Charles Arthur Willard

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Charles Arthur Willard
Born August, 1945
Hutchinson, Kansas
Academic background
Alma mater University of illinois
Influences Larry E. Larmer, Joseph W. Wenzel, G. Thomas Goodnight
Academic work
Era 20th-century argumentation theory
School or tradition constructivist/symbolic interactionist
Main interests argumentation, rhetoric, modernity
Notable ideas social grounds of knowledge, argument fields, Good reasons approach

Charles Arthur Willard (born 1945) is an American argumentation and rhetorical theorist. He is a retired Professor and University Scholar at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.


He received his undergraduate degree at the Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, Kansas. He received his masters and doctorate at the University of Illinois, Urbana, USA.

Academic appointments

From 1974 to 1982 he was the Director of Forensics at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire (USA). He has lectured in Austria, Canada, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. He has studied at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences, at Waasner, Holland. He has also taught at Slippery Rock State College and the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

Major works

His most important works include Argumentation and the Social Grounds of Knowledge (1982) [1] and A Theory of Argumentation (1988).[2] He has published monographs in and served on editorial boards for Communication Monographs, Informal Logic, Journal of the American Forensics Association, Argumentation, Social Epistemology and the Quarterly Journal of Speech. He has published more than 50 articles and book chapters on topics in rhetoric and argumentation. He was one of the founders and for many years was a co-director of the International Association for the Study of Argumentation based at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He has co-edited the proceedings of five of that organization's international conferences. He has recently co-edited with Frans van Eemeren, J. Anthony Blair, and A. Francisca Henkemans Anyone Who Has A View: Theoretical Contributions to the Study of Argumentation. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 2003. He has received distinguished scholarship awards from the National Communication Association, the American Forensics Association, and the Universities of Illinois and Louisville. Four of his books have received the Daniel H. Rohor Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Forensic Association.

His Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy (1996) debunks the discourse of liberalism, arguing that its exaggerated ideals of authenticity, unity, and community have deflected attention from the pervasive incompetence of the rule by experts. He proposes a ground of communication that emphasizes common interests rather than narrow disputes.

Selected works

  • 1982 — Argumentation and the Social Grounds of Knowledge, University of Alabama Press
  • 1982 — Advances in Argumentation Theory and Research (with J. Robert Cox)
  • 1988 — A Theory of Argumentation, University of Alabama Press
  • 1996 — Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226898452; OCLC 260223405
  • 2004 — Critical problems in Argumentation: Proceedings of the Thirteenth NCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation, Washington, DC: National Communication Association
  • "Argument," in Theresa Enos, Ed., Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition. New York: Garland, 1996, pp. 16–26.
  • "L'Argumentation et les Fondements Sociaux de la Connaissance," in Alain Lempereur, ed. L'Argumentation. Liege: Pierre Mardaga, 1992.
  • "The Problem of the Public Sphere: Three Diagnoses," in David Cratis Williams and Michael David Hazen, eds., Argumentation Theory and the Rhetoric of Assent. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1990.
  • "Argumentation and Postmodern Critique," in J. Schuetz and R. Trapp, eds., Perspectives on Argument. Waveland, 1990.
  • "Argument Fields: A Cartesian Meditation," in George Ziegelmueller and Jack Rhodes, eds., Dimensions of Argument: Proceedings of the Second S.C.A./A.F.A. Summer Conference on Argumentation (Annadale: Speech Communication Association, 1981).
  • "On the Utility of Descriptive Diagrams for the Analysis and Criticism of Argument," Communication Monographs, 64 (1976), 308-319.

See also


  1. ^ "On Fields and Rational Enterprises: A Reply to Willard," Ray E. McKerrow, Rhodes, Jack, and Sara Newell, eds. Proceedings of the Summer Conference on Argumentation, (Annadale: Speech Communication Association, 1980), Robert Rowland, "Argument Fields." Ziegelmueller, George, and Jack Rhodes, eds. Dimensions of Argument: Proceedings of the Second Summer Conference on Argument. Annandale VA: Speech Communication Association, 1981.
  2. ^ "Reflections on the Revolution in Willard's Theory of Argument," Joseph W. Wenzel, 6th Annual Conference of the American Forensic Association and Speech Communication Association, (Annadale: Speech Communication Association, 1989).
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