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Speaker Series May 6

Graduate Studies
Friday, May 6, 2022 - 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

Waleed Mebane
PhD Argumentation

“Estimating robustness of argument conclusions”

In defeasible argumentation, a conclusion that has been established on the basis of evidence can, nevertheless, be reversed when sufficient new evidence to the contrary is presented. Argumentation could continue indefinitely through a series of such reversals as long as any new considerations capable of being decisive on the matter being argued can be discovered. It is usually a goal of argumentation to resolve a difference of opinion in a principled way, and such defeasibility complicates the task by threatening to defer that principled resolution indefinitely.

In order to know when to close off argumentation, we should like to know how likely it is that the current conclusion is to stand up to future arguments. This research suggests that it should be possible to estimate that: when the argumentation is constrained in a certain way. Arguers must present what they believe to be the most weighty and robust considerations first and they must not withhold potentially decisive arguments. Under those constraints I present a model of the robustness of the conclusions based on how much elaborated an argument has been and the recent frequency of reversals of the conclusion. The resulting measure is not comparable across arguments; instead, we must make arguers “work” about as hard on defeating a conclusion as is implied by the model of robustness, and that gives us a practical way of making what has usually been called “burden of proof” concrete in an argumentative situation. The method may be applied to single person and multi-person argumentation.

Friday, May 6, 2022


This presentation is on Zoom only.