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An Agentive Response to the Incompleteness Problem for the Virtue Argumentation Theory

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Abstract

This paper outlines an agent-centered theory of argumentation. Our working hypothesis is that the aim of argumentation depends upon the agenda agents are disposed to close or advance. The novelty of this idea is that our theory, unlike the main accounts of argumentation, does not establish a fixed function that agents have to achieve when arguing. Instead, we believe that the aims of argumentation depend upon the purposes agents are disposed to achieve (agendas).
Argumentation and Reasoned Action
Proceedings of the 1st European
Conference on Argumentation,
Lisbon 2015
Volume II
Edited by
Dima Mohammed
and
Marcin Lewiński
© Individual author and College Publications 2016
All rights reserved.
ISBN 978-1-84890-212-1
College Publications
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Managing Director: Jane Spurr
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D.!Mohammed!&!M.!Lewiński!(eds.)!(2016).!Argumentation!and!Reasoned!Action:!Proceedings!of!the!1st!
European!Conference!on!Argumentation,!Lisbon,!2015.!Vol.!II,!733-741.!London:!College!Publications.!
733!
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An!Agentive!Response!to!the!Incompleteness!Problem!
for!the!Virtue!Argumentation!Theory!
!
DOUGLAS!NIÑO!
Universidad!Jorge!Tadeo!Lozano,!Colombia!
edison.nino@utadeo.edu.co!
!
DANNY!MARRERO!
Universidad!Jorge!Tadeo!Lozano,!Colombia!
danny.marrero@cij.edu.co!
!
!
This! paper! outlines! an! agent-centered! theory! of!
argumentation.! Our! working! hypothesis! is! that! the! aim! of!
argumentation!depends!upon!the!agenda! agents! are! disposed!
to!close!or!advance.!The!novelty!of!this!idea!is!that!our!theory,!
unlike!the!main!accounts!of!argumentation,!does!not!establish!
a! fixed! function! that! agents! have! to! achieve! when! arguing.!
Instead,! we! believe! that! the! aims! of! argumentation! depend!
upon!the!purposes!agents!are!disposed!to!achieve!(agendas).!
!
KEYWORDS:! agenda,! agent,! agent-centered! theory! of!
argumentation,!function!of!argumentation!
!
!
1.!INTRODUCTION!
!
Virtue! argumentation! theorists! claim! to! adopt! an! agent-centered!
approach! to! argumentation.! From! our! perspective,! an! agent-centered!
approach! to! argumentation! should! provide! an! explanation! of! what! an!
agent! is! and! the! role! arguments! have! in! agents’! cognitive! economies.!
Therefore,!such!approach!should!provide!an!account!of!“what!agents!are!
like,!what! their!interests! are,!and!what!they!are!capable! of”!(Gabbay! &!
Woods,! 2009,! pp.! 70-71).! Virtue! argumentation! theorists! seem! not! to!
satisfy! this! requirement,! because! their! focus! is! the! virtues! an! arguer!
might! or! might! not! have,! but! not! the! arguer! as! such.! This! is! our!
argument:!
!
Douglas!Niño!and!Danny!Marrero!
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(1)! The! traditional! virtue! argumentation! approach! claims! it! is! an!
agent-centered!approach.!
(2)! The! traditional! agent-centered! approach! studies! the! virtues! an!
agent!has.!
(3)!The!virtue!argumentation!approach!is!a!virtue-centered!approach,!
and!not!an!agent-centered!approach.!
!
For! instance,! Andrew! Aberdain! claims:! “We! have! seen! that! a! virtue!
theoretic! approach! to! argument! must! focus! on! agents! rather! than!
actions.!This! entails!distinguishing! good!from! bad! arguers!rather! than!
good!from!bad!arguments!…!This!raises!the!question!of!what!the!virtues!
of! the! ideal! arguer! are! expected! to! track”! (2010,! pp.! 171-173).! This!
quote! confirms! the! allegedly! methodological! option! of! the! virtue!
argumentation!approach,!as!it!is!stated! by!proposition!(1).!Proposition!
(2)! shows! that! the! virtue! argumentation! approach! does! not! study!
agents,!but!their! virtues.!Therefore,!this! is!a!virtue-centered! approach,!
and!not!an!agent-centred!approach,!as!it!is!stated!in!proposition!(3).!
From! our! perspective,! the! focus! on! virtues! and! not! on! agents,!
leads! the! virtue! argumentation! approach! to! the! Incompleteness!
