Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Paper

Keywords

argumantation, virtue, bias, objectivity

Start Date

18-5-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

21-5-2016 5:00 PM

Abstract

How is it possible that biases are cognitive vices, objectivity is an exemplary intellectual virtue, and yet objectivity is itself a bias? In this paper, we argue that objectivity is indeed a kind of bias but is still an argumentative virtue. In common with many biases – and many virtues – its effects are neither uniformly negative nor uniformly positive. Consequences alone are not enough to determine which character traits are argumentative virtues. Context matters.

The opening section addresses the problem of identifying argumentative virtues and provides a preliminary response to recent questions from Goddu and Godden regarding the foundations of virtue-based argumentation theories. The middle section analyzes courtroom argumentation as a case study. The assigned roles in legal settings provide high-definition examples of how the roles that all arguers routinely inhabit in ordinary argumentation factor into the evaluation of virtues. The contextually variable values of objectivity and biases are on clear display. The final section employs the conclusions from the middle section to answer the questions from the first section and to complete the argument that objectivity can be an occasionally “vicious virtue” (and biases can be “virtuous vices”).

Creative Commons License

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

Included in

Philosophy Commons

Share

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

Virtuous Vices: On Objectivity, Bias, and Virtue in Argumentation

University of Windsor

How is it possible that biases are cognitive vices, objectivity is an exemplary intellectual virtue, and yet objectivity is itself a bias? In this paper, we argue that objectivity is indeed a kind of bias but is still an argumentative virtue. In common with many biases – and many virtues – its effects are neither uniformly negative nor uniformly positive. Consequences alone are not enough to determine which character traits are argumentative virtues. Context matters.

The opening section addresses the problem of identifying argumentative virtues and provides a preliminary response to recent questions from Goddu and Godden regarding the foundations of virtue-based argumentation theories. The middle section analyzes courtroom argumentation as a case study. The assigned roles in legal settings provide high-definition examples of how the roles that all arguers routinely inhabit in ordinary argumentation factor into the evaluation of virtues. The contextually variable values of objectivity and biases are on clear display. The final section employs the conclusions from the middle section to answer the questions from the first section and to complete the argument that objectivity can be an occasionally “vicious virtue” (and biases can be “virtuous vices”).