3. EEA & policy-making, MAR 2016

Expertise, evidence and argumentation in the context of public policy-making

3-4 March, 2016

ArgLab, New University of Lisbon, Portugal 



Evidence-based policy-making rests on three pillars that correspond to interlocking phases of the policy-making process. The first pillar is the gathering of facts and evidence, which by themselves would be useless without the second pillar, i.e., the search for causal relations between inputs and outputs. It cannot suffice to know the facts, we also need to understand them in terms of useful relational laws or regularities, which can be employed to influence other facts, so that a policy may successfully intervene on a causal structure. But these two pillars are insufficient to support a policy if the arguments used in the first two phases aren’t both objectively strong and subjectively persuasive. The argumentative perspective thus constitutes a fundamental dimension to policy-making. Addressing the relation between evidence, explanation/prediction, and argumentation, the workshop sheds light on how evidence is selected, assessed and presented to support a policy, thus combining communicative, scientific, and political considerations.


We invite up to five papers for presentation in a one-hour slot, of which 30 mins are reserved for discussion. Please submit an abstract, including author name(s) and affiliation(s), of at most 500 words on or before WEDNESDAY 16 DEC 2015 (midnight Central European Time)at https://sendtomycloud.com/TRINITY.  Contact frank.zenker@fil.lu.se should you experience any trouble with this. Expect decisions within one week. This workshop focuses on argumentative and communicative aspects of policy-making, but contributions addressing the evidence or expertise aspect may also qualify for acceptance. We look for state-of-the art contributions from any academic field that address one or more of these research questions. Contributed speakers will receive free accommodation in Lisbon for the duration of the workshop and will be reimbursed for their travel costs up to €300.


  • Anna Leuschner (Hannover University, Germany): The Epistemic Implications of Climate Change Denial: Reasons for Concern
  • Garrath Williams (Lancaster University, UK): Evidence, argumentation and the framing of policy questions
  • Karl Reinmuth (University of Flensburg, Germany): Rule evaluation in evidence-based policy-making. The role of evidence in argumentations for policy options
  • Lilian Bermejo-Luque (University of Granada, Spain): The uses of argumentative schemas as strategies for risk assessment
  • Marica Ferri (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon, Portugal): Evidence base for drugs policies: evolution and challenges
  • Martin Hinton (University of Łódź, Poland): Who are experts and what can they do?
  • Sally Jackson and Scott Jacobs (University of Illinois, USA): Argument as Expansion Around Disagreement
  • Sean Sinclair (University of Leeds, UK): How Policy-Makers Should Understand Qualitative Evidence
  • Tom Gordon (FOKUS, Fraunhofer Institute, Berlin, Germany): Argument diagramming tools for policy deliberations


Instituto de Filosofia da Nova
Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Av. de Berna, 26 – 4º Piso
1069-061 Lisboa


Expect to arrive in Lisbon for an informal dinner on the evening of March 2nd, and to leave as early as March 5th. Go to www.momondo.com and www.rome2rio.com (or similar) for travel options and discount airfare.


We have reserved a number of rooms at 50 EUR/night (single room) including breakfast at:

Hotel Zenit LISBOA ****
Av. 5 de Octubro, 11 • 1050-047 LISBOA
Tlfno: +351 21 310 2200 • Fax: +351 21 310 2209

This is where speakers and organizers stay, a 15 or so minute walk from the conference venue. The workshop budget covers accomodation for co/presenters and co/organizers from 2 MARCH (arrive) to 5 March (depart). You can chose other dates, but will have to cover any positive difference in cost, please. As a discussant or audience member, you pay directly to the hotel.

Please complete the registration form by JAN 15, 2016 to book at this rate, expecting a 15-20% markup for a double room.


Please register here and see the below for dinner attendance. To book rooms at the negotiated rate, you must register firmly by 15 JAN 2016, please. If you make your own accommodation arrangements in Lisbon, the final registration deadline is 24 FEB 2016.


Held on Friday evening, at Restaurant Ponto Final (R. Ginjal 72, 2800 Almada, +351 21 276 0743, read this). We will get there, and back, by ferry.


The workshop is organized by the project “The Trinity of Policy-Making: Evidence, Causation and Argumentation,” awarded to Carlo Martini (Helsinki, Finland), Rani Lill Anjum (As, Norway) and Frank Zenker (Lund, Sweden / Konstanz, Germany) by the Finnish Cultural Foundation (https://skr.fi/en) in cooperation with Fabrizio Macagno’s (ArgLab, IFILNOVA, Portugal) strategic project “Values and the Experience of Rational Decision Making,” funded by the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (http://www.fct.pt/).