© 2013

Debate Dynamics: How Controversy Improves Our Beliefs


  • Uses a highly innovative and original research method: multi-agent simulation of controversial debate

  • Addresses both the practical and theoretical implications of truth- and consensus-conduciveness of controversial argumentation

  • Is accessible to a wide audience, including scholars with no background in philosophy

  • Relates to striving fields in philosophy, i.e. judgement aggregation, social epistemology, simulation of opinion dynamics


Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 357)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Gregor Betz
    Pages 1-31
  3. Why DoWe Agree? On the Consensus-Conduciveness of Controversial Argumentation

  4. How DoWe Know? On the Truth-Conduciveness of Controversial Argumentation

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 247-255

About this book


Is critical argumentation an effective way to overcome disagreement? And does the exchange of arguments bring opponents in a controversy closer to the truth? This study provides a new perspective on these pivotal questions. By means of multi-agent simulations, it investigates the truth- and consensus-conduciveness of controversial debates.

The book brings together research in formal epistemology and argumentation theory. Besides its consequences for discursive practice, the work may have important implications for philosophy of science and the way we construe scientific rationality, as well.


Argumentation Debate Consensus Debate Controversy Debate Simulation Debate Truth Debate

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1., Institute of PhilosophyKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

About the authors

Gregor Betz is a Junior professor in Philosophy of Science at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. With a background in philosophy, mathematics and political sciences, he has held positions at Universität Stuttgart and Freie Universität Berlin. His research interests span philosophy of science, argumentation theory, applied ethics and the interpretation of classic philosophers.

Bibliographic information