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Quora Answer : Which field of study does Argumentation Theory belong to? Where can one start to learn about it rigorously?

Oct 9, 2015

I'm rather old fashioned about this. I believe that argumentation theory belongs in the medieval field of rhetoric.

Rhetoric is a fascinating field which was one of the mainstream disciplines in the medieval university, but today is fragmented between law, psychology, linguistics, marketing, creative writing, international relations, philosophy etc.

But I think there's a lot to be said for bringing it back together in a "interdisciplinary" setting. And including things like Argument Mapping, the work of Simon Buckingham-Shaum, the study of social software like Wikis and Quora and meme-flow in social networks. Not to mention Prediction markets and other knowledge generating / extracting institutions.

Obviously formal logic is an important thing to understand. But it's equally important to understand the existence of Metalogic and Paraconsistent logic. (We can then argue about why our particular rules are considered relevant and ought to be followed.)

Obviously learning about paradoxes and other ways our reasoning fails to deliver solidly robust results is important too. Though I think "fallacies" are given too much attention. Fallacies are just arguments that don't work. But too many people believe that uncovering an argument as fallacious is a way to kill its conclusion. It's not : NOT (A implies B) doesn't entail NOT B

I think there could be an amazing curriculum putting together all these things. I'm not sure if there's anywhere that does it though.

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