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Philosophy Cafe

Tue., Feb. 18, 2014 7:30 p.m.

Location: The Artesian (Celandon Lounge) 2627 - 13 Avenue

The Philosophy Café is an open exchange of philosophical ideas led by a University of Regina Philosophy Professor or a Graduate Student that runs each Fall and Winter semester. Talks are held monthly at The Artesian (Celadon Lounge), 2627-13th Avenue, Regina.

The Philosophy Café is open to the general public and all are welcome to attend.

This month's talk, entitled "The logical basis of argumentative tolerance" will be presented by Dr. Paul Simard Smith, an instructor in Pilosophy at Campion College, U of R:

"Theoretical discussions in logic are commonly ridiculed for their lack of applicability to the practical concerns of life. While logicians frequently tout logically valid inference rules as norms for good reasoning, others have found it difficult to see how the formality and mathematical complexity of contemporary logic could express a set of realistic norms that actual reasoners might follow in practical fields. 

One famous expression of this attitude towards the applicability of logic to the law is found in Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.'s famous quote, "The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience....The law embodies the story of a nation's development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics" (Holmes Common Law)

In order to address this critique of the relevance of logic to practical fields, Smith will illustrate how one contemporary view in the philosophy of logic--the view that there is nontrivial and interesting sense that more than one logic is correct--has important practical implications for how we understand the goal of argumentative discussions.  In particular he will explain how the pluralist view about logic suggests that a reconceptualization of the argumentative practice is necessary.  Rather than understanding an argumentative discussion as an attempt to rationally persuade an opponent, such discussions should be understood as an attempt to explore the "space of reasons" that surrounds a controversial issue.  Therefore, if correct the pluralist view about logic provides a kind of logical basis for being tolerant, in some cases, to differences of opinion that remain after an argumentative discussion has been successfully resolved."