Philosophy Applied to Public Debate
FiloLab UGR is a Unit of Excellence at the University of Granada which works in the field of philosophy applied to different spheres of public debate.
The new advances in IT have created a social context of generalised communication in which the classic distinction between issuers and receivers is increasingly blurred. Today's public controversies are joined by different voices and perspectives every day, leaving behind —for good— the comfort, as well as the limitations, of a unique narrative. In this context, opportunities and risks abound. One of the opportunities is incorporating more voices into the collective acquis, in an attempt to render justice to increasingly complex social realities. The risks include the emptying of difficult notions such as truth, values or rationality in favour of more ductile substitutes such as post-truth, interest or opinion, which could end up disarticulating the very possibility of deliberation and rational agreement.
Claiming the role of rationality against authority arguments, against the weight of tradition or the inertia of habit, has been a touchstone of philosophical thought since its inception. However, the dominant way of understanding the exercise of reason has traditionally appealed to universal principles and values, often leading to the idea that, as it happens in matters of science or fact, there are "value experts". Standing between a monolithic conception of rationality and the mere juxtaposition of diverse opinions, today's thinking faces the challenge of making viable the rational interaction between individuals who, coming from different points of view, experience every day the need to coordinate their actions.
Objet of study
FiloLab Unit of Excellence studies the current validity and scope of notions such as truth, values or rationality in the field of public debate. In light of this analysis, it intends to propose methodological strategies to improve the quality of public debate, and to examine the suitability of such proposals through the study of specific public debates of special importance.
The Unit is structured around Philosophy, but has a marked transdisciplinary vocation. The study of public debate and controversies is based on the recognition of the field's interdisciplinarity, since this subject has been researched in various academic disciplines: epistemology, argumentation theory, law, applied ethics, linguistics, cognitive science, philosophy of the mind, philosophy of language, political theory, etc. As a research unit, FiloLab aspires to an interdisciplinary practice in which each of these disciplinary discourses incorporates the contributions of the others. Its ultimate goal is to create a coherent and systematic transdisciplinary framework, capable of generating a theoretical corpus integrating methods and discourses from diverse fields.
Aims and objectives
We aim to create a Scientific Unit of Excellence that stands out for its relevance and its scientific and social impact at national and international level. The Unit is part of the Humanities area, and more specifically, of the field of Philosophy applied to different spheres of public debate. The objective of this project is to strengthen the research capacity and the joint scientific production of its members, as well as to promote the group's international leadership and to increase its ability to attract talent.
By creating this Unit of Excellence, we pursue both theoretical and practical objectives. The former include: (1) analysing the characteristics of disagreements and the public contexts in which they take place; and (2) offering novel methodological proposals to address them, examine their value and state the conditions for their eventual resolution. As for the practical objectives, we intend to contribute to creating a more just and cohesive society by improving the quality of public argumentation and debate.