Problem! (IP).! First,! they! cannot! deal! with! conflicts! of! argumentative!
virtues! without! using! extra-virtue! theoretic! considerations.! Second,!
they!do!not!justify!why!it!is!good!to!be!a!virtuous!arguer!without!using!
utilitarian! considerations! (MacPherson,! 2013,! p.! 1).! The! aim! of! this!
paper! is! to! provide! an! agentive! response! to! IP.! First,! we! will! outline!
Daniel!H.!Cohen’s!virtue!argumentation!approach!as!it!was!presented!in!
“Virtue! Epistemology! and! Argumentation! Theory”! (2009).! Second,! we!
will!show!how!Cohen’s!virtue!argumentation!theory!is!vulnerable!to!IP,!
as! it! was! suggested! by! Brian! MacPherson! in! “The! Incompleteness!
Problem!for!a!Virtue-based!Theory!of!Argumentation”!(2013).!Third,!we!
will!propose!an!agentive!solution!for!IP.!Our!working!hypothesis!is!that!
a!theory!of!argumentation!clarifying!the!cognitive!agendas!of!the!agents!
arguing!not!only!provides!a!response!for!IP,!but!also!shows!the!virtues!
of!argumentation!in!agents’!cognitive!enterprises.!
!
2.!COHEN’S!VIRTUE!ARGUMENTATION!APPROACH!
!
Cohen’s!main! motivation!to! adopt! a! virtue! approach!to! argumentation!
takes! the! form! of! an! analogy:! As! the! virtue! approach! has! been!
theoretically!fruitful!for!ethics!and!epistemology,!it!could!be!fruitful!for!
argumentation!theory.!Let’s!explore!the!first!term!of!the!analogy.!On!one!
hand,! virtue! ethics! is! “better! situated! than! [its]! consequentialist! and!
deontological!counterparts!to! recognize,!accommodate,!and! appreciate!
ethical!but!non-moral!values!without!flattening!them!into!moral!values.”!
An!agentive!response!to!the!incompleteness!problem!
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On! the! other,! virtue! epistemology! is! “perfectly! situated! to! recognize,!
accommodate,! and! appreciate! cognitive!but! non-epistemic!values!
without! having! to! flatten! them! into! the! standard! epistemological!
categories”! (Cohen,! 2009,! p.! 2).! For! Cohen,! virtue! ethics! takes! into!
account!“important!goods”!that!alternative!theories!such!as!deontology!
and! consequentialism! do! not.! For! example,! virtue! ethics! is! able! to!
explain! why! family! and! friendship! are! ethically! good!but! not! morally!
obligatory:! family! and! friendship! are! goods! that! contribute! to! the!
enjoyment!of!life,!but!someone!lacking!family!or!friendship!networks!is!
not!morally!blameworthy.!Virtue!epistemology!seems!to!have!a!similar!
explanatory!power.!While!the!received!epistemological!view!exclusively!
focuses! on! the! attainment! of! propositional! knowledge,! virtue!
epistemology!recognizes!both!that!“[t]here!are!many!different!cognitive!
achievements! in! addition! to! knowledge! and! justified! belief”! and! that!
“[t]here! are! different! cognitive! abilities! leading! to! those! achievements!
that!are! not!reducible! to!propositional! knowledge”!(Cohen! 2009,!p.! 3).!
For!instance,!traditional!epistemologists!cannot!see!the!virtue!of!closed-
mindedness!and!the!vice!of!open-mindedness!because!they!do!not!seem!
to! contribute! to! the! justification! of! our! beliefs.! However,! virtue!
epistemology! would! claim! that! close-mindedness! is! virtuous! and! the!
opposite!is!vicious!in!cases!in!which!a!justified!belief!has!been!achieved,!
and!it!is! counter-productive!to!re-open! unnecessary! questions!(Cohen,!
2009,!p.!4).!
If! Cohen! is! right,! virtue! ethics! and! virtue! epistemology! have! a!
distinctive!element!giving!them! their!allegedly!explanatory!power.! For!
him,!that!is!the!agent-centered!approach!adopted!by!both!views.!Firstly,!
