Deference, Distrust, and Delegation: Three Design Hypotheses

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Design thinking in argumentation involves speculative inquiry into alternative ways of carrying out the broad human project of becoming more reasonable. Design inquiry may or may not be accompanied by efforts at argumentation design. Engaging in intentional design of argumentation, or even just thinking about doing so, flips a perceptual switch that allows us to see many achievements of the past as the products of design and to see unsolved contemporary problems as opportunities for further innovation. Design theory can be a source of “design hypotheses”: ideas, based either on what has worked in the past or on new strands of thinking, about how argumentation could be conducted so as to produce greater overall reasonableness. A design perspective offers new ways to think about familiar problems, such as how best to incorporate expert knowledge into decisions that must be made by non experts. A design approach to the problem of expert opinion does not aim to evaluate particular arguments from expert opinion, but rather asks what resources we have in any situation, or in any homogeneous class of situations, for improving on even the general form of such arguments. A preliminary case study of the controversy over childhood vaccination is used to illustrate the embedding of design hypotheses about argumentation in durable institutional arrangements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationArgumentation Library
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameArgumentation Library
ISSN (Print)1566-7650
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1907


  • Argumentation Theory
  • Expert Opinion
  • Expert Testimony
  • Ordinary Citizen
  • Tacit Knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


Dive into the research topics of 'Deference, Distrust, and Delegation: Three Design Hypotheses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this