Mapping the Structure of Debate

Informal Logic 24 (1):1-22 (2004)
Abstract
Although debate is a richly structured and prevalent form of discourse, it has received little scholarly attention. Logicians have focused on the structure of individual arguments—how they divide into premises and conclusions, which in turn divide into various constituents. In contrast, I focus on the structure of sets of arguments, showing how arguments are themselves constituents in high-level dialectical structures. I represent debates and positions by graphs whose vertices correspond to arguments and whose edges correspond to two inter-argument relations: “dispute” and “support,” respectively. On this basis I develop a theory of the structure of debate.
Keywords debate, argumentation analysis, argument diagrams, argument visualization, dialectics, discourse analysis
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