Fair and unfair strategies in public controversies

Journal of Argumentation in Context 5 (3):315-347 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Contemporary theory of argumentation offers many insights about the ways in which, in the context of a public controversy, arguers should ideally present their arguments and criticize those of their opponents. We also know that in practice not all works out according to the ideal patterns: numerous kinds of derailments are an object of study for argumentation theorists. But how about the use of unfairstrategiesvis-à-vis one’s opponents? What if it is not a matter of occasional derailments but of one party’s systematic refusal to take other parties seriously? What if one party continually forgoes any form of critical testing and instead resorts to threats or blackmail? Can this be countered by the tools of reason? Or should one pay one’s opponent back in the same coin? To gain some grasp of these issues, we describe a number of strategies used in the public controversy about induced earthquakes in Groningen. We check whether these strategies arefair,i.e.balanced, transparent,andtolerant.We also investigate the effects of the choice for a particular kind of strategy. It appears that, in circumstances, choosing a fair strategy may be detrimental for resolving the controversy and choosing an unfair one beneficial. Following up ideas from social psychology and political science, we formulate some guidelines for the choice of strategies. At the end, we stress the importance — especially for those whose opinions carry little weight — of having a society in which the knowledge and skills needed for assessing the fairness of strategies are widespread.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,323

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Fairness and Fair Shares.Keith Horton - 2011 - Utilitas 23 (1):88-93.
On the redress of grievances.J. M. Alexander - 2013 - Analysis 73 (2):228-230.
The Cultures of Insider Trading.Meir Statman - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 89 (S1):51 - 58.
Evolution and ultimatum bargaining.William Harms - 1997 - Theory and Decision 42 (2):147-175.
Fair Grades.Daryl Close - 2009 - Teaching Philosophy 32 (4):361-398.
The university and the moral imperative of fair trade coffee.Gavin Fridell - 2004 - Journal of Academic Ethics 2 (1):141-159.
Public goods and fairness.Garrett Cullity - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (1):1 – 21.


Added to PP

24 (#661,118)

6 months
6 (#530,399)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?