1943 On the farm

1943 On the farm


When I was a little boy we moved to a farm from the city. It was all new to me. Cows, pigs, horses, chickens were all new acquaintances. I began to notice sounds, smells, and many new experiences. We had a “swimming pool” on our farm – though my step-father called it a cow tank.

I noticed over a period of time, that every morning the rooster would crow and then the sun would rise. Every day the same events: crowing rooster followed by sunrise. I came to believe that the rooster’s crowing caused the sun to rise. After all I had lots of facts to draw on to establish “evidence”.

But then one night for supper Mom served chicken. It was good but kinda tough.

The next morning there was no crowing rooster!

But the sun came up. Causal relation destroyed. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc.

And if you get inspired then consider:

Call for participants: 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.


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