Academic Philosophy Events in the Netherlands
All events in academic philosophy
- This event has passed.
Lewinski on ‘Soft Power in Argumentation: The Case of Advising’
25 January @ 15:15 - 17:00
The next colloquium of the Department of Theoretical Philosophy in Groningen takes place on Wednesday 25 January from 15.15 to 17.00 at the Faculty of Philosophy, Oude Boteringestraat 52, Room Omega.
MARCIN LEWIŃSKI: Soft Power in Argumentation: The Case of Advising
ArgLab, NOVA Institute of Philosophy, NOVA University Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Argumentation theories traditionally abstract from the question of power inequalities between arguers. Power relationships should dissipate when confronted with the “forceless force of the better argument” (Habermas, 1989). Well-developed approaches, such as pragma-dialectics (van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 1984; 2004), embody this abstraction via specific design of the normative standards and rules governing argumentative exchanges which should guarantee, among other things, equality between arguers.
In my talk I will argue, by contrast, that unequal distribution of arguers’ authority should not be abstracted away from normative models of argumentation, but rather critically included in them. I will understand authority in terms of both epistemic authority, when one of the arguers has privileged access to some epistemic resources by virtue of being an expert in the field, an eyewitness, etc., and deontic authority, whereby one of the arguers is in a position to better control the conditions of discussion, due to her higher deontic (e.g., administrative) status (Bocheński, 1965; Lewiński, 2022). I will resort to recent discussions in epistemology and pragmatic philosophy of language to show how authority can impact critical discussions and how it can be counteracted to approximate the rationally sought-after results (Fricker, 2007; Langton, 2018; Zagzebski, 2012).
As a case in point, I will discuss the speech act of advising. Advising is argumentatively complex, as it always relies on the (explicit or implicit) argument from the epistemic authority of the advisor, while letting the advisees decide for themselves. As such, it does not instantiate coercive “hard power” of “the Master” over “the Slave” (Lewis, 1979) – but it still involves “soft power” that aims at co-opting interlocutors into compliance with one’s view. But if this is so, isn’t all argumentation an exercise of soft power to start with?
Eemeren, F. H. van, & Grootendorst, R. (1984). Speech Acts in Argumentative Discussions: A Theoretical Model for the Analysis of Discussions Directed Towards Solving Conflicts of Opinion. Dordrecht: Foris.
Eemeren, F. H., van & Grootendorst, R. (2004). A Systematic Theory of Argumentation: The Pragma-Dialectical Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fricker, M. (2007). Epistemic injustice: Power and the ethics of knowing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Habermas, J. (1989). The structural transformation of the public sphere: An inquiry into a category of bourgeois society (Trans. by T. Burger.) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Original work published 1962.)
Langton, R. (2018). The authority of hate speech. In J. Gardner, L. Green, & B. Leiter (eds.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law, Volume 3 (pp. 123–152). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lewiński, M. (2022). Challenging authority with argumentation: The pragmatics of naguments from and to authority. Languages, 7(3), 207, https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7030207.
Lewis, D. (1979). Scorekeeping in a language game. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 8(1), 339–359.
Zagzebski, L. T. (2012). Epistemic authority: A theory of trust, authority, and autonomy in belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press
MARCIN LEWIŃSKI (PhD University of Amsterdam, 2010) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and the NOVA Institute of Philosophy, NOVA University Lisbon. His research applying philosophical concepts to the study of public argumentation has been published in journals, edited volumes, and special issues. His most recent work (co-authored with Mark Aakhus, Rutgers University) is a monograph, Argumentation in Complex Communication: Managing Disagreement in a Polylogue published by Cambridge University Press (2023). He was the Chair of the Reasoning and Argumentation Lab in Lisbon (2017-2022) and is currently leading two EU-funded project: COST Action European network for argumentation and public policy analysis (APPLY: 2018-2023) and the Portuguese team of the CHIST-ERA project Argumentation-driven explainable artificial intelligence for digital medicine (ANTIDOTE: 2021-2024).
About the OZSW event calendar
The OZSW event calendar lists academic philosophy events organized by/at Dutch universities, and is offered by the OZSW as a service to the research community. Please check the event in question – through their website or organizer – to find out if you could participate and whether registration is required. Obviously we carry no responsibility for non-OZSW events.