Newsletter of the association for informal logic and critical thinking (ailact), Dec. 1, 2004

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This newsletter is to:

1) announce the winner of the 2004AILACT Essay Prize,

2) announce the 2005AILACT Essay Prize,

3) inform you of approaching meetings,

4) inform or remind you of an AILACT discussion list (AILACT-D), and

5) provide a membership renewal form for 2005.

This newsletter was prepared by Bob Ennis, current AILACT President,
The jury is pleased to announce the winner of 2004 (first) AILACT Essay Prize.
The winner is: Dr. Marcello Guarini, for his paper: "A Defence of Non-deductive Reconstruction of Analogical Arguments"
The way to handle analogies in arguments has always been a major problem. At one extreme, Monroe Beardsley, although a staunch supporter of informal logic, simply classified them as fallacious. Others have tried to make the case for a deductive reconstruction, or an inductive one or a meta-inductive one, or an abductive one. Dr. Guarini's paper, making reference to recent literature, builds a strong, nicely-argued case that deductive reconstruction is not a viable option. He thus takes us a substantial step forward in clarifying the status of arguments from analogy, an important contribution to an important issue.
Dr. Guarini will receive a cheque for US$500 from AILACT.
There were 24 entries from scholars in six countries. The competition attracted entries from several scholars whose names are new to the field, as well as entries from a significant number of senior scholars whose names are well known in the field. The jury would like to note that the quality of the papers entered in the contest was remarkably high; in their judgement, nearly all merit publication.
The names of the entrants were known only to the chair of the jury. (That information will not be disclosed.) The other two members of the jury read all the papers blind and have not been informed of the identities of the entrants. Each jury member rated the papers independently, and they did not disclose their ratings to one another until they began deliberation about the winning paper. Although each of the jury members ranked a number of papers besides the winner very highly as well, no other paper was ranked by all three jury members as consistently highly as the winner, so the decision was straightforward.
The jury wishes on behalf of AILACT to thank the anonymous donors who sponsored the 2004 Prize award, and to encourage others to consider contributing to the 2005 and future AILACT Essay Prize awards.
J. Anthony Blair (chair), Merrilee Salmon, Michael Scriven

2004 AILACT Essay Prize Jury

[1st Editor's Note: Dr. Guarini will be presenting his prize-winning paper at the AILACT Group Session, APA Central Division in Chicago, April 27-30. See below.]

[2nd Editor's note: The Association is deeply appreciative of the excellent and difficult work performed by our judges, J. Anthony Blair, Merrilee Salmon, and Michael Scriven.]

The Association for Informal Logic and Critical Thinking invites applications for its second annualAILACT Essay Prize
The value of the AILACT Essay Prize is US$500. The prize may, in extraordinary circumstances, be divided among entries judged to be of about equal merit.
Essays related to the teaching or theory of informal logic or critical thinking will be considered for the prize. An essay may be unpublished, forthcoming or previously published. There are no restrictions on authorship. Published papers must have appeared on or after 1 January 2005. Essays should be in the neighbourhood of 3500-5000 words.
The essays will be assessed on the basis of, in no particular order: their originality, their scholarship, if applicable (papers that ignore the relevant literature will tend to go to the bottom of the pile), their argument (needless to say?), their style (lucid, delightful-to-read papers will tend to rise to the top), and their importance to the field (measured by how high they register on the "Everyone should read this paper-and soon!" scale).
The jury members for the 2005 AILACT Essay Prize are Tony Blair (chair), Merrilee Salmon and Michael Scriven. The verdict of the jury is final.
To submit a paper, attach an electronic file to an e-mail, or mail three paper copies, to the appropriate address below. Please send the paper ready for blind-reviewing (the author not identified on the paper or file containing the paper, and self-identifying references removed from the text, notes and References), but include your name and a mailing address in your covering note.
The deadline for receipt of papers to be considered for the 2005 AILACT Essay Prize is 1 August 2005. Address email entries to:
Address e-mail entries to:
and put in the Subject line:AILACT ESSAY PRIZE ENTRY
Address paper copy entries to:AILACT ESSAY PRIZE ENTRY, Department of Philosophy, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada N9B 3P4
Be sure to include your name and a mailing address in your covering note.
The winner will be announced by 1 December 2005. AILACT will publicize the name of the winner.
For information about AILACT, see


