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The argumentative exchange of reasons is often seen as the most equality-affirming, respectful way in which parties can engage with each other’s minds. But it has long been acknowledged that argumentation is not always free, equal and respectful.

Social epistemologists develop theories of epistemic injustice which show that social power has a direct impact on people’s ability to make their voices heard. Political theorists study the pernicious effects of propaganda.
Empirical data suggests that whether or not argumentation will lead to a betterment of participants’ beliefs hangs, to a great degree, on factors such as the homogeneity or heterogeneity of the group members’ pre-discussion beliefs, the social relationships within the group and the existence or non-existence of threats from outside the group.
Rhetoricians have a long-standing interest in the composition of persuasive arguments and their ethical use. Legal advocacy is perhaps the field in which persuasive argument is most central; here also the ethical implications of persuasion have become the focus of recent scholarship.
Argumentation theorists worry about the effects of adversariality and cooperation in argumentation and the role played by character traits such as open-mindedness or quick-wittedness. The list goes on.

Argumentation, it turns out, is an activity that can be done in a morally right and a morally wrong way. Yet, while theorists from many different areas work on the problems of the ethics of argument, they do not always interact with each other. Much excellent work remains isolated.
This speaker series sets out to change that. By bringing scholars who work on the ethics of argumentation together, it prepares the ground for the development of argumentation ethics as an integrated, interdisciplinary research project.

About the Organizers


Andrew Aberdein has researched the Ethics of Argument for more than a decade. He is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of Humanities at Florida Institute of Technology. He has published at least a dozen articles on the application of virtue theory to issues in argumentation

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Katharina Stevens has worked in the Ethics of Argument for seven years. She is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lethbridge, where she holds a Board of Governors Research Chair on the Ethics of Argumentation. She is also a co-editor of the Argumentation journal Informal Logic. She is developing a non-ideal role-ethics for argumentation and a textbook on ethical arguing and has published in virtues of argumentation and the role of adversariality in argument.

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