Fair and Unfair Strategies in Public Controversies: The Case of Induced Earthquakes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic


Contemporary theory of argumentation offers many insights about fallacies and the ways to react to them. But what if, in a public controversy, it is not a matter of occasional derailments but one party is systematically trivializing the other party’s problems or resorting to pressure in the form of threats or blackmail? Can this be countered by the tools of reason? To gain some grasp of this issue, we describe a number of strategies used in the public controversy about induced earthquakes in Groningen. We check whether these strategies are fair, i.e. balanced, transparent, and tolerant. We also investigate the effects of the choice for a particular kind of strategy. It appears that, in circumstances, choosing a fair strategy may be detrimental for resolving the controversy and choosing an unfair one beneficial. Following up ideas from social psychology and political science, we formulate some guidelines for the choice of strategies. At the end we stress the importance – especially for those who carry little weight – of having a society in which the knowledge and skills needed for assessing the fairness of strategies is widespread.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArgumentation and Reasoned Action
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 1st European Conference on Argumentation, Lisbon 2015
EditorsDima Mohammed, Marcin Lewinski
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherCollege Publications
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-1-84890-211-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event1st European Conference on Argumentation: Argumentation and Reasoned Action - Arglab, Instituto de Filosofia da Nova (IFILNOVA), Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, LIsbon, Portugal
Duration: 9-Jun-201512-Jun-2015

Publication series

NameStudies in Logic
PublisherCollege Publications


Conference1st European Conference on Argumentation


  • argumentation theory
  • strategy
  • fallacy
  • public controversy
  • (un)fairness

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