A model of argumentation and its application to legal reasoning

Artificial Intelligence and Law 4 (3-4):163-197 (1996)
Abstract
We present a computational model of dialectical argumentation that could serve as a basis for legal reasoning. The legal domain is an instance of a domain in which knowledge is incomplete, uncertain, and inconsistent. Argumentation is well suited for reasoning in such weak theory domains. We model argument both as information structure, i.e., argument units connecting claims with supporting data, and as dialectical process, i.e., an alternating series of moves by opposing sides. Our model includes burden of proof as a key element, indicating what level of support must be achieved by one side to win the argument. Burden of proof acts as move filter, turntaking mechanism, and termination criterion, eventually determining the winner of an argument. Our model has been implemented in a computer program. We demonstrate the model by considering program output for two examples previously discussed in the artificial intelligence and legal reasoning literature.
Keywords argumentation  legal reasoning  burden of proof
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