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 (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).
Abstract for the talk
Nearly all cases of deliberation – from private consumer decisions to complex public policies – rely on the authority of some external experts who advise, recommend, or warn us to do φ rather than ψ. We need such experts, as we cannot ourselves be experts on all the things we decide on. The question to be addressed in this talk is how to evaluate experts’ authority in an applicable way. While this is a complex issue discussed in depth in social epistemology and political theory, I will turn to argumentation theory as a discipline that provides practical solutions to this question. To this end, I will first identify challenges and paradoxes of relying on authority and its various forms discussed in the literature. I will then discuss various ways to schematise arguments from authority / from expert opinion in argumentation theory. Based on this overview, I will propose a novel approach that distinguishes between arguments from experts’ authority and arguments to experts’ authority. I will conclude by arguing that this rearranged structure allows us to understand and critique authority in public deliberation in a way that is apt for applied, linguistic analysis.
Most recent references:
Lewiński, M. (2022). Challenging authority with argumentation: The pragmatics of aguments from and to authority. Languages, 7(3), 207, https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7030207.
Zenker, F., & Yu, S. (2022). Authority argument schemes, types, and critical questions. Argumentation, online first, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-022-09573-7.
About the ACLC seminar series
The ACLC seminar series is a two weekly lecture series organized by the ACLC, the Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication.