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Women in Philosophy – Prof. Dr. Catarina Dutilh Novaes (VU Amsterdam): "The Social Epistemology of Argumentation"

January 29, 2019, 16-18 ct
S 106 (FAN C)

Humans are famously a highly social species, and without collaboration with conspecifics a human being stands no chance to survive. At the same time, we compete with one another for resources at multiple levels. This combination of interdependence and competition means that exchange of information and of epistemic resources more generally among humans becomes a complex affair, involving both trust and vigilance. In my talk, I discuss the role of argumentation in the circulation and production of epistemic resources, relying on insights from social exchange theory, social epistemology, and argumentation theory. In particular, I address the conflicting evidence available on the effectiveness of argumentation for the transfer of epistemic resources and to change people’s minds, which requires a nuanced account of what argumentation can and cannot do for us as epistemic agents in social contexts.

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