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Lecture to consider philosopher’s challenge to informal logic

When someone reasons to a conclusion by weighing factors favouring that conclusion against those telling against it, and in the end decides that the pros outweigh the cons, do the cons remain as weighing against the conclusion, thus making the argument weaker than it would have been had there been only the pro factors to consider?

This seems to be the position of those who consider this type of reasoning different from standard deductive or inductive reasoning, calling it “conductive,” says philosophy professor emeritus J. Anthony Blair, a senior fellow of the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric.

He will discuss a major challenge to this feature of informal logic launched by Jonathan Adler in a free public lecture, “Are Conductive Arguments Really Not Possible?” at 3 p.m. Friday, January 18, in room 207, Essex Hall.

Adler argues in a recent paper that if a conclusion of such reasoning is accepted as true, then the cons cannot remain as a weakening factor, and so conductive reasoning and arguments are not possible. Prof. Blair will analyze and assess Adler’s arguments and their implications.

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