Location

Room 1

Document Type

Paper

Keywords

adversariality, alternative views, collaborative oppositionality, dialectical inquiry, epistemic orientation, reasoned judgment

Start Date

4-6-2020 2:00 PM

End Date

4-6-2020 3:00 PM

Abstract

There has been considerable recent debate on the topic of adversariality in argumentation. On one hand, it has been argued that argumentation is, by its nature, adversarial in that it involves a confrontation between arguers arguing opposing positions, and, further, that such a confrontation of opposing views is essential for arriving at the best judgments. On the other hand, some theorists point out that such an oppositional framing can be problematic in terms of encouraging aggressive modes of discourse that can interfere with rational exchange. In addition, the imperative to win that is inherent in adversarial argumentation may eclipse the goal of coming to a reasoned judgment, undermining co-operation, open-mindedness, and a willingness to concede to the strongest reasons.

Although there has been a growing interest in adversariality in argumentation theory, this debate has rarely found its way into work on critical thinking theory and instruction. The issue addressed in this paper is: what are the implications of this debate for teaching critical thinking? Is there a way to incorporate the benefits of adversarial argumentation while mitigating the problems? Our response is an approach based on dialectical inquiry which focuses on a confrontation of opposing views within a collaborative framework.

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Jun 4th, 2:00 PM Jun 4th, 3:00 PM

Is There a Role for Adversariality in Teaching Critical Thinking?

Room 1

There has been considerable recent debate on the topic of adversariality in argumentation. On one hand, it has been argued that argumentation is, by its nature, adversarial in that it involves a confrontation between arguers arguing opposing positions, and, further, that such a confrontation of opposing views is essential for arriving at the best judgments. On the other hand, some theorists point out that such an oppositional framing can be problematic in terms of encouraging aggressive modes of discourse that can interfere with rational exchange. In addition, the imperative to win that is inherent in adversarial argumentation may eclipse the goal of coming to a reasoned judgment, undermining co-operation, open-mindedness, and a willingness to concede to the strongest reasons.

Although there has been a growing interest in adversariality in argumentation theory, this debate has rarely found its way into work on critical thinking theory and instruction. The issue addressed in this paper is: what are the implications of this debate for teaching critical thinking? Is there a way to incorporate the benefits of adversarial argumentation while mitigating the problems? Our response is an approach based on dialectical inquiry which focuses on a confrontation of opposing views within a collaborative framework.