“[v]irtue! ethics! focuses! broadly! on! agents! and! their! lives,! rather! than!
narrowly! on! just! their! actions,! just! their! motives,! or! just! governing!
principles”.!Secondly,!virtue!ethics!had!“a!change!in!focus!from!beliefs!to!
believers”!(Cohen,!2009,!p.!2),!that!is,!“from!what!to!think!to!what!kind!of!
thinker!to! be”!(Cohen,! 2009,! p.! 4).!Consequently,!Cohen’s! contention!is!
that!if!argumentation!theory!wants!to!be!as!fecund!as!virtue!ethics!and!
virtue! epistemology! seem! to! be,! it! has! to! adopt! an! agent-centered!
approach,!too.!From!his!view,!this!means!that!theories!of!argumentation!
should!agree! on! the!claim! that! “a! good! argument! is!one! that!has! been!
conducted!virtuously”!(Cohen,!2009,!p.!1).!Spelling!out!Cohen’s!concept!
of!a!good!argument!calls!for!the! clarification!of!the!concept! of!“virtue.”!
In! his! words,! virtues! are! “the! conditions! that! are! conducive! to! the!
desired!ends”!(Cohen,!2009,!p.!4).!Therefore,!a!good!argument!is!the!one!
satisfying! the! conditions! for! the! achievement! of! the! desired! end.! This!
second! formulation! of! Cohen’s! concept! of! a! good! argument! requires!
some! precision! on! the! concept! of! “desired! end.”! Because! one! of! the!
things! arguments! can! do! is! to! transform! agent’s! doxastic! states! from!
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disbelief!to!belief! via!persuasion,!arguments! have!to! do!with! cognitive!
ends!(Cohen,!2009,!p.! 5).!Good,!or!virtuous,!arguments,! as!a!result,!are!
catalysts!of!cognitive!achievements.!For!instance,!along!with!persuasion,!
other!argumentative!virtues!allowing!cognitive!advancements!are:!
!
•!a!deepened!understanding!of!one’s!own!position;!
•!the!improvement!of!one’s!position;!
•! the! abandonment!of! a! standpoint! for! a! better! one! –! other!
than!the!opponent’s;!
•!a!deepened!understanding!of!the!opponent’s!position;!
•!a!deepened!appreciation!of!the!opponent’s!position;!
•! acknowledgement!of! (the! reasonableness! of)! another’s!
position;!
•!greater! attention!to!previously!over-looked! or! under-valued!
details;!
•! better! grasp!of! connections! and! how! things! might! be! fit!
together!in!a!big!picture;!
•!entitlement!to!one’s!own!position.!(Cohen,!2009,!p.!7)!
!
3.! THE! INCOMPLETENESS! PROBLEM! FOR! THE! VIRTUE!
ARGUMENTATION!THEORY!
!
Virtue! argumentation! theories,! such! as! Cohen’s,! have! been! recently!
attacked!by!the!Incompleteness!Problem!(IP).!According!to!MacPherson,!
the! incompleteness! of! virtue! argumentation! theories! are! two! sides! of!
the! same! coin.! On! one! side,! the! virtue! approach! to! argumentation! is!
incomplete! because! it! has! to! recur! to! elements! external! to! the! virtue!
approach!to!resolve!conflicts!of!argumentative!values.!On!the!other!side,!
if! virtue! argumentation! theorists! confine! themselves! to! the! limits! of!
their!approach,!they!are!not!able!to!“provide!us!with!a!reason!for!why!it!
is!good!to!be!a!virtuous!arguer”!(MacPherson,!2013,!p.!1).!This!being!so,!
the! virtue-centered! approach! to! argumentation! is! vulnerable! to! IP!
because!its!theoretical!tools!are!not!enough!for!dealing!with!some!of!the!
problems! arising! from! its! own! theoretical! framework.!What! is! more,!
when! virtue! argumentation! theorists! deal! with! problems! such! as! the!
mentioned! above,! they! are! forced! to! use! elements! belonging! to! their!
antagonistic!theories!such!as!the!utilitarian!or!the!dialectical-obligation!
approach!to!argumentation.!
MacPherson! illustrates! the! problem! of! conflicts! of!
argumentative!virtues!with!the!following!example:!
!
Suppose! two! evolutionary! biologists! [Deborah! and! Ibrahim]!
are!deeply!divided!on!the!issue!of!whether!evolution!is!a!result!
of! mutation,! natural! selection,! migration,! and! genetic! drift!
An!agentive!response!to!the!incompleteness!problem!
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(traditional! theory)! or! whether! evolution! is! explainable!
simply! in! terms! of! genetic! drift! (the! “neutral”! theory).! …!
