Argumentation, Education and Reasoning

Robert Binkley


To find the place of Argumentation (argumentation theory) in education one must sort out its relationship to Logic. The key point is that the two stand in different relations to reasoning. Logic is the normative study of reasoning, and provides the standards for correct reasoning. Argumentation studies the activity of arguing, and is related to reasoning only in that arguing involves the attempt to get an audience to reason in a certain way; correctness is not essential. Reasoning is here understood as the process of organizing one's thoughts into a structure here called a reckoning. This may be done privately by an individual, or several people may
collaborate on a reasoning project, in which case there occurs the social activity of dialogue. Confusion between dialogue and arguing is a source of confusion between Logic and Argumentation. Reasoning and dialogue on the one hand, and arguing on the other, are both worthwhile, and education in Logic and Argumentation can help people to do them better. But the educating should be done in a way that maintains the distinction between them.


logic, reasoning, arguing, argumentation, argumentation theory, reckoning, rhetoric, dialogue

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ISSN: 0824-2577