Tools for resonable deliberation

The MiSt Programme

The aims of the project are to improve understanding and to develop fruitful applications ofintellectual tools for reasonable deliberation in the field of environmental assessment in strategicdecision making. By "deliberation", we refer to reasoning, argumentation, judgment, decisionmaking or negotiation, including public debate, policy making, expert judgment and board decisions.

We aim to match normative theory about reasonable deliberation and rational judgment with features of actual cases and actual processes of deliberation and decision making. Also, we will design combined packages of user heuristics, user methods and software techniques to increase the chances of reasonable deliberation and rational decisions.

The underlying theories are well known and well tested. In the form of software tools and user methods, they will be applied to cases of Swedish plants for incineration and energy production. We will generalize from case studies. To improve on reasonable deliberation, we will rely on specifications, descriptions, instructions, cases and scaffolding techniques.

The project will focus on typical situations in planning and environmental assessment practicewhere reasonable deliberation is called for, e.g. (a) Presenting a summary of a planning case and an assessment report before decision makers and different interest groups, (b) Negotiating with different planning actors and stakeholders and (c) Writing a consultation report (samrådsredogörelse).

Of our two software packages, Athena Standard relates to planning and communication in thepublic sector whereas Athena Negotiator more tends towards expert uses for analysis. The software form can widen the applicability of strategic tools for reasonable deliberation to larger groups of decision makers and make the grounds of decisions more transparent to a wider audience.

The project will coordinate with the main MIST-project and rely on its arenas and fora. Theusual channels for reasoning, argumentation, planning and decision making will also be used.


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