Speaker Series 2024 March 22nd

Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation & Rhetoric along with the PhD in Argumentation Studies at the University of Windsor invite you to a talk by

Elizabeth Ismail, Argumentation Studies PhD Candidate


ABSTRACT: Across theorists and educators alike, there is a persistent lack of consensus on what critical inference (critical thinking) entails. But to gain clarity on what critical inference is, it helps to first uncover what inference is. This talk proposes a conception of inference that is grounded in the Active Inference framework and further explored through the lens of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). From this perspective, critical inference is cast as an emergent property of our mental activity, akin to a system that organizes itself to a point of balance, i.e., a state known as self-organized criticality. However, it's important to note that the mere capacity for self-organization does not guarantee perpetual balance—our complex system of inference can and does veer away from criticality, sometimes dramatically so.

Active Inference offers insight into the mechanisms of our inferential activity, while CAS provides a broader understanding of how our system of inference manifests emergent properties. The focus will be to bridge this novel conception with mainstream critical thinking discourse in an attempt to offer an evolved perspective on how we understand and engage in critical inference. 


Friday, March 22, 2024

3:00 pm

Chrysler Hall North, 1163