[S]uppose!that!Ibrahim!like!Deborah!values!both!tenacity!with!
respect! to! one’s! position! along! with! keeping! an! open! mind.!
Ibrahim!is!committed!to!the!neutral!theory!of!evolution!on!the!
grounds! that! it! can! offer! new! insights! into! the! evolution! of!
sexual! reproduction! in! eukaryotic! organisms,! which! remains!
somewhat! of! a! mystery! in! the! context! of! a! more! traditional!
account! of! evolution.! However,! because! he! also! values! being!
open-minded,! he! does! not! carry! his! tenacity! to! a! vicious!
extreme.!He!is!willing!to!concede!to! Deborah’s! arguments!for!
the!traditional!view,!provided!that!they!are!cogent!and! closer!
to! the! truth! than! the!neutral! theory.! He! is! even! willing! to!
completely!abandon!his!own!account!of!evolution!if!it!does!not!
stand!up!to!the!traditional!account!of!evolution,!but!not!to!the!
point!of!simply!abandoning!his!position!without! putting! up! a!
serious!defense!of!his!own!views.!(MacPherson,!2013,!pp.!3-4)!
!
According!to!MacPherson,!this!case!shows!the!main!elements!of!IP.!First,!
in! this! case,! there! is! a! clash! of! argumentative! values.! On! one! hand,!
Ibrahim! values! the! tenacity! with! respect! to! his! own! position! given!
increasing! evidence! in! the! scientific! literature! supporting! the! neutral!
theory.! On! the! other! hand,! he! considers! it! important! to! keep! an! open!
mind! so! that! he! recognizes! arguments! that! could! defeat! his! position.!
None! of! these! argumentative! values! are! endorsed! to! an! extreme!
position! making! them! a! vice.! That! is,! Ibrahim! neither! defends! his!
position!to!the!point!of!becoming!dogmatic,!nor!is!he!as!open-minded!as!
to!accept!any!kind!of!argument!against!his!point!of!view.!Secondly,!given!
that! the! virtue! argumentation! theory! does! not! provide! criteria! for!
valuing!an!argumentative!value!over!another,!Ibrahim!cannot,!with!the!
virtue! argumentation! approach,! decide! whether! to! prefer! to! be!
tenacious! defending! his! position! or! to! be! open-minded! to! recognize!
possible!defeaters!against!his! theoretical!weaknesses.! Finally,!if! one!of!
the!values!under!conflict!had!to!be!preferred!over!the!other,!extra!virtue!
theoretical! elements! should! be! used,! such! as! if! Ibrahim! would! have!
preferred!to!stay!open-minded!because!of!the!utilitarian!criterion!of!the!
progress! of! science,! or! if! he! would! have! chosen! to! be! tenacious!
defending!his!view!because!he!believes!there!is!a!moral!responsibility!to!
defend!a!neutral!theory!of!evolution.!
To! clarify! IP’s! second! aspect,! MacPherson! recalls! that! Cohen!
grounds! argumentative! virtues! on! cognitive! achievements! as! the!
understanding! and! improvement! of! one’s! own! position,! the!
abandonment! of! a! standpoint! for! a! better! one,! the! understanding! and!
appreciation!of!the!opponent’s!position,!and!so!on.!In!this!sense,!“open-
mindedness! is! an! argumentative! virtue! grounded! in! the! cognitive!
Douglas!Niño!and!Danny!Marrero!
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achievement!of! more!deeply! appreciating!other! points!of! view.!On! the!
other! hand,! tenacity! is! an! argumentative! virtue! grounded! in! the!
cognitive! achievement! of! entitlement! to! one’s! own! position”!
(MacPherson,! 2013,! p.! 5).! Consequently,! MacPherson! interprets! that!
Cohen!claims!that!we!should!be!virtuous!agents!because!it!leads!to! the!
attainment!of!important!cognitive!ends!“that!are!universal!and!regarded!
as!important! by! all! human! beings”.! The! problem! for!Cohen! is! that! his!
cognitive!achievements! are!not! necessarily!universal.!For! instance,!the!
deepened! appreciation! of! another’s! position! might! be! different! for!
different! individuals.! Additionally,! the!cognitive! achievements!
suggested!by!Cohen!can!conflict! with!each!other.! This!takes!us! back!to!
the!lack!of!criteria!for!resolving!conflicts!of!argumentative!values.!
!
4.!AN!AGENTIVE!RESPONSE!TO!THE!INCOMPLETENESS!PROBLEM!
!
