Dr. Cate HundlebyThe new PhD program in Argumentation Studies is valuable in everything from getting groceries to avoiding nuclear war.

New PhD program makes point for argumentation

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that,” said English philosopher John Stuart Mill in his essay, On Liberty – and for good reason –argumentation is at the root of human understanding, according to UWindsor experts.

A new PhD program in Argumentation Studies being introduced at UWindsor this fall will address the vital role of argumentation – using reason as a means of persuasion – in everything from getting groceries to avoiding nuclear war.

“People argue in every aspect of their personal and professional lives – it is central to how we relate to each other and it plays a key role in getting to the truth – such as when we debate the value of a political plan or a democratic candidate,” says the program’s Graduate Coordinator, Catherine Hundleby.

“The process can be either competitive – where one person wins, and the other loses; or cooperative – where ideas are shared and everyone wins. Good argumentation serves democracy and allows citizens to better participate in their governments. It helps us to negotiate conflict of all kinds, starting at home and with our friends, but also and increasingly at work, and as citizens of a globalized culture.”

UWindsor has been a leader in argumentation research since the 1970s, when scholars recognized that the study and teaching of reasoning needed improvement. Over time, researchers developed ways to analyze how people argue in personal, professional, and political environments, and students now study real arguments from the media, and more recently, the internet and social media.

Dr. Hundleby says the Argumentation PhD is a program that will appeal to graduate students from disciplines ranging from philosophy and the humanities, to business, law and various sciences.

“The program is designed to meet the needs of a labour market where communication is global and takes an increasing variety of forms with implications for law and policy development, human resources, research, conflict management, and educational development. Argumentation serves to build consensus and move organizations forward.”

For more information on the Argumentation Studies PhD contact Dr. Hundleby at: argstudies@uwindsor.ca, or visit: http://www.uwindsor.ca/argumentationstudies/