David Godden

(517) 353-9392


Associate Professor
Undergraduate Program Director; Argumentation Theory; Epistemology; Informal Logic

ORCID: 0000-0002-4870-6331

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Godden’s primary areas of research are argumentation theory, epistemology, and informal logic. Generally speaking, I study the normative dimensions of argumentation (understood as those practices by which we transact reasons with one another), and reasoning (our internalization of those practices whereby we transact reasons with ourselves). My interests in these activities are almost exclusively epistemological: the primary normative status I concern myself with is epistemic justification, which I understand in terms of other statuses like commitment, entitlement, and recognition. My approach to theorizing our discursive and epistemic norms is thoroughly dialectical. In this respect, my work remains significantly informed by the postdoctoral work I did with Douglas Walton, as well as the Pragma-Dialectical theory of argumentation. More recently, it is increasingly influenced by pragmatism, especially by the work of Robert Brandom. Presently, I have active, ongoing projects on the following topics: deep disagreements; presumption and burden of proof; disagreement and trust; adversariality and civility in public argumentative discourse; aretaic approaches to argumentative norms; formal models of argumentative dialogue. For example, here’s a link to a talk I recently gave on disagreement and trust as part of MSU’s Center for Interdisciplinarity (C4I) University Interdisciplinary Colloquium (UIC): Talk poster / abstract ; Link to talk on YouTube

Notice to Prospective Graduate Students

I welcome the opportunity to work with new and current graduate students on projects that are in line with the research interests, approaches, and topics outlined above. I am especially interested in supervising graduate studies in those topical areas of my active, ongoing projects, mentioned earlier. While I have worked on argumentation schemes in the past, I am not interested in supervising projects seeking to provide a classificatory catalogue of argumentation schemes or seeking to provide an underlying theory of their typology. Previously, I have co-authored papers with graduate students (Davis & Godden, 2021) I am mentoring. Generally, I am happy to engage in collaborative research projects with graduate students whether or not those projects feature in their dissertational plans. Interested students are encouraged to contact me directly by email in advance of their applying to the program. You can email me here: dgodden@msu.edu


PHL460 – Epistemology
Text: Michael Williams, Problems of Knowledge, Oxford UP, 2001

PHL492 – Capstone Seminar for Majors
Seminar on Philosophy of Trust; student editorships of Elenchus: A Journal of Undergraduate Philosophy at Michigan State University

PHL418 – Seminar in 20th Century Philosophy
When last offered, we read: Russell’s (1918) Philosophy of Logical Atomism; Ayer’s (1936/1946) Language, Truth, and Logic; Wittgenstein’s posthumous (1969) On Certainty; and Sellars’s (1956) Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind

PHL330 – Formal Reasoning
Text: D. Barker-Plummer, J. Barwise, and J. Etchemendy, Language, Proof and Logic. 2nd edition. Stanford, CA: CLSI Publications, 2011

PHL130 – Logic & Reasoning
Various texts

Recent Graduate Courses Taught
Seminar on Wittgenstein (with Prof. Jamie Nelson) Fall 2019


Godden, D. (2021 / forthcoming). Getting out in front of the Owl of Minerva Problem. Argumentation: An International Journal on Reasoning nn: pp–pp.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-021-09554-2  Preview: https://rdcu.be/cwL6l

Godden, D. (2021). The compliment of rational opposition: Disagreement, adversariality, and disputation. Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy 40(5): 845-858. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-021-09768-9 Preview: https://rdcu.be/czk97

Godden, D. (2021). Epistemic autonomy, epistemic paternalism, and blindspots of reason. In G. Axtell and A. Bernal (Eds.), Epistemic paternalism: Conceptions, justifications, and implications (pp. 181-197). London: Rowman & Littlefield. Draft Preview

Davis, J., and Godden, D. (2021). Adversarial listening in argumentation. Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy 40(5): 925-937.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-020-09730-1 Preview: https://rdcu.be/cbvZV

Godden, D., and Grey, J. (2021). Reasoning by grounded analogy. Synthese 199, 5419–5453. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-020-02974-9 Preview: https://rdcu.be/cACtw

Godden, D. and Casey, J. (2020). No place for compromise: Resisting the shift to negotiation. Argumentation: An International Journal on Reasoning 34: 499–535. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-020-09517-z   Preview: https://rdcu.be/b3b7c

Godden, D. (2019). On the rational resolvability of deep disagreement through meta-argumentation: A resource audit. Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy 38: 725-750. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-019-09682-1 Preview: https://rdcu.be/b9oKi

Godden, D. (2019). Corroboration: Sensitivity, safety, and explanation. Acta Analytica 34(1): 15-38. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12136-018-0351-x  Preview: https://rdcu.be/NHN8

Godden, D. and Zenker, F. (2018). A probabilistic analysis of argument cogency. Synthese 195: 1715–1740. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11229-016-1299-2 Preview: http://rdcu.be/oejr

Godden, D. (2017). Presumption as a modal qualifier: Presumption, inference, and managing epistemic risk. Argumentation: An International Journal on Reasoning 31: 485-511. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-017-9422-1Preview: http://rdcu.be/peze

Godden, D. (2016). On the priority of agent-based argumentative norms. Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy 35: 345-357. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11245-014-9296-x

University News

Teaching and Research Guided by Student Interests
Published October 11, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
man wearing a grey suit with a purple shirt and an orange, red, and grey striped tie standing in front of a book shelf and a poster
John Grey, Academic Specialist in the Department of Philosophy, is using his research and teaching experience to develop dynamic and engaging courses in logic, metaphysics and the…Read now »