Speaker Series Jan 29

Katharina Stevens
Friday, January 29, 2021 - 15:00

Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation & Rhetoric along with the PhD in Argumentation Studies at the University of Windsor invite you to a talk by

Katharina Stevens

Argument is Moral - Using Walton's Dialectical Tools to Evaluate Argumentation from a Moral Perspective

Douglas Walton’s dialectical theory of argumentation, developed in a swath of papers and several monographs, most central of which are The New Dialectic and, co-authored with Eric Krabbe, Commitment in Dialogue, is one of the most thoroughly developed, detailed and fruitful theories of argumentation available. But Walton’s dialectical theory of argumentation is valuable not only as a comprehensive framework. It also contains important insights fit to illuminate and answer questions that arise outside of his framework and that he may or may not have intended to address. Here, I will sketch how Walton’s concepts of dialogue types and dialogue shifts, which allowed him to build a highly original fallacy theory, can be used for constructing a method of argument-evaluation from a moral perspective.  Walton has the goal of making it possible to evaluate argumentation without needing to attempt a determination of the arguer’s intentions, which he thinks would require too much psychological speculation. It may seem that the moral evaluation of argumentative behavior requires exactly this. However, I argue that Walton’s method of grounding argument evaluation in the goals of argumentative dialogues can be adapted by identifying moral goals of argumentation associated with harm avoidance and respect for dignity. This makes it possible to determine whether argumentative behavior is desirable or undesirable from a moral point of view without needing to inquire into an arguer’s intention. Crossing that line is only necessary if we want to determine whether moral blame should be put on the arguer.


Friday, January 29, 2021


This presentation is part of our Alumni Month!

Weekly presentations conducted via Zoom. All those interested in attending should contact crrar@uwindsor.ca for more information.