Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Paper

Keywords

attitude strength, bias, deep-seated virtues, humility, situationism, virtue argumentation

Start Date

18-5-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

21-5-2016 5:00 PM

Abstract

Virtue Argumentation and Bias

PAPER

Virtue theories of argumentation (VTA) are a burgeoning programme [2]. Bias is a familiar impediment to good argument, which has drawn renewed attention as a result of psychological research demonstrating the prevalence of cognitive biases and implicit associations. Despite some attempts to utilise the resources of VTA to address bias, there has been little acknowledgement of the obstacle that bias presents to VTA. Specifically, VTA seems vulnerable to a situationist challenge, analogous to similar challenges in virtue ethics and epistemology, that behavioural dispositions are too sensitive to specific situations for virtues to be psychologically plausible [1]. This paper proposes a two-pronged response that VTA may make to this challenge, and to the problem of bias in argument in general: a defence of the virtue of humility [3] and a demonstration of the role of attitude strength, as exhibited by deep-seated virtues [4].

[1] Mark Alfano. Expanding the situationist challenge to reliabilism about inference. In: Virtue Epistemology Naturalized (Abrol Fairweather, ed.), Springer, 2014.

[2] Daniel Cohen. Virtue, in context. Informal Logic 33 (2013).

[3] Ian James Kidd. Intellectual humility, confidence, and argumentation. Topoi (forthcoming).

[4] Jonathan Webber. Instilling virtue. In: From Personality to Virtue (Alberto Masala and Jonathan Webber, eds.), Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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John Anthony Blair, Commentary on Andrew Aberdein’s “Virtue argumentation and bias” (May 2016)

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 21st, 5:00 PM

Virtue Argumentation and Bias

University of Windsor

Virtue Argumentation and Bias

PAPER

Virtue theories of argumentation (VTA) are a burgeoning programme [2]. Bias is a familiar impediment to good argument, which has drawn renewed attention as a result of psychological research demonstrating the prevalence of cognitive biases and implicit associations. Despite some attempts to utilise the resources of VTA to address bias, there has been little acknowledgement of the obstacle that bias presents to VTA. Specifically, VTA seems vulnerable to a situationist challenge, analogous to similar challenges in virtue ethics and epistemology, that behavioural dispositions are too sensitive to specific situations for virtues to be psychologically plausible [1]. This paper proposes a two-pronged response that VTA may make to this challenge, and to the problem of bias in argument in general: a defence of the virtue of humility [3] and a demonstration of the role of attitude strength, as exhibited by deep-seated virtues [4].

[1] Mark Alfano. Expanding the situationist challenge to reliabilism about inference. In: Virtue Epistemology Naturalized (Abrol Fairweather, ed.), Springer, 2014.

[2] Daniel Cohen. Virtue, in context. Informal Logic 33 (2013).

[3] Ian James Kidd. Intellectual humility, confidence, and argumentation. Topoi (forthcoming).

[4] Jonathan Webber. Instilling virtue. In: From Personality to Virtue (Alberto Masala and Jonathan Webber, eds.), Oxford University Press, forthcoming.