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MC13 Practices of Argumentation

Practices of Argumentation in Transcultural Perspective

Koordination: Joachim Kurtz, Birgit Kellner


Histories of logic and argumentation that include sections on China typically begin with declarations of excitement at the discovery of anticipations of theoretical insights in modern formal logic, only to then express their disappointment that these promising seeds never came to fruition. Similarly, research on logic in pre-modern South Asia and Tibet was until very recently also driven by the search for antecedents of formal theories of reasoning, often within a larger quest for “rationality.” Yet, even if argumentation was practiced either without relying on much accompanying theoretical reflection (China) or in part by following patterns outside the sphere of explicitly formulated logical theory (India, Tibet), no one can deny that argumentation, persuasion and contention were key elements in a wide array of activities central to the concerns of Chinese, South Asian and Tibetan societies prior to their encounters with Euro-America. Working towards a global history of truth and rationality, this interdisciplinary research group aims to move beyond the search for anticipations of formal reasoning in South and East Asia by providing historically situated studies of practices of argumentation and the implicit standards of validity embodied within them.


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