The ability to reason independently from one's own goals or beliefs has long been recognised as a key characteristic of the development of formal operational thought. In this article we present the results of a study that examined the correlates of this ability in a group of 10-year-old children ( N = 61). Participants were presented with conditional and relational reasoning items, where the content was manipulated such that the conclusion to the arguments were either congruent, neutral, or incongruent with (...) beliefs, and either logically valid or logically invalid. Participants also received a measure of working memory capacity (the counting span task) and a measure of inhibitory control (the stop signal task). Indices of belief bias and logical reasoning on belief-based problems were predicted independently by both measures. In contrast logical reasoning on belief neutral problems was predicted by working memory alone. The findings suggest that executive functions play a key role in the development of children's ability to decontextualise their thinking. (shrink)
This article reports three experiments that investigated the relationship between working memory capacity and syllogistic and five-term series spatial inference. A series of complex and simple verbal and spatial working memory measures were employed. Correlational analyses showed that verbal and spatial working memory span tasks consistently predicted syllogistic and spatial reasoning performance. A confirmatory factor analysis showed that three factors best accounted for the data--a verbal, a spatial, and a general factor. Syllogistic reasoning performance loaded all three factors, whilst spatial (...) reasoning loaded only the general factor. The implications of these findings are discussed in the context of reasoning theories and contemporary accounts of the structure of working memory. (shrink)
In some recent cases in Anglo-American law juries ruled contrary to an expert's testimony even though that testimony was never challenged, contradicted or questioned in the trial. These cases are shown to raise some theoretical questions about formal dialogue systems in computational dialectical systems for legal argumentation of the kind recently surveyed by Bench-Capon (1997) and Hage (2000) in this journal. In such systems, there is a burden of proof, meaning that if the respondent questions an argument, the proponent (...) is obliged to offer some support for it give it up. But what should happen in a formal system of dialogue if the proponent puts forward an argument and the respondent fails to critically question it, and simply moves on to another issue? Is this some kind of fault that should have implications? Should it be taken to imply that, by default, the respondent has conceded the argument? What, if anything, should be the outcome of such a failure to question in a formal dialogue system of argumentation? These questions are considered by examining some legal cases of expert opinion testimony in relation rules for formal dialectical argumentation systems. (shrink)
There is a growing interest in how people conceptualise the legal domain for the purpose of legal knowledge systems. In this paper we discuss four such conceptualisations (referred to as ontologies): McCarty's language for legal discourse, Stamper's norma formalism, Valente's functional ontology of law, and the ontology of Van Kralingen and Visser. We present criteria for a comparison of the ontologies and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the ontologies in relation to these criteria. Moreover, we critically review the criteria.
We describe PADUA, a protocol designed to support two agents debating a classification by offering arguments based on association rules mined from individual datasets. We motivate the style of argumentation supported by PADUA, and describe the protocol. We discuss the strategies and tactics that can be employed by agents participating in a PADUA dialogue. PADUA is applied to a typical problem in the classification of routine claims for a hypothetical welfare benefit. We particularly address the problems that arise from the (...) extensive number of misclassified examples typically found in such domains, where the high error rate is a widely recognised problem. We give examples of the use of PADUA in this domain, and explore in particular the effect of intermediate predicates. We have also done a large scale evaluation designed to test the effectiveness of using PADUA to detect misclassified examples, and to provide a comparison with other classification systems. (shrink)
In recent years several proposals to view reasoning with legal cases as theory construction have been advanced. The most detailed of these is that of Bench-Capon and Sartor, which uses facts, rules, values and preferences to build a theory designed to explain the decisions in a set of cases. In this paper we describe CATE (CAse Theory Editor), a tool intended to support the construction of theories as described by Bench-Capon and Sartor, and which produces executable code corresponding (...) to a theory. CATE has been used in a series of experiments intended to explore a number of issues relating to such theories, including how the theories should be constructed, how sets of values should be compared, and the representation of cases using structured values as opposed to factors. (shrink)
In this paper we describe a method for the specification of computationalmodels of argument using dialogue games. The method, which consists ofsupplying a set of semantic definitions for the performatives making upthe game, together with a state transition diagram, is described in full.Its use is illustrated by some examples of varying complexity, includingtwo complete specifications of particular dialogue games, Mackenzie's DC,and the authors' own TDG. The latter is also illustrated by a fully workedexample illustrating all the features of the game.
