Arguing with People
  • Publication Date: June 2, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554811700 / 1554811708
  • 144 pages; 6" x 9"

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Arguing with People

  • Publication Date: June 2, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554811700 / 1554811708
  • 144 pages; 6" x 9"

Arguing with People brings developments from the field of Argumentation Theory to bear on critical thinking in a clear and accessible way. This book expands the critical thinking toolkit, and shows how those tools can be applied in the hurly-burly of everyday arguing. Gilbert emphasizes the importance of understanding real arguments, understanding just who you are arguing with, and knowing how to use that information for successful argumentation. Interesting examples and partner exercises are provided to demonstrate tangible ways in which the book’s lessons can be applied.


“ … may be the single most important supplement to [a Critical Reasoning textbook] that an instructor could assign to her students. … Arguing with People is a pleasure to read. It is informative, intellectually stimulating, and will provoke reflection on the many different facets of how and why we argue with others.” — Benjamin Hamby, Coastal Carolina University, in Cogency

Arguing with People invites its readers to reflect on the varied purposes of argumentation, while at the same time calling for reflection upon the manifold physical, social, emotional, and spiritual resources that are drawn into the journey from disagreement to the meeting of the minds.” — G. Thomas Goodnight, Professor at the Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California

“This book represents a valuable pedagogical resource for general education and critical thinking courses. It should also be of considerable help in all university courses where argumentation is central.” — Claudio Duran, York University

Arguing with People makes good reading. It is a practical introduction to the background that Argumentation Theory provides to Critical Thinking. Written in a highly accessible style, it gives a clear overview of various relevant insights. In addition, a series of useful exercises aimed at improving argument skills is included. This combination makes Michael A. Gilbert’s book unique in its kind.” — Frans H. van Eemeren, University of Amsterdam & Leiden University

“Gilbert’s Arguing with People interjects the person-centeredness of argumentation studies into the rigor of critical thinking projects. Gilbert is both a philosopher and a novelist, and this book displays both precision and intuitive insight.” — Dale Hample, University of Maryland

“The book is cleanly designed, and contains healthy number of exercises for each chapter, a useful index and list of further readings. Addressed to students, it is clearly and engagingly written. … I recommend assigning this book as supplementary reading for a critical thinking course and also for an informal logic course.” — J. Anthony Blair, Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric, University of Windsor

“This little book, just 133 pages including bibliography, fills a big gap in the textbook offerings by addressing the sorts of argumentation that students will be most familiar with.” — Catherine E. Hundleby, Informal Logic



  1. About Arguments
  2. The Stages of Argument
  3. Kinds of Argument
  4. Polemics vs. Argument


  1. Who Do We Argue With?
  2. Argument Modes
  3. Coalescence
  4. Argumentativeness and Aggressivity
  5. Gender and Argument


  1. Heuristic, Ethos, Audience
  2. Watching the Process
  3. The Most Important Belief You Can Have
  4. The Rules
  5. Coalescent Argument
  6. Arguing Well
  7. In Action
  8. Final Words

Further Reading

Michael A. Gilbert is Professor of Philosophy at York University and author of several books on argumentation, including How to Win an Argument and Coalescent Argumentation.

The student companion site includes supplemental PowerPoint slides for use in lectures or for student review.