Values in Argumentation – Values of Argumentation, 28-29 June 2017

June 28-29, 2017

International conference: Values in Argumentation – Values of Argumentation

The goal of the conference is to investigate the intricate relationships between argument and value. Given an understanding of argument as articulated reason and a broad conception of values, stretching from individual preferences to deep moral principles and convictions, are these two friends or foes? There is a long tradition of arguing from values, arguing about values and arguing for values: from Perelman’s articulation of the theory of argumentation as “the logic of value judgments” to on-going work in practical philosophy, meta-ethics, applied ethics and value theory in general. The chief problem today is, however, what role argumentation can play in a situation of value pluralism, value conflicts, even deep disagreements. This problem permeates both practical and theoretical reason, given the feeble fact-value distinction. While we have been recommended to respond by resorting to sound argumentation directed to rational “universal audience” (Perelman, Tindale), the reality of the public discourse today seems dominated by appeals to propaganda in order to convert the divided public to one “authoritarian value-system” (Stanley). Is there any way to challenge the simple but ever-stronger uses of arguments supporting that value-system? In any case, we need to re-examine the values in and of argumentation.

These questions, we believe, run deeper than simple semantic ambiguities of the concepts of argument and value. They concern key issues regarding the force of the better argument in the public sphere, the power of values to govern our theoretical and practical reason, and the possible compatibilities and incompatibilities between the two concepts. Accordingly, the focus of the conference is theoretical but not without some practical importance. While the investigation of values and arguments continues among different branches of philosophy – as well as humanities and social sciences in general – the “post-truth society” of today challenges many of the recognised truths. Our aim is to deepen this important current debate.   


The Conference is open for attendance without presentation. Register here please.

(See Call for Papers - closed!)

Key-note speakers:


The Manipulation of Value for Political Gain

Jason Stanley (Yale University, USA)

Mass communication works by focusing the audience's attention upon certain cherished values, for example equality, social justice, law and order, security, Christianity, European identity, or national pride. Demagogues seek to shift the focus of attention to values that can be strategically manipulated, such as "traditional values". In this talk, I will set out how demagogic speech changes the conversation by shifting mass focus of attention to certain values. For example, by switching attention to values of "law and order", and connecting immigrants to crime, demagogues can gather support by appealing to racist ideologies, or by switching attention to "traditional values", demagogues can gather support by appealing to homophobia, misogyny, or religious prejudice. I will describe how switching the frame of values can alter the discussion space by excluding legitimate policy options. In the final part of the talk I will address how we can respond to these strategic shifts in value. Focusing on concrete struggles for social justice in Switzerland and the United States, I will attempt to answer the question: what methods exist to return the space of public reason to one in which policy options obscured by demagogic tactics are once again in view? 


Disrupting the Course of Civilization: How Argumentation Transforms Reason

Christopher Tindale (University of Windsor, Canada)

Some views are so extreme they focus the attention of entire societies, consume public debates, and monopolize the energy of a generation. And yet many of those views that “may disrupt the whole course of civilization,” do so successfully and move from the extreme to the accepted. Canadian suffragist Nellie McClung, from whom I take my title, held such a view. She argued the radical position that women should be entitled to vote. She is an interesting example of argumentation that transforms what is reasonable, and how this can be accomplished. In fact, such examples point to a number of important ways argumentation operates: to modify the cognitive environments in which we live; to promote an appreciation of diversity and an understanding of alternative positions; to provide standards of reason by which we measure ourselves relative to our goals and the goals of others.

In this talk, I explore some of the strategies involved in addressing extremism and transforming the values at the heart of extremist discourse to make it more accessible, and even acceptable, and, in some instances, melding it with the status quo. Through some conceptual analysis and the discussion of several case studies, including that of McClung in Canada and the civil rights movement in the US, I will consider how some views are modified over time through the production of argumentation directed at society rather than individuals. 


Download here


Download the Book of Abstracts here

The conference takes place at the FCSH campus on avenida de Berna 26, ID building, 4th floor, room Multiusos 3. 

Other Practicalities, see here

Organising Committee:

Dima Mohammed

Marcin Lewiński

Erich Rast


The conference is a part of the “Values in Argumentative Discourse” project sponsored by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT: PTDC/MHC-FIL/0521/2014), and managed by Erich Rast (PI) at the ArgLab, Nova Institute of Philosophy (IFILNOVA), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal.

Back to previous page


All Events

Book Launch: Schizophrenia and Common Sense: explaining the relation between madness and social values with Thomas Fuchs

Schizophrenia and Common Sense: explaining the relation between madness and…

June 25, 2018

Workshop: Misunderstanding, disagreement, manipulation

The idea of the workshop is to explore the blurred…

June 22, 2018

Katharina Stevens, 18 June 2018, 14h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Argument-Design through Role-Taking"

June 18, 2018

Workshop: Communication and metaphors for health. An educational challenge

The workshop discusses the importance of communication and metaphors in…

June 01, 2018

Inês Hipólito, 30th May 11:00 - 12:00

Lisbon Mind & Reasoning RIP Seminar |"Perception as Cognition: Beyond…

May 30, 2018

Dima Mohammed, 28 May 2018, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Proposals for the examination of networked…

May 28, 2018

Jakob Krebs, 16 May, 15h to 16h

Lisbon Mind & Reasoning RIP Seminar |"Pictorial Models, Imagination, and…

May 16, 2018

Mehmet Ali Üzelgün, 14 May 2018, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Level, focus, and force of argumentative…

May 14, 2018

Virtualism and the Mind: Rethinking Presence, Representation and the Self

Lisbon Mind & Reasoning Workshop "Virtualism and the Mind"

April 23, 2018

João Leite, 16 April 2018, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "An Online Social Debating System"

April 16, 2018

Klaus Gärtner, 20 Mar, 2018, 14.30h to 15.30h

Lisbon Mind & Reasoning RIP Seminar |"4E Cognition: Radical or…

March 20, 2018

Javier Gonzalez de Prado Salas, 19 March 2018, 16h

ArgLab Research Colloquium | "Reasoning as a self-doubter"

March 19, 2018

Erich Rast, 16.3., Sala 1.05 ID, 16h

Value Seminar Session with Erich Rast, Sala 1.05 ID 16h

March 16, 2018

Value Seminar Marcin Lewiński, Sala 105 ID 16h

Value Seminar with Marcin Lewiński, Sala 1.05 ID 16h

March 09, 2018

Value Seminar Dima Mohammed, Sala 105 ID 16h

Value Seminar with Dima Mohammed, Sala 1.05 ID 16h

March 02, 2018

The 1st European Conference on Argumentation

International Conference | Argumentation and Reasoned Action

June 09, 2015


Faculdade de Direito Universidade Nova de Lisboa