ArgLab • Colloquium

Michael Baumtrog

Assessing the role of values in the evaluation of practical reasoning argumentation: The case of NGO deliberations with UNHCR

This talk outlines the problem and research to be undertaken for a forthcoming Ph.D. dissertation focused on the role that values play in the evaluation of argumentation aimed at deciding on a course of action, known as practical reasoning. In the contemporary literature on practical reasoning, strategies for how it ought to be evaluated range from suggesting that values play a vital role to suggestions that the consideration of values is outside the domain of reasoning and argument evaluation. The dissertation will investigate the question, “To what extent are values necessary items to take into consideration when providing an adequate evaluation of practical reasoning argumentation.” After a review and discussion of the contemporary theoretical literature, the evaluative strategies suggested therein will be employed on a corpus of examples of practical reasoning argumentation made by NGOs within UNHCR deliberations. The resulting evaluations will then be compared and contrasted to reveal many of the roles values play (such as institutional and premisary) as well as to shed light on the advantages and shortcomings of the different evaluative approaches. Finally, based on an analysis of the results of the differing evaluations, suggestions will be made regarding how to account for the role of values in arguments based on practical reasoning.