Our!working!hypothesis!is!that!a!theory!of!argumentation!clarifying!the!
cognitive!agendas!of!the!agents!arguing!not!only!provides!a!response!for!
IP,! but! also! shows! the! virtues! of! argumentation! in! agents’! cognitive!
enterprises.! Our! inspiration! comes! from! the! theory! of! fallacies! as!
cognitive! virtues! of! Dov! Gabbay! and! John! Woods! (2009),! more!
precisely,!from!their!multi-volume!of!Practical!Logic!of!Cognitive!Systems!
(2003;!2005;! Woods,!2013).! Shortly,!from!this! view,!some! fallacies!are!
cognitive! virtues! when! they! meet! the! conditions! of! resolution! of! the!
agenda,!or!agendas,!an!agent!is!disposed!to!close!or!advance.!To!clarify,!
an!agent!is!an!entity!with!capacity!for!acting!and!the!objective!he/she!is!
trying!to!obtain!is!his/her!agenda!(Gabbay!&!Woods,!2003,!pp.!183-185;!
pp.! 195-219;! Niño,! 2015,! p.!39).1!According! to! Dov! Gabbay! and! John!
Woods,! there! are! two! factors! that! determine! the! different! types! of!
cognitive!agents!(2005,!p.!11).!Firstly,!there!is!the!degree!of!command!of!
resources! (time,! information! and! computational! capability)! an! agent!
needs!to!advance!or!close!his/her!agendas.!Secondly,!is!the!height!of!the!
cognitive!bar!that! the!agent!has! set!for!him/herself.!With! this!in!mind,!
Gabbay! and! Woods! incorporate! a! hierarchical! approach! to! agency.! It!
postulates! a! hierarchy! in! which! agents! are! placed! in! light! of! their!
interests!and!their!capacities.!In!this!model,!individuals!would!be!placed!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1!There! is! a! remarkable! difference! between! Gabbay! and! Woods’s! and! Niño’s!
approaches.!While! in!Gabbay!and!Woods’s!proposal,!the!agenda! is!understood!
as!the!aim!plus!the!plan!for!its!realization,!in!Niño’s!account,!the!agenda!is!just!
the! objective,! and! it! is! distinguished! from! its! conditions! of! resolution.! As! a!
consequence,! while! in! the! former,! if! something! is! not! planned,! it! is! not! an!
agenda,! in! the! latter,! everything! that! appears! as! an! aim! for! an! agent,! either!
deliberately!planned!or!not,!is!recognized!as!an!agenda.!
An!agentive!response!to!the!incompleteness!problem!
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towards! the! bottom! of! the! hierarchy! and! theoretical! agents! would! be!
higher!up.!While!individuals!“perform!their!cognitive!tasks!on!the!basis!
of! less! information! and! less! time! than! they! might! otherwise! like! to!
have”,!theoretical!agents!“can! wait!long!enough! to!make!a! try!for!total!
information,!and!they! can!run! the!calculations! that!close! their!agendas!
both!powerfully!and!precisely”!(2005,!pp.!11-12).!
The! standard! of! exigency! for! determining! the! precision! of! a!
response!changes!in!each!case:!a!major!precision!involves!more!specific!
information! or! more! strict! reasoning! methods.! This! is! why! it! is!
exaggerated! to! call! for! inductive! standards! (sampling,! probabilities!
calculus,! etc.)! for! practical! agendas! of! practical! agents! such! as! us.! For!
instance,! whereas! in! the! traditional! view! the! arrival! to! a! generic!
proposition!such!as!tigers!are!striped,!from!the!fact!that!one!has!seen!a!
striped! tiger! would! be! considered! a! fallacy,! in! Gabbay! and! Woods!
approach,!this!reasoning!is!considered!as!a!real!cognitive!virtue!because!
without! a! reasoning! of! this! kind,! our! species! would! have! been! not!
survived!(2009,!p.!86).!On!the!contrary,!inductive!standards!are!exigible!
to! theoretical! agents! such! as! NASA! who! have! a! great! amount! of! time,!
information!and!computational!capacity.!
Let!us!examine!MacPherson’s!response!to!IP.!In!his!words:!
!
Suppose!Ibrahim! finds!out! that! his!research! proposal!for! the!
