is associate professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. He specialises in theory of knowledge, informal logic, and ancient philosophy. His books include Pragmatism, Pluralism, and the Nature of Philosophy (2017) and Political Argument in a Polarized Age (2020), both co-authored with Robert B Talisse, and Straw Man Arguments (2022), co-authored with John Casey.
is professor of philosophy at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He specialises in medieval philosophy and informal logic. He is the co-author, with Scott Aikin, of Straw Man Arguments (2022).
Arguing is hard. Chances are good that you are reading this because you’ve had an argument that went off the rails. Maybe the other person trotted out an anecdote as definitive proof of some general claim, or they misrepresented your reasons in order to make you look foolish, or they called you nasty names, or did any of the other too-many-to-name things that people who argue tend to do. These experiences are partly why people view argument as hostile and intellectually unproductive – something to be avoided.
Perhaps you are looking to learn some new terms to describe the annoying moves people make, or maybe you’re looking for ‘one weird trick’ to ‘own’ others with facts and logic. Well, we have some good news and bad news. Fancy terms, we’ve got a few, but our focus in this Guide is primarily on how to think about what is truly at stake in arguing, why it goes awry, and how to get it back on track. To our minds, the key to arguing better consists not in learning new tricks, but in recognising how arguments work and why they are important.