Reasoning and argumentation

Although argumentation plays an essential role in our lives, there is no integrated area of research on the psychology of argumentation. Instead research on argumentation is conducted in a number of separate research communities that are spread across disciplines and have only limited interaction. Cognitive psychological research on argumentation has focused mostly on argument as a reason, and argument as structured sequence of reasons and claims. A third meaning of argument has been neglected: argument as a social exchange. All meanings are integral to a complete understanding of human reasoning and cognition. In this special issue, we present work that is relevant to all these three meanings of argument. The papers by Heit and Rotello (on the effect of argument length on inductive reasoning), by Harris, Hsu and Madsen (on a Bayesian test of the ad Hominem fallacy), and by Thompson and Evans (on belief bias in informal reasoning tasks) focus on arguments as reasons. By contrast, the contributions by Van Eemeren, Garssen, and Meuffels (on the reasonableness of the disguised abusive ad hominem fallacy), by Hoeken, Timmers, and Schellens (on argument quality and convincing arguments), by Mercier and Strickland (on how arguments can be evaluated from audience reactions), and by Bonnefon (on generating consequential arguments) deal intrinsically with situations where there are multiple protagonists in a communicative exchange. By including these papers, by researchers from a range of theoretical backgrounds, this special issue underlines the breadth of argumentation research as well as stresses opportunities for mutual awareness and integration.

  • Hahn, U., & Hornikx, J. (2012). Reasoning and argumentation [A special issue of Thinking and Reasoning]. London: Psychology Press. [link]

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