[Natural!Sciences! and!Engineering! Research!Council! (NSERC)!
of! Canada]! defending! the! neutral! theory! of! evolution! has! a!
good! chance! of! being! short-listed! since! there! is! increased!
interest! in! the! scientific! community! regarding! the! neutral!
theory.!Then! it! may!be!in! his!best!interest! to! pursue!tenacity!
with! respect! to! his! own! theory! and! to! focus! less! on! being!
open-minded! with! respect! to! defenses! of! traditional!
evolutionary! theory.! If! Ibrahim’s! project! is! funded,! he! can!
employ!graduate!students!to!help!out!with!the!research!along!
with! bringing!prestige! to! his! institution,! and! it! may! advance!
significantly!the!field!of!evolutionary!theory.!(…)!
!
For! MacPherson,! the! conflict! among! virtues! (open-mindedness! vs.!
tenacity)! is! solved! when! one! keeps! in! mind! Ibrahim’s! agendas.!
However,!MacPherson!takes!for!granted!what!an! agent!is,!particularly,!
an!agent!who!is!a!biologist!researcher.!Certainly,!his!discussion!is!about!
the!conflict!among!virtues,!but!it!is!important!to!establish!how!an!agent!
adopts!certain! goals!or! entertain! certain! interests! and! not! others.!The!
social!role! of!a! scientist!in! his/her! community! implies!that!in! order!to!
advance! a! hypothesis! he/she! should! take! into! account! theoretical!
factors!such!as!simplicity,!consilience!and!coherence!(cf.!Thagard,!1978;!
Lipton,! 2004),! compacity,! falsiability,! and! consequences! on! other!
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hypotheses.! Considering! all!those! factors! is! part! of! the! standard! of!
exigency! and! precision! a! good! scientist! should! take! into! account.! In!
MacPherson’s!example,!Ibrahim!does!not!contemplate!all!those!factors,!
but!he!can!choose!tenacity!because,!among!other!things,!he!can!fund!his!
research! and! bring! prestige! to! his! university.! Thus,! some! relevant!
theoretical! considerations! are! not! taken! into! account.! Ibrahim’s!
consideration,!instead,!seems!to!be!advantageous!for!the!institutional!or!
administrative!community,!but!it!does!not!seem!evident!that!it!is!so!for!
the! scientific! community.! On! the! contrary,! this! would! imply! giving!
priority!to!some!agendas!related!to!other!roles,!rather!than!the!one!he!is!
supposed! to! fulfill.! The! point! here! is! not! only! to! keep! in!mind! the!
agendas!an! agent!has! at!any! moment,!but! also!if!this! agent!adopts! the!
agendas! (and! their! standards)! he/she! should! have! adopted! at! each!
moment!and!how!he/!she!behaves!up!to!it.!
Notice!that!in!certain!social!roles!(i.e.,!being!a!lawyer,!a!medical!
doctor,!a!biological!researcher,!etc.)!the!exigible!standard!for!closing!the!
agendas! is! established! socio-historically.! To! illustrate,! the!
determination! of! a! certain! body! temperature! as! fever! requires! two!
exigency! and! precision! standards! if! the! agent! is! Jimmy’s! father! or!
Jimmy’s! pediatrician.! In! this! sense,! an! agent! performance! evaluation!
relates! the! efficiency! and! effectiveness! of! the! deployment! of! his/her!
cognitive! resources! in! reference! to! the! standard! that! his/her! agendas!
demand! for! their! proper! closure.!When! an! agent! accepts! or! adopts! a!
social!role!(or!at!least,!when!it!is!imputable!to!him/her),!it!is!exigible!to!
him/her! that! his/her! performance! meets! those! standards.! This! shows!
that!in!order! to!behave!properly,!the!agent! needs!to!align! his/her!own!
agendas! to! the! agendas! specified! by! the! role! he/she! is! supposed! to!
embody.!When!this!is!the!case!and!the!agent!systematically!succeeds!in!
achieving! those! role-related! agendas,! with! their! socially! standardized!
levels!of! exigency! and! precision,! the!agent! is! not!only! skillful,!but!also!
virtuous.!
!
5.!CONCLUSION!
!
To! conclude,! from! our! view,! an! agent! is! an! entity! with! capacity! for!
acting,! which! means,! to! have! agendas! and! to! try! to! carry! them! out!
according! to! the! resources! at! his/her! disposal.! Someone! is! a! virtuous!
agent!-in!the!sense! of!being!doxastically!reliable! -!when,!under!his/her!
actual!circumstance,!systematically!and!successfully!uses!the!resources!
at!his!disposal!as!a!means!of!adjustment!and!compensation!in!order!to!
obtain!his/her!agendas!in!the!best!way.!The!evaluation!of!“the!best!way”!
occurs!as!a!relationship!to!the! exigency!and!precision!the!standards!of!
the! agendas! that! are! intended! (or! should! be! intended)! to! close!
