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Research Graduate School of Philosophy PhD ceremonies

Argumentation and disagreement

A pluralistic approach
PhD ceremony:Mr D. (Diego) D Castro Amenabar
When:June 14, 2022
Supervisor:dr. J.A. (Jan Albert) van Laar
Co-supervisor:L. (Leah) Henderson, Prof
Where:Academy building RUG
Argumentation and disagreement

In our everyday life and in the public sphere, we often find disagreements that the parties cannot resolve nor even overcome. We might call them persistent disagreements. The main question of this thesis is: “What can the parties do to overcome disagreements reasonably, especially when disagreements are persistent?” I argue that the most reasonable way to deal with disagreement is by using argumentation, whereby I approach argumentation pluralistically.     This pluralistic approach implies an expansion of traditional approaches to argumentation like pragma-dialectics or informal logic. According to this pluralistic approach, rational persuasion need not be the only goal of argumentation, because it rarely succeeds, especially in the case of persistent disagreement. Therefore, a pluralistic approach to argumentation implies: a) that the parties might overcome their disagreements by reasonable means different from persuasion - among these means we can consider deliberation, negotiation and settlement; b) that if those means revolve around presenting reasons, they should be considered under the concept argumentation; c) that sometimes persuasion is necessary, but that even then, if the setting of the dialogue is sub-optimal, as in the persistent case, we need a general or nonspecific normative approach to evaluate the contributions of the parties; d) that when fallacies are presented, the proper response to them will depend on certain circumstances of the dialogue, considering the goal of overcoming disagreements reasonably; e) that for overcoming disagreements the parties may need to shift between different dialogue types, and that those shifts have special conditions of their own.