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Logic and Rationality; 
Disagreement and Evidence 
or why Fact-Checking Units are a Good Thing, 
even if they don’t lead u...
Fact-Checking
Isn’t this anachronistic?
Harking back to an age of experts?
Isn’t it philosophically naïve?
Especially when we consider 
politically controversial topics.
What is a fact, anyway?
Don’t ask what a fact is…
…ask what a fact does.
Or better, what you do when 
you call something a fact.
Or better, what you do when 
you call something a fact.
It’s a fact that 
the climate is changing 
and that sea levels are rising.
The climate is changing 
and that sea levels are rising.
It’s a fact that p
p
It’s a fact that most people 
in Australia have a higher 
standard of living 
than 18 years ago.
Most people 
in Australia have a higher 
standard of living 
than 18 years ago. 
http://theconversation.com/factcheck-is-p...
To show that it’s a fact that p
you show that p.
p, but it’s not a fact that p.
It’s a fact that p, but not p.
Giving Reasons
Philosophically naïve?
No
Isn’t this anachronistic?
No
Looking back to an age of experts?
No, but…
You show that something is a fact 
by giving your reasons.
We move beyond 
“he said / she said” journalism.
What about when 
Fact-Checking sites disagree?
What about areas 
of moral disagreement?
Providing reasons can help, even 
when it doesn’t lead to agreement.
It maps out the field of options.
It helps us understand each other.
We keep each other 
(and ourselves) honest.
We learn more of what 
a claim really involves.
Sometimes, it can convince.
Where can we go 
from here?
Fact-Checking sites are a start.
Support them, and support 
quality journalism 
over “he said / she said” substitutes.
Inculcate a culture 
of valuing reasons.
The more you are exposed to 
good reasoning, the more 
you’ll recognise it, and be able to produce 
great reasoning of you...
Be prepared to give your reasons, 
and be curious about the 
reasons of others.
Don’t expect to come to agreement.
But be prepared to find 
some common ground.
Thanks for listening
Any Questions?
Greg Restall 
restall@unimelb.edu.au 
consequently.org 
@consequently
Logic and Rationality; Disagreement and Evidence - Greg Restall
Logic and Rationality; Disagreement and Evidence - Greg Restall
Logic and Rationality; Disagreement and Evidence - Greg Restall
Logic and Rationality; Disagreement and Evidence - Greg Restall
Logic and Rationality; Disagreement and Evidence - Greg Restall
Logic and Rationality; Disagreement and Evidence - Greg Restall
Logic and Rationality; Disagreement and Evidence - Greg Restall
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Logic and Rationality; Disagreement and Evidence - Greg Restall

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See: http://2014.scifuture.org/?p=3030 - The resurgence of fact talk in political and public discourse — primarily seen in the rise of so-called “fact-checking” websites—is welcome phenomenon, but what does it signify, and why should we welcome it? I’ll attempt to explain how care and attention to talk of facts and reasons can play a vital role in our public discourse, even in the midst of significant differences in matters of public policy or private opinion.

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Logic and Rationality; Disagreement and Evidence - Greg Restall

  1. 1. Logic and Rationality; Disagreement and Evidence or why Fact-Checking Units are a Good Thing, even if they don’t lead us to agreement Greg Restall Science, Technology, Future · August 23, 2014
  2. 2. Fact-Checking
  3. 3. Isn’t this anachronistic?
  4. 4. Harking back to an age of experts?
  5. 5. Isn’t it philosophically naïve?
  6. 6. Especially when we consider politically controversial topics.
  7. 7. What is a fact, anyway?
  8. 8. Don’t ask what a fact is…
  9. 9. …ask what a fact does.
  10. 10. Or better, what you do when you call something a fact.
  11. 11. Or better, what you do when you call something a fact.
  12. 12. It’s a fact that the climate is changing and that sea levels are rising.
  13. 13. The climate is changing and that sea levels are rising.
  14. 14. It’s a fact that p
  15. 15. p
  16. 16. It’s a fact that most people in Australia have a higher standard of living than 18 years ago.
  17. 17. Most people in Australia have a higher standard of living than 18 years ago. http://theconversation.com/factcheck-is-poverty-on-the-rise-in-australia-17512
  18. 18. To show that it’s a fact that p
  19. 19. you show that p.
  20. 20. p, but it’s not a fact that p.
  21. 21. It’s a fact that p, but not p.
  22. 22. Giving Reasons
  23. 23. Philosophically naïve?
  24. 24. No
  25. 25. Isn’t this anachronistic?
  26. 26. No
  27. 27. Looking back to an age of experts?
  28. 28. No, but…
  29. 29. You show that something is a fact by giving your reasons.
  30. 30. We move beyond “he said / she said” journalism.
  31. 31. What about when Fact-Checking sites disagree?
  32. 32. What about areas of moral disagreement?
  33. 33. Providing reasons can help, even when it doesn’t lead to agreement.
  34. 34. It maps out the field of options.
  35. 35. It helps us understand each other.
  36. 36. We keep each other (and ourselves) honest.
  37. 37. We learn more of what a claim really involves.
  38. 38. Sometimes, it can convince.
  39. 39. Where can we go from here?
  40. 40. Fact-Checking sites are a start.
  41. 41. Support them, and support quality journalism over “he said / she said” substitutes.
  42. 42. Inculcate a culture of valuing reasons.
  43. 43. The more you are exposed to good reasoning, the more you’ll recognise it, and be able to produce great reasoning of your own.
  44. 44. Be prepared to give your reasons, and be curious about the reasons of others.
  45. 45. Don’t expect to come to agreement.
  46. 46. But be prepared to find some common ground.
  47. 47. Thanks for listening
  48. 48. Any Questions?
  49. 49. Greg Restall restall@unimelb.edu.au consequently.org @consequently

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