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Scientific arguments in policy-making

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This paper focuses on the use of scientific insights for justifying decisions in policy-making. Because in policy-making the politician argues for a future course of action by pointing at its positive consequences, the burden of proof should concern not only the scientific arguments, but also the pragmatic arguments. We show how the political justificatory process takes place that combines the two argument types, and we propose criteria for assessing the quality of the justifications. Based on our theoretical findings, we provide a case-study analysis of the Paris Agreement on climate change in which we demonstrate how the politicians attempt to meet their burden of proof imposed by pragmatic and scientific argumentation.

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Keywords: burden of proof; policy-making; pragmatic argumentation; scientific arguments

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 25, 2019

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