An!agentive!response!to!the!incompleteness!problem!
!
741!
!
according!to!the!roles!he/she!embodies,!and!this!involves!another!type!
of! virtuosity:! doxastic! responsibility.! This! implies,! in! itself,! also! to!
choose! which! agendas! to! give! priority,! and! accordingly,! this! involves!
that!he/she!should!align!her!personal! agendas!with!those!imposed!and!
expected!by!the!role.!
!
!
REFERENCES!
!
Aberdein,!A.!(2010).!Virtue!in!Argument.!Argumentation,!24,!165179.!
Cohen,!D.,!(2007).!Virtue!epistemology!and!argumentation!theory.!In!H.Hansen!
&! C.! Tindale! (Eds.),! Dissensus! &! The! Search! for! Common! Ground.!
Proceedings! of! the! 7th! International! Conference!of! the! Ontario! Society!
for!the!Study!of!Argumentation!(OSSA),!Windsor,!6-9!June!2007,!(pp.!1-
9).!
http://scholar.uwindsor.ca/ossaarchive/OSSA7/papersandcommenta
ries/29/!
Gabbay!D.,!&!Woods,!J.!(2003).!Agenda!relevance:!A!study!of!formal!pragmatics.!
A!practical!logic!of!cognitive!systems,!Vol.!1.!Amsterdam:!Elsevier.!!
Gabbay! D.,! &! Woods,! J.! (2005).! The! reach! of! abduction:! Insight! and! trial.! A!
practical!logic!of!cognitive!systems,!Vol.!2.!Amsterdam:!Elsevier.!
Gabbay,! D.,! &! Woods,! J.! (2009)! Fallacies! as! cognitive! virtues.! In! O.! Majer,! A.!
Pietarinen!&!T.!Tulenheimo!(Eds.),!Games:!Unifying!logic,!language!and!
philosophy!(pp.!57-98).!Dordrecht:!Springer.!
Lipton,! P.! (2004).! Inference! to! the! best! explanation.!London/New! York:!
Routledge.!
MacPherson,!B.!(2013).!The!incompleteness!problem!for!a!virtue-based!theory!
of! argumentation.! In! D.! Mohammed! &! M.! Lewiński! (Eds.),! Virtues! of!
Argumentation.!Proceedings!of!the!10th!International!Conference!of!the!
Ontario!Society!for!the!Study!of!Argumentation!(OSSA),!Windsor,!22-26!
May!2013,!(pp.!1-8).!
http://scholar.uwindsor.ca/ossaarchive/OSSA10/papersandcomment
aries/111/!
Niño,! D.! (2015).! Elementos! de! semiótica! agentiva.! Bogotá:! Universidad! Jorge!
Tadeo!Lozano.!
Thagard,!P.!(1978).!The!best!explanation:!Criteria!for!theory!choice.!The!Journal!
of!Philosophy,!75,!76-92.!
Woods,! J.! (2013)! Errors! of! reasoning:! Naturalizing! the! logic! inference.! Milton!
Keynes:!College!Publications.!!
