Project PTDC/MHC-FIL/0521/2014 of the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

The project has ended. However, we continue to meet and work on disagreement, value structure, practical reasoning and decision making, metalinguistic discourse, values-based argumentation, and evaluative language. Check out the list below for forthcoming meetings, talks, and conferences! Please contact for login details to Zoom meetings!




The Team:


This list is not alphabetic and only updated anually - please check the individual homepages of our project members for their latest work!

What the project is about:

I. Goals

The goal of this project is to investigate whether and how arguing about values and arguing on the basis of values differs from arguing about facts, to disseminate the underlying rational requirements of such arguments and to generally clarify the role of values in argumentative discourse and closely related discourse types like political deliberation, negotiation and bargaining, from the perspective of the following guiding questions:

  1. What constitutes individual standpoints about values in argumentative discourse with two or more participants and what types of value disagreement are there?
  2. What are the differences between disagreeing about factual versus value-related matters and in which way do these differences influence the normative requirements of rational argumentative practice?
  3. How context sensitive is evaluative language and what consequences has this context sensitivity for the notions of value agreement and disagreement?

By making in-roads on answers to these questions, we are adding a new perspective to their currently intensely debated status in the philosophy of language and ethics Our contribution will help clarify issues pertaining to faultless disagreement and the context sensitivity of evaluative language and to the theory of argumentation in situations with multiple discourse participants, as well as reassess and potentially clarify classical philosophical problems like the fact/value distinction, the relation between what is good, what ought to be done and discursive commitments, and metaethical conceptions of the structure of goodness.

II. Methods

The project team comprises researchers from argumentation studies, moral philosophy, logic and the philosophy of language who will tackle the above questions from a variety of perspectives. Methodological pluralism is explicitly called for and desired. However, we also maintain a strong pillar of agreed upon common starting points which are based on previous work by project members, which sets our project apart from the existing work in the philosophy of language:

III. Expected Outcomes

Problems of value-based argumentation have persisted since antiquity and a wholly novel theory can hardly be expected. However, we believe that our approach offers a fresh and needed perspective on an importantly resurging theme. The project can be expected to have a broad impact on the scientific community in the philosophy of language, metaethics and neighbouring disciplines like the philosophy of economics and political science. By placing our emphasis on value-based argumentation in polylogues, rather than only on semanto-pragmatic aspects of evaluative language use like in traditional philosophy of language, the study is likely to be of interest to a more general public as well. This is because it indirectly also addresses the theoretical foundations of more practical areas like the didactics of argumentation, guidelines for 'being a good arguer' in complex argumentative situations with many different standpoints, political deliberation and group decision making. Examples of desirable 'spin offs' with a practical impact may be the development of argumentation schemes for value-based arguments and accompanying critical questions, and a proper clarification of the role of prior value commitments in the opening stages of a discussion.