One Logician's Perspective on Argumentation


  • Johan van Bettem


Logic is often considered a technical subject, far removed from the concrete reasoning and discussion that we all practice in daily life. Understanding and improving that ordinary reasoning is then seen as the task of argumentation theory, which has operated independently from logic for a long time. But the discipline of logic has been undergoing a practical turn over the last decades, with my own work on logical dynamics of agency and intelligent interaction as an example. On the occasion of the death of Stephen Toulmin, a pioneer in modern argumentation theory and a prominent critic of mathematics-centered logic, I take a fresh look at what are usually considered major differences between daily practice and logical theory: the role of richer argument schemata and of procedural aspects of reasoning. I argue that these are in fact shared interests, making logic and argumentation theory allies rather than rivals.