COST Action CA17132 - APPLY
European Network for Argumentation and Public Policy Analysis

(2022) “Good and Ought in Argumentation: COVID-19 as a Case Study” by Andrés Soria-Ruiz, Mora Maldonado & Isidora Stojanovic

The present paper concerns arguments whose conclusions take the form of a prescription such as you
ought to do such-and-such, which have centered much public discussion and policy since the beginning of
the COVID-19 pandemic. We aim to tackle a hitherto under-explored characteristic of many such
normative arguments, namely, the relationship between evaluative and deontic propositions, depending on
whether they occur as premises or conclusions in such arguments. In order to investigate how willing
people are to argue from what is good to what one ought to do, and the other way round, we conducted an
Inferential Judgment Experiment. Participants were presented with arguments involving deontic and
evaluative propositions, and had to judge whether they could infer the conclusion from the premise. The
stimuli that we used are tightly related to the argumentation surrounding the pandemic, regarding the
measures of preventing the spread of COVID-19. The results of the study show that there is a robust
inferential connection between evaluatives and deontics, but at the same time, a significant asymmetry as
well. We explore several theoretical approaches to the relationship between the deontic and the evaluative
realm, and test their predictions against the results of our study.



COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks. Our Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and enable scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts their research, career and innovation.

COST Action CA17132

Providing and criticising reasons is indispensable to achieve sound public policy that commands the support of both citizens and stakeholders. This need is now widely acknowledged in the recent literature and key EU documents, which highlight the perils of populist discourse and policies.

Action Contacts

Andreia Domingues - Grant Manager [CA 17132]
NOVA - FCSH | Avenida de Berna, 26 C
1069-061 Lisboa - Portugal

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