Jean Wagemans is a philosopher with special expertise in rhetoric, argumentation and debate. He completed a M.A. in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Argumentation Theory at the University of Amsterdam and is currently working as a senior researcher in the Argumentation and Rhetoric Group Amsterdam (ARGA) of the Amsterdam Centre for Language and Communication (ACLC).
Wagemans is participating in the NWO funded research project Resistance to Metaphor and the HORIZON 2020 funded COST action European network for Argumentation and Public Policy Analysis (APPLY), for which he also acts as the Science Communication Manager. Wagemans is the initiator of the Periodic Table of Arguments, a systematic overview of dialectical and rhetorical accounts of argument schemes, fallacies, and other means of persuasion – for more info please visit its official website.
Wagemans is a co-author of Argumentation and debate (in Dutch) and the Handbook of Argumentation Theory, and has published articles, book reviews, and popularizing columns on rhetoric and argumentation – for downloads please visit his Academia website. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Argumentation and a reviewer for Informal Logic, Journal of Argumentation in Context, and other scientific journals. Wagemans co-directed the ISSA 9th International Conference on Argumentation and was a member of the scientific panels of ECA 2, ARGAGE 2018, DIS 3, and other conferences in the field.
December 9, 2017
You are invited to visit the new website about the Periodic Table of Arguments. It contains a description of the theoretical framework of the table, information on the types of arguments within the four different quadrants, and analyses of concrete examples. Please follow the link below.
October 20, 2016
Wagemans contributed to a documentary on the Dutch Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum by giving his expert opinion on the role of rhetoric in the public debate preceding the referendum. The documentary was made by Misja Pekel and Judith Konijn and was broadcasted on Dutch national television.
April 27, 2016
Dutch philosopher Jean H.M. Wagemans of the University of Amsterdam presented his Periodic Table of Arguments on a conference on argumentation and rhetoric in Postira (Croatia) that was held last week. The table is an attempt to integrate philosophical (dialectical) and rhetorical accounts of the types of argument into a new standard model of argument.
Wagemans chose the Days of Ivo Škarić International Conference on Rhetoric to be the first occasion to present his Periodic Table of Arguments. “It is one of the most important and enjoyable conferences in the field. Because of the relatively small size and the great hospitality of the organizers, there is ample opportunity to discuss your findings at length with a group of top scholars”.
According to Wagemans, who has been working on the project for almost two years, the age-old antagonism between philosophy and rhetoric is reflected in the present-day field of argumentation theory: “Scholars working from a dialectical perspective tend to adhere to a strict division between reasonable arguments and fallacies. But since fallacies may be very effective, rhetoricians do not hesitate to include them in their accounts of the means of persuasion. As a result, there is a great divide between dialectical and rhetorical accounts of the types of arguments.”
Apart from narrowing the gap between philosophy and rhetoric, creating a Periodic Table of Arguments addresses another vexing problem in the field of argumentation theory. “Some scholars say that there are 63 types of arguments, others say 300, and yet others stick to only 3 different types. Now one may state that this is unproblematic since in the humanities, contrary to the situation in the sciences, it is always a positive thing to have such a wide variety of opinions. But I don’t buy that.” According to Wagemans, who studied physics and astronomy before switching to philosophy, any account of the types of argument should be based on clear and explicit theoretical starting points. “Only in this case, our elaborate analyses and evaluations of argumentative discourse can be compared to one another.”
The construction of the Periodic Table of Arguments has already generated several interesting hypotheses concerning the nature of arguments. “It appears to be the case that fallacies and several rhetorical means of persuasion can be reconstructed as second-order arguments. The periodicity of the table makes it easier to detect all kinds of differences and commonalities between the types of argument. I expect the table to generate a lot of interesting new research, not only theoretical but also empirical and computational research.”
As was pointed out by one of the attendants of the conference, the Periodic Table of Arguments may also be used for educational purposes. At the moment, Wagemans is working on a book on the table and its applications. “It sure is a lot of work, but I really enjoy writing it. The Periodic Table of Elements wasn’t created in one day either. So if you have any comments or questions, please drop me a line!”
The online discussion forum Argumentation Theory brings together scholars working in the field of argumentation theory. Over 900 members share information about upcoming conferences, journal issues, new publications, etc. The forum is initiated and moderated by Jean H.M. Wagemans, assistant professor of argumentation theory at the University of Amsterdam.
These blogs publish regularly on topics of interest for argumentation scholars.
For information and download of articles, please follow the links below.