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Charles Arthur Willard (1945 - ) is an American argumentation and rhetorical theorist.

He received his doctorate at the University of Illinois, Urbana, USA, in 1972. 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 is Professor and University Scholar at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

His published 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 QuarterlyJournal of Speech. He has published more than 50 articles and book chapters on topics in rhetoric and argumentation. He was a co-director of the International Association for the Study of Argumentation based at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He has received distinguished scholarship awards from the National Communication Association, the American Forensics Association, and the Universities of Illinois and Louisville.

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.

Main works

  • Argumentation and the Social Grounds of Knowledge, University of Alabama Press, 1982.
  • J. Robert Cox and Charles Arthur Willard, eds., Advances in Argumentation Theory and Research, 1982.
  • A Theory of Argumentation, University of Alabama Press, 1988.
  • Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy, University of Chicago Press, 1996.
  • Editor, Critical problems in Argumentation: Proceedings of the Thirteenth NCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation 809 pp. Washington, DC: National Communication Association. 2004.
  • “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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