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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Public reason is a formal concept in political theory. There is a need to better understand how public reason might be elicited in making public decisions that involve deep uncertainty, which arises from pernicious and gross ignorance about how a system works, the boundaries of a system, and the relative value (or disvalue) of various possible outcomes. This article is the third in a series to demonstrate how ethical argument analysis—a qualitative decision-making aid—may be used to elicit public reason in the presence of deep uncertainty. The first article demonstrated how argument analysis is capable of probing deep into a single argument. The second article demonstrated how argument analysis can analyze a broad set of arguments and how argument analysis can be operationalized for use as a decision-making aid. This article demonstrates (i) the relevance of argument analysis to public reasoning, (ii) the relevance of argument analysis for decision-making under deep uncertainty, an emerging direction in decision theory, and (iii) how deep uncertainty can arise when the boundary between facts and values is inescapably entangled. This article and the previous two make these demonstrations using, as an example, the conservation and sustainable use of lions.

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© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( Publisher’s version of record:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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