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Philosophy

Philosophers to debate the value of arguing

If you want to pick a fight, you’ll get no argument from Hans Hansen. The philosophy professor is preparing for the Ontario Society for the Study of Argument conference, “Virtues of Argumentation,” to be held at the University of Windsor this week.

The conference, hosted by the Centre for Research on Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric, runs May 23 to 25. It will feature keynote addresses by:

Visual argumentation subject of lecture and workshop

While words may elicit mental images, pictures act directly on our sensibilities by actually placing events visually in front of us, as if they were in fact unfolding before our eyes, says Jens Kjeldsen.

This ability to create presence is one of the qualities he will explore in a free public lecture Thursday entitled “Four Rhetorical Potentials of Images.”

A professor of rhetoric at Norway’s University of Bergen and Sweden’s Södertörn University, Kjeldsen is also president of the Rhetoric Society of Europe.

Argumentation is a cooperative endeavour: lecturer

Although people view argumentation as a contest between parties trying to achieve a victory, that view is incorrect, says Steven Patterson.

A visiting research fellow at the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation, and Rhetoric, he will explore the cooperative nature of argumentation, even in adversarial contexts, in a free public lecture, “Cooperative Intentions in Argumentation,” on Friday, April 5, at 2 p.m. in room 207, Essex Hall.

Philosophy of history subject of Thursday lecture

The 18th century philosopher Giambattista Vico developed a radical, modern conception of individuality, says the next lecturer in the Humanities Research Group’s Distinguished Speakers Series.

Giuseppe Mazzotta, Sterling Professor of Humanities for Italian at Yale University, will deliver his free public lecture “The Representation of the Self in Vico’s Autobiography” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 28, in the Freed Orman Centre, Assumption University.

John Stuart Mill’s theory of argumentation subject of lecture Wednesday

John Stuart Mill is best known nowadays for his moral and political philosophy, but in a free public presentation Wednesday, philosophy professor Hans V. Hansen will show how some of his key scientific and political writings also contain the elements of a theory of argumentation.

“By studying his practice in some of his most celebrated works—Utilitarianism, The Subjection of Women, and On Liberty—we can observe whether Mill in fact adhered to his own standards of argumentation,” Dr. Hansen says.

Open-mindedness of philosophy department appeals to grad student

Feminist author and social activist bell hooks once said that she entered the classroom with the conviction that it was crucial for her and every other student to be an active participant, and not just a passive consumer of education.

That’s a sentiment that must certainly resonate with Jamie Sewell, who is studying the author’s works as part of her master’s thesis is philosophy.

Virtues of defeasible argumentation subject of lecture

Philosophy professor emeritus Ralph Johnson will deliver a free public lecture entitled “Is Defeasibility a Virtue of Argumentation?” today at 2 p.m. in room 207, Essex Hall.

Dr. Johnson will begin with a brief history of the notion of defeasibility, consider some examples, and turn to discussion of the problems he sees associated with this notion and point to possible remedies.

Johnson is a senior fellow of the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric, which is sponsoring this event.

Love of life subject of philosopher's talk

While science and theology may remain at odds over what happens when we die, philosophers like Jeff Noonan are focused on getting the most out of life while they’re still here on earth.

“Socrates said that philosophy is preparation for death,” said Dr. Noonan, who will deliver a public lecture on the subject next week. “He didn’t mean that in a morbid way. He meant that through the process of reflection we hopefully live better.”