Title

DOES INTRACTABLE SOCIAL DISAGREEMENT STOP ARGUMENT IN ITS TRACKS?

Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

17-5-2001 9:00 AM

End Date

19-5-2001 5:00 PM

Abstract

It has been widely recognized since ancient times that a standard way to resolve disagreement is for one party to extract concessions from the other which he or she (the other) is less prepared to give up than his original thesis. Central to this methodology (and what gives logic an intrinsic place in argumentation theory) is specifying the various forms of consequence which bear on matters already conceded. Not all disagreements are responsive to this methodology. I shall speak of a class of disagreements as intractable when parties are unwilling to “split the difference” or to “agree to disagree” and yet are unable to agree on procedures to resolve their original disagreement.. When intractable disagreements turn on values that are widely held and widely judged to be of the first importance, intractable disagreements constitute an apparent impediment to social policy formation. An urgent question is this: “Is coherent and supportable public policy possible concerning matters subject to intractable disagreement?” (Consider, for example, abortion and euthanasia. And pedophilia.)

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May 17th, 9:00 AM May 19th, 5:00 PM

DOES INTRACTABLE SOCIAL DISAGREEMENT STOP ARGUMENT IN ITS TRACKS?

University of Windsor

It has been widely recognized since ancient times that a standard way to resolve disagreement is for one party to extract concessions from the other which he or she (the other) is less prepared to give up than his original thesis. Central to this methodology (and what gives logic an intrinsic place in argumentation theory) is specifying the various forms of consequence which bear on matters already conceded. Not all disagreements are responsive to this methodology. I shall speak of a class of disagreements as intractable when parties are unwilling to “split the difference” or to “agree to disagree” and yet are unable to agree on procedures to resolve their original disagreement.. When intractable disagreements turn on values that are widely held and widely judged to be of the first importance, intractable disagreements constitute an apparent impediment to social policy formation. An urgent question is this: “Is coherent and supportable public policy possible concerning matters subject to intractable disagreement?” (Consider, for example, abortion and euthanasia. And pedophilia.)