorno. I am hoping to complete the majority of my thesis in Frankfurt, Germany next year and have been actively learning German for the past two years in order to assist my research. Contra Kant, Adorno believes that morality is uncertain such that the right course of action is often indeterminate. I am interested in the problems associated with such a scenario and what the consequences are for our understandings of moral and legal responsibility.

I also have a developing interest in how standards of good reasoning are at the foundation of thought. Descartes’ attempt to doubt all knowledge seemed unable to call standards of good reasoning into question for, without having implicit knowledge of such standards he would not have been able to infer that because he thought, he existed. Also, Kant’s critique of reason was necessarily carried out by reason itself for ‘thought cannot step outside of itself’, as it has once been put. The paper Dr. Ralph Johnson presented during the Fall term, which explored how Nietzsche’s revaluation of values could be used to critique deductivism as the archetype of reasoning, encouraged me to further explore how our standards of reasoning often go uncriticised or are at least problematic to criticize because we are in a sense bound to employ these standards in the process of critique itself.