An Aristotelian program for teaching argumentation

Abstract

We have modified Aristotelian syllogistic logic in for use in introductory philosophy courses. Although the scope of Aristotle's syllogistic is narrowed by our modifications, its pedagogical value is increased in one crucial way: in 4-6 hours of class time, students with no background in argumentation progress to the point where they can evaluate the structure of condensed and extended arguments. Because the mechanics of the program are readily grasped, it is possible to focus class time on important, abstract notions such as validity, soundness, relevance, etc. If successfully implemented, the program encourages good habits for analysing, assessing and formulating arguments.

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