Howard Kahane

Howard Kahane
Born (1928-04-19)April 19, 1928
Cleveland, US
Died May 2, 2001(2001-05-02) (aged 73)
Mill Valley, California, US
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
Main interests
Notable ideas
Informal Logic

Howard Kahane (19 April 1928 2 May 2001) was a professor of philosophy at Bernard M. Baruch College in New York City. He was noted for promoting a popular, and non-mathematical, approach to logic, now known as informal logic.[1] His best known publication in that area is his textbook Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life,[1][2] now at 11th (2009, posthumous) edition;[3] the 12th edition was published in 2014.[4]

Another textbook of his that saw posthumous publication is Logic and Philosophy: A Modern Introduction (12th edition in 2012).[5]

Kahane graduated with a master's degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (1958) and received a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962. Before Baruch College, Kahane taught at Whitman College, the University of Kansas, American University and the University of Maryland at Baltimore.[1]

Nancy Cavender, who is a Professor Emeritus at the College of Marin and coauthored later editions of Kahane's 1971 textbook,[4] was also "his companion", according to the New York Times.[1] Kahane fathered one daughter.[1]


According to argumentation theory scholar Michael A. Gilbert, before Kahane's 1971 book North American curricula on critical thinking and fallacies was primarily taught from textbooks (such as Irving Copi's Introduction to Logic) in which "fallacies are presented in a brief fashion using examples that were mostly invented or take out of context. [...] The 'radical change' was that Kahane's book took current examples from newspapers and periodicals dealing with issues students cared about or, at least, recognized. This meant that fallacies were more situated than in older books."[6]

Linguistics professor Louise Cummings notes that Kahane's book marked a "shift to context", that is, toward pragmatic criteria for evaluating natural language arguments. She cites Van Eemeren, Grootendrost and Henkemans (of the pragma-dialectic school) observation that thanks to his contextual approach Kahane "added new fallacies to the traditional list, so the one will find not only ad hominem but also 'provincialism', not only ad verecundiam, but also the 'red herring', not only hasty generalization but also 'suppressed evidence'."[7]

Selected publications


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Lewis, Paul (2001) Obituary: Howard Kahane, 73, Philosopher Who Advanced a School of Logic, New York Times, May 22 (Accessed April 29, 2011)
  2. Hausman, Alan., Landesman, Charles. and Seamon, Roger. (2002) Howard Kahane, 1928-2001 Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association Vol. 75, No. 5, May, pp. 191-193
  3. Nancy Cavender; Howard Kahane (2009). Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life (11th ed.). Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-0-495-80411-6.
  4. 1 2
  5. Alan Hausman; Howard Kahane; Paul Tidman (2012). Logic and Philosophy: A Modern Introduction. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-133-05000-1.
  6. Michael A. Gilbert (1997). Coalescent Argumentation. Taylor & Francis. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-8058-2520-6.
  7. Louise Cummings (2005). Pragmatics: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. Taylor & Francis. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-8058-5543-2.
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