Winter 2004, Eastern Division, APA, Boston, MA, Dec. 27-30, 2004, at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. AILACT Group Session, Wednesday Evening, Dec. 29, 7:00-10:00 pm, Cape Cod/Hyannis (Fourth Floor).
Topic: Author Meets Critics: Alfred R. Mele's Self-Deception Unmasked
Chair: Daniel N. Boone (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)
Critics: Dion Scott-Kakures (Scripps College)

Paul Noordhof (University of Nottingham, UK)

Author: Alfred R. Mele (Florida State University)
Spring, 2005, Pacific Division, APA, San Francisco, CA, March 23-27, 2005, at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. AILACT Group Session, 3 hours.
Session Chair: Jan Sobocan (Althouse College, University of Western Ontario)
Part 1: Theoretical Issue:

Speaker: Lilian Bermejo-Luque, (University of Murcia, Spain)

"The Relationship between Reasoning and Arguing"

Commentator: Jerry Cederblom (University of Nebraska at Omaha)

Part 2: Forum on Standardized Critical Thinking Tests

Speaker #2: Kevin Possin (Winona State University)

"Assessing Critical Thinking Assessment Tests"

Speaker #2: Leo Groarke (Wilfrid Laurier University)

"What is Wrong with the CCTST? Critical Thinking Testing and Educational Accountability"

Speaker #3: Donald Hatcher (Baker University)

"Using the Ennis-Weir and the CCTST for Outcomes Assessment: Which Test Should You Choose?"

Commentator: Jan Sobocan (Althouse College, University of Western Ontario)

Contact Person: Donald Hatcher

Spring, 2005, Central Division, APA, Chicago , April 27-30, 2005, at the Palmer House Hilton. AILACT Group Session

AILACT 2004 Prize Winning Essay: Marcello Guarini (University of Windsor) :"A Defence of Non-deductive Reconstructions of Analogical Arguments"
Commentator: Jon Ringen (University of Iowa)
Chair, Peter D. Asquith (Michigan State University)
Note: There will possibly be another item on this program.

A conference sponsored by the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation

May 18-21, 2005, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, on the topic,

"The Uses Of Argument"

Keynote speakers:

J. ANTHONY BLAIR, University Professor of Philosophy, University of Windsor

JEANNE FAHNESTOCK, Professor of English, University of Maryland, College Park

STEPHEN E. TOULMIN, University Professor and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, International Relations, and Religion, University of Southern California

(The J. Anthony Blair Prize is awarded to the best student paper presented at the conference.)
For further information, see


If you are not a participant in the informal discussions of AILACT operational topics, and would like to participate, write Michael Gilbert ( to be added to the AILACT-D discussion list. This list is tantamount to a continuing virtual AILACT meeting. It does not replace the Board of Directors, which is ultimately responsible for AILACT policy decisions.)


The Association for Informal Logic

and Critical Thinking


The Association (AILACT) was formed in 1983 to promote and improve the extent and quality of research into, and teaching of, informal logic and critical thinking at all levels; to facilitate the professional cooperation of its members; to sponsor, organize or support public and professional meetings of all sorts; to discuss the teaching, testing, and theory of informal logic and critical thinking; to sponsor the publication of desirable articles, reports, studies, collections, proceedings or monographs; and to support and cooperate with individuals or organizations concerned with the promotion and improvement of research into and teaching and testing of informal logic and critical thinking. AILACT sponsors sessions at each APA divisional meeting and other meetings, has a Web site,, and is developing a job information exchange.

___ I would like to become a member of AILACT (US$6*/ calendar year)

___ I would like to renew my membership (US$6*/ calendar year)

*or the equivalent

(Make checks payable to AILACT)

Please fill in the following, unless you are sure that the information is in our records:
Address: _________________________________________________________


Email:________________________________________ (Very important! Much of our business will be conducted primarily electronically -- but you will not be disenfranchised if you do not have an e-mail address.)
What would you like to see AILACT do, or do better?:___________________________
Mail to: Donald Hatcher, AILACT Treasurer, Center for Critical Thinking, Baker University, Baldwin City, KS 66006 USA Email:
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