CFA: Formal Models of Deliberation and Polarization

Submission deadline: December 1, 2019

Conference date(s):
April 6, 2021 - April 7, 2021

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

VU Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Topic areas


Formal Models of Deliberation and Polarization, Amsterdam, 2—3 April 2020



In recent years, the public sphere has become increasingly polarized. The political climate in the US and European countries like the UK grows ever more polarized and extremist, with parties from opposite sides of the spectrum being increasingly incapable of constructive debate and compromise. More scientifically-oriented cases of polarization include public opinions on climate change and vaccination. Social media is thought to play an important role in accelerating the polarization of our society, by creating epistemic bubbles where people are only confronted with information that is in line with their beliefs.

These examples shed some doubt on whether deliberation brings about epistemic benefits such as consensus or correctness. This leads to the idea that deliberation should be qualified or abandoned. There is a growing literature that addresses these issues using formal models of deliberation (Betz, 2013; Hegselmann & Krause, 2002; Olsson, 2013; Zollman, 2007). During the workshop, we would like to investigate and discuss models of argumentation and deliberation that can help identify the conditions under which deliberation does yield epistemic benefits, and those under which it fails to do so.

The workshop will take place at VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The exact location and details about the program will be announced soon.


·        Gregor Betz (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany)

·        Hein Duijf (VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

·        Catarina Dutilh Novaes (VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

·        Davide Grossi (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

·        Erik Olsson (Lund University, Sweden)

·        Carlo Proietti (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

·        Dunja Šešelja (Technical University Eindhoven, The Netherlands)

·        Emily Sullivan (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)

·        Alice Toniolo (University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom)


We are glad to announce that there are a few slots available for contributed talks. We welcome interdisciplinary submissions from philosophy, artificial intelligence, computer science, economics, social sciences and other disciplines, that are suitable for a 40-minute presentation (plus 20-minute Q&A) and that use or relate to formal models, in general, or computational models, in particular. Submissions should be sent in the form of a 500 words abstract that will be reviewed by members of the Philosophy Department at the VU Amsterdam. Abstracts should be submitted at the following email-address: sea [dot] vu [dot] erc [at] gmail [dot] com, with the subject line “Workshop submission”. The deadline for submissions is 1 December 2019. You will be notified of the decisions by 5 January 2020. We regret to inform that we are not able to offer travel funding or accommodation to successful applicants.


Prof. Catarina Dutilh Novaes

Dr. Hein Duijf, postdoctoral researcher

If you have any questions, please contact us at: sea [dot] vu [dot] erc [at] gmail [dot] com, with the subject line “Workshop question”.

This workshop is part of the ERC-project “the Social Epistemology of Argumentation” led by Prof. Catarina Dutilh Novaes at the VU Amsterdam.

It may be of interest to highlight that there will be another workshop on a similar topic at the University of Amsterdam on 30 March – 1 April, organised by Carlo Proietti and Prof. Sonja Smets.

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