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Upcoming talk at The Ethics of Argumentation Speaker's Series: Reviving the Art of Munāẓara

Upcoming talk at The Ethics of Argumentation Speaker's Series: Reviving the Art of Munāẓara
Upcoming talk at The Ethics of Argumentation Speaker's Series: Reviving the Art of Munāẓara

We are excited to announce the forthcoming talk in the Ethics of Argumentation Speaker's Series, organized by Dr. Katharina Stevens and Dr. Andrew Aberdein. The talk, titled "Reviving the Art of Munāẓara: An Attempt," will be delivered by Dr. Rahmi Oruç et al. This presentation will take place on the 14th of July. Join us for a discussion on the theoretical and practical aspects of our attempt to revive the Munāẓara.


Reviving the Art of Munāẓara: An Attempt

There are three main steps to this talk. We begin with (1) a look at the place and role of ethics in Ādāb al-Baḥth wa al-Munāẓara. Munāẓara, for short, is a 700-year-old Islamic discipline that stands on three pillars: virtuous conduct (ādāb), inquiry (baḥth), and argumentation (munāẓara). A key feature of Munazara is its strict turn-taking procedure, which involves a determinate sequence of the legitimate moves available to debate contenders at various argumentative junctures. This regulatory procedure was intended and designed to ensure that contending parties approach and enact argumentation as a joint performance for moving towards Munāẓara’s goal of manifesting truth/justice (iẓhār al-haqq). In the second step, we (2) focus on the sequencing of the antagonist’s critical moves to reveal an interdependence between the agent and the procedure. We then make use of that interdependence to convey the kind of contribution Munāẓara could have in contemporary argumentation theory. Specifically, we show how recognizing sequencing as a core component in the phenomenon of argumentation pushes toward moving beyond the widely accepted dichotomy between act- and agent-based norms for the assessment of argumentation. The third step is (3) a practical proposal, or what we call a Munāẓara Engagement Model (MEM). This is a Munāẓara-inspired one-on-one dialectical model, which we offer as an alternative to contemporary competitive university debate practice. When combined, this talk’s three steps constitute the core of the ADAB project, which we shall also briefly present. We conclude by outlining the future direction for the realization of MEM and stressing the necessity for collaboration in qualitative and experimental research.


About the Ethics of Argumentation Speaker’s Series:

The speaker series aims to address the complexities and ethical aspects of argumentation. While argumentation is often seen as a fair and respectful way for people to exchange ideas, it is acknowledged that it is not always free, equal, or respectful. Social epistemologists highlight how social power affects people's ability to be heard, while political theorists study the harmful effects of propaganda. The effectiveness of argumentation in shaping beliefs is influenced by factors such as group dynamics, pre-existing beliefs, and external threats. Rhetoricians focus on persuasive arguments and their ethical use, particularly in legal advocacy. Argumentation theorists explore the impact of adversariality, cooperation, and personal traits like open-mindedness. Despite these various perspectives, there is limited interaction between different fields studying the ethics of argumentation. The speaker series aims to bridge this gap by bringing together scholars from diverse disciplines to develop argumentation ethics as an integrated, interdisciplinary research project.