Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

6-6-2007 9:00 AM

End Date

9-6-2007 5:00 PM

Abstract

Argumentation theory needs to develop a tightly reasoned normative code of reasonableness in argumentation so that reasonableness is severed from the goal of reaching “consensus,” as in Habermas and others, or of “resolving the difference of opinion,” as in Pragma-dialectics. On one hand, given degenerative trends in present-day public debate, there is a need for argumentation scholars to enter the public sphere and try to lay down such a code as a common ground of controversy; on the other hand, argumentation theory should recognize that in important respects public controversies cannot be modeled as collaborative enterprises, because dissensus between groups or individuals is legitimately and ineradicably inherent in political and other practical issues in the public sphere. Perhaps the way to develop such a code is not top-down from abstract principles assumed to be axiomatic, but bottom-up from scrutiny of significant authentic examples of public argument. Examples will be drawn from the long-standing controversy over immigration policies, etc., in a European country. Sidelights will be thrown on such theoretical issues as argument evaluation, the “relativism” charge against theories holding that argument strength may be audience-dependent, the characteristic nature of pro and con arguments in practical reasoning, and resources available for legitimate political controversy.

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Jun 6th, 9:00 AM Jun 9th, 5:00 PM

Norms of Legitimate Dissensus

University of Windsor

Argumentation theory needs to develop a tightly reasoned normative code of reasonableness in argumentation so that reasonableness is severed from the goal of reaching “consensus,” as in Habermas and others, or of “resolving the difference of opinion,” as in Pragma-dialectics. On one hand, given degenerative trends in present-day public debate, there is a need for argumentation scholars to enter the public sphere and try to lay down such a code as a common ground of controversy; on the other hand, argumentation theory should recognize that in important respects public controversies cannot be modeled as collaborative enterprises, because dissensus between groups or individuals is legitimately and ineradicably inherent in political and other practical issues in the public sphere. Perhaps the way to develop such a code is not top-down from abstract principles assumed to be axiomatic, but bottom-up from scrutiny of significant authentic examples of public argument. Examples will be drawn from the long-standing controversy over immigration policies, etc., in a European country. Sidelights will be thrown on such theoretical issues as argument evaluation, the “relativism” charge against theories holding that argument strength may be audience-dependent, the characteristic nature of pro and con arguments in practical reasoning, and resources available for legitimate political controversy.