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Book
Full-text available
Se puede decir que la pregunta central de cualquier propuesta semiótica es en qué consiste la significación. Y cada una de estas propuestas, con variaciones de muy diverso grado, ofrece una respuesta a dicha pregunta. Por mencionar solo tres casos, por ejemplo, para el enfoque estructuralista (de De Saussure a Fontanille, pasando por Hjelmslev, Barthes, Eco, Greimas y Klinkenberg) la significacion se establece por medio de estructuras, esto es, sistemas de oposiciones entre unidades minimas, cuya union (“manifestacion” en sus terminos) genera signos y enunciados. Para el enfoque cognitivo la significacion (particularmente de P.A Brandt y L. Brandt) se establece en redes de espacios mentales en un espacio semiotico de base. Para el enfoque peirceano la significacion se establece mediante la actualizacion de condiciones de interpretabilidad fundamentada (cf. Short, 2007). Otras propuestas como la culturalista de Iuri Lotman o la de la biosemiotica tambien ofrecen sus propias explicaciones sobre en que consiste fundamentalmente la significacion. En este libro queremos proponer un enfoque alternativo, que hemos denominado “agentivo”: aquí la significación se establece –o más precisamente, emerge– en la relación agente-agenda, es decir, la relación entre un ente que hace y el tipo de resultado (u objetivo) al que ‘apunta’ dicho agente mediante su acción. A partir de esta tesis general, la propuesta agentiva lleva a una serie de tesis diferenciales: primero, la significación propiamente dicha es una actividad que realiza un agente; y en consecuencia, segundo, la significación no es algo que pueda encontrarse en eso que se ha llamado enunciados (lingüísticos, visuales, etc.) u objetos (de diseño o no): los signos y los objetos no significan nada, porque ‘significar’ es una actividad; y por tanto, tercero, si se pudiese hablar de la significación de los enunciados o de los objetos, esto sería legítimo sólo en un sentido derivado o ampliado; y así, cuarto, la reflexión sobre los signos es un punto de llegada y no de partida para la reflexión semiótica. Por el contrario, el punto de partida está vinculado a las preguntas sobre qué son los agentes y las agendas, cómo se constituyen y en qué condiciones el despliegue de la capacidad para actuar (agencia) permite la circulación de sentido. Finalmente, si la significación se genera en cuando un agente trata de alcanzar sus objetivos, y los objetivos se pueden cumplir de forma parcial, deficiente, suficiente o totalmente, esto implica que se pueden ofrecer criterios de corrección para evaluar cuándo dicha significación es o no correcta (por ejemplo, en la detección de errores).
Book
This book proposes that a logic of human inference, as it actually takes place in real life, would benefit from a circumspect alliance with the empirical sciences of cognition. It also shows why the fallacies project for logic has been an enduring failure
Article
In this paper I explore the prospects of applying inference to the Best Explanation (TIBE - sometimes also known as 'abduction') to an account of the way we decide whether to accept the word of others (sometimes known as 'aliens'). IBE is a general account of non- demonstrative or inductive inference, but it has been applied in a particular way to the management of testimony. The governing idea of Testimonial IBE (TIBE) is that a recipient of testimony ('hearer') decides whether to believe the claim of the informant ('speaker') by considering whether the truth of that claim would figure in the best explanation of the fact that the speaker made it.
Chapter
In its recent attention to reasoning that is agent-based and target-driven, logic has re-taken the practical turn and recovered something of its historic mission. In so doing, it has taken on in a quite general way a game-theoretic character, precisely as it was with the theory of syllogistic refutation in the Topics and On Sophistical Refutations, where Aristotle develops winning strategies for disputations. The approach that the present authors take toward the logic of practical reasoning is one in which cognitive agency is inherently strategic in its orientation. In particular, as is typically the case, individual agents set cognitive targets for themselves opportunistically, that is, in such ways that the attainment of those targets can be met with resources currently or forseeably at their disposal. This not to say that human reasoning is so game-like as to be utterly tendentious. But it does make the point that the human player of the cognitive game has no general stake in accepting undertakings that he has no chance of making good on. Throughout its long history, the traditional fallacies have been characterized as mistakes that are attractive, universal and incorrigible. In the present essay, we want to begin developing an alternative understanding of the fallacies. We will suggest that, when they are actually employed by beings like us, they are defensible strategies in game-theoretically describable pursuit of cognitive (and other) ends.
Virtue epistemology and argumentation theory Dissensus & The Search for Common Ground
  • D Cohen
Cohen, D., (2007). Virtue epistemology and argumentation theory. In H.Hansen & C. Tindale (Eds.), Dissensus & The Search for Common Ground. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA), Windsor, 6-9 June 2007, (pp. 1- 9). http://scholar.uwindsor.ca/ossaarchive/OSSA7/papersandcommenta ries/29/
The incompleteness problem for a virtue-based theory of argumentation Virtues of Argumentation
  • B Macpherson
MacPherson, B. (2013). The incompleteness problem for a virtue-based theory of argumentation. In D. Mohammed & M. Lewiński (Eds.), Virtues of Argumentation. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA), Windsor, 22-26 May 2013, (pp. 1-8). http://scholar.uwindsor.ca/ossaarchive/OSSA10/papersandcomment aries/111/
The reach of abduction: Insight and trial. A practical logic of cognitive systems
  • D Gabbay
  • J Woods
Gabbay D., & Woods, J. (2005). The reach of abduction: Insight and trial. A practical logic of cognitive systems, Vol. 2. Amsterdam: Elsevier.