Introducing the topic for the 4th International PPE Conference: [re]framing reality
There is power in speech – that much has never been questioned. But have you ever paused and wondered why certain issues tend to always pop up in the same context or after certain trigger words? It might just be a passing thought, but those thoughts put into words influence the way we communicate with others, intentionally or not.
This way of perceiving, organizing and communicating about reality is called “framing” and its role in the modern world – and in particular in the fields of politics, philosophy and economics – is what this year’s PPE Conference at the Universität Witten/Herdecke will focus on.
In Politics, in recent years, political framing has become a heavily debated subject, playing and having played a pivotal role in elections and everyday politics all around the world. Particularly in times of resurging populism in Europe and the United States of America, it becomes a crucial strategic question in politics to have a second look at how issues are framed. “Voters cast their ballots for what they believe is right, for the things that make moral sense.” What is the role of framing when discussing political issues such as health care, equality, education or environmental policy? How does social media play into the formation of frames in people’s minds? And to which extend do politicians use frames consciously to influence voters’ decisions? These, among many others, are the questions concerning framing in politics that will be
discussed during the conference.
In economics, the topic of framing can have an enlightening effect as well. Have you ever, for example, felt the heavy load of the tax burden on your proverbial shoulders? If this is the way you think about taxation, you have, most likely, been influenced by the frames other people, maybe even politicians with a certain agenda, have used around this topic. In 1981, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman have shown that framing can affect the outcome (i.e. the choices one makes) of choice problems, to the extent that several of the classic axioms of rational choice do not hold. This for example led to their development of prospect theory as an alternative to rational choice theory. What could be the role of framing when comparing the schools of thought of Marxist economics, neoliberal economics and institutional economics?
The conference is organised by Bachelor and Master students from the fields of PPE, Management and Psychology and has the goal to attract speakers and students from around the world in the fields of Philosophy, Politics and Economics, as well as Cognitive Science, Linguistics and Psychology to learn, discuss and debate the role of framing together.