Reasoning with cases has been a primary focus of those working in AI and law who have attempted to model legal reasoning. In this paper we put forward a formal model of reasoning with cases which captures many of the insights from that previous work. We begin by stating our view of reasoning with cases as a process of constructing, evaluating and applying a theory. Central to our model is a view of the relationship between cases, rules based on cases, (...) and the social values which justify those rules. Having given our view of these relationships, we present our formal model of them, and explain how theories can be constructed, compared and evaluated. We then show how previous work can be described in terms of our model, and discuss extensions to the basic model to accommodate particular features of previous work. We conclude by identifying some directions for future work. (shrink)
There has been much talk of the need to build intermediate models of the expertise required preparatory to constructing a knowledge-based system in the legal domain. Such models offer advantages for verification, validation, maintenance and reuse. As yet, however, few such models have been reported at a useful level of detail. In this paper we describe a method for conceptualising legal domains as well as its application to a substantial fragment of the Dutch Unemployment Benefits Act (DUBA).We first discuss the (...) intermediate models (called expertise models), then present a three-stage method for their construction, drawing on the CommonKADS work in knowledge acquisition, conceptual models of statute law, and the KANT method of knowledge analysis. Subsequently, we describe how these techniques were applied to the DUBA, and provide detailed examples of the resulting model. Finally, conclusions on the framework and guidelines are given as well as means of recording and presenting the various design choices. (shrink)
In this paper we apply a general account of practical reasoning to arguing about legal cases. In particular, we provide a reconstruction of the reasoning of the majority and dissenting opinions for a particular well-known case from property law. This is done through the use of Belief-Desire-Intention (BDI) agents to replicate the contrasting views involved in the actual decision. This reconstruction suggests that the reasoning involved can be separated into three distinct levels: factual and normative levels and a level connecting (...) the two, with conclusions at one level forming premises at the next. We begin by summarising our general approach, which uses instantiations of an argumentation scheme to provide presumptive justifications for actions, and critical questions to identify arguments which attack these justifications. These arguments and attacks are organised into argumentation frameworks to identify the status of individual arguments. We then discuss the levels of reasoning that occur in this reconstruction and the properties and significance of each of these levels. We illustrate the different levels with short examples and also include a discussion of the role of precedents within these levels of reasoning. (shrink)
Governments and other groups interested in the views of citizens require the means to present justifications of proposed actions, and the means to solicit public opinion concerning these justifications. Although Internet technologies provide the means for such dialogues, system designers usually face a choice between allowing unstructured dialogues, through, for example, bulletin boards, or requiring citizens to acquire a knowledge of some argumentation schema or theory, as in, for example, ZENO. Both of these options present usability problems. In this paper, (...) we describe an implemented system called PARMENIDES which allows structured argument over a proposed course of action, without requiring knowledge of the underlying argumentation theory. (shrink)
In this paper, we present a particular role for abductive reasoning in law by applying it in the context of an argumentation scheme for practical reasoning. We present a particular scheme, based on an established scheme for practical reasoning, that can be used to reason abductively about how an agent might have acted to reach a particular scenario, and the motivations for doing so. Plausibility here depends on a satisfactory explanation of why this particular agent followed these motivations in the (...) particular situation. The scheme is given a formal grounding in terms of action-based alternating transition systems and we illustrate the approach with a running legal example. (shrink)
In this paper we describe an approach to practical reasoning, reasoning about what it is best for a particular agent to do in a given situation, based on presumptive justifications of action through the instantiation of an argument scheme, which is then subject to examination through a series of critical questions. We identify three particular aspects of practical reasoning which distinguish it from theoretical reasoning. We next provide an argument scheme and an associated set of critical questions which is able (...) to capture these features. In order that both the argument scheme and the critical questions can be given precise interpretations we use the semantic structure of an Action-Based Alternating Transition System as the basis for their definition. We then work through a detailed example to show how this approach to practical reasoning can be applied to a problem solving situation, and briefly describe some other previous applications of the general approach. In a second example we relate our account to the social laws paradigm for co-ordinating multi-agent systems. The contribution of the paper is to provide firm foundations for an approach to practical reasoning based on presumptive argument in terms of a well-known model for representing the effects of actions of a group of agents. (shrink)
In this paper I recapitulate the ideas of Berman and Hafner (1993) regarding the role of teleology in legal argument. I show how these ideas can be used to address some issues arising from more recent work on legal argument, and how this relates to ideas associated with the New Rhetoric of Perelman. I illustrate the points with a discussion of the classic problem of which vehicles should be allowed in parks.
In this paper we consider persuasion in the context of practical reasoning, and discuss the problems associated with construing reasoning about actions in a manner similar to reasoning about beliefs. We propose a perspective on practical reasoning as presumptive justification of a course of action, along with critical questions of this justification, building on the account of Walton. From this perspective, we articulate an interaction protocol, which we call PARMA, for dialogues over proposed actions based on this theory. We outline (...) an axiomatic semantics for the PARMA Protocol, and discuss two implementations which use this protocol to mediate a discussion between humans. We then show how our proposal can be made computational within the framework of agents based on the Belief-Desire-Intention model, and illustrate this proposal with an example debate within a multi agent system. (shrink)
In this paper I shall discuss the notion of argument, and the importanceof argument in AI and Law. I shall distinguish four areas where argument hasbeen applied: in modelling legal reasoning based on cases; in thepresentation and explanation of results from a rule based legal informationsystem; in the resolution of normative conflict and problems ofnon-monotonicity; and as a basis for dialogue games to support the modellingof the process of argument. The study of argument is held to offer prospectsof real progress (...) in the field of AI and law, and the purpose of this paperis to provide an overview of work, and the connection between the various strands. (shrink)
Hypertext and knowledge based systems can be viewed as complementary technologies, which if combined into a composite system may be able to yield a whole which is greater than the sum of the parts. To gain the maximum benefits, however, we need to think about how to harness this potential synergy. This will mean devising new styles of system, rather than merely seeking to enhance the old models.In this paper we describe our model for coupling hypertext and a knowledge based (...) system, and then go on to describe two prototype systems which attempt to exploit this composite framework. The first application concerns animated hypertext which accords the text a central role whilst giving access to all the advantages of a knowledge based system. The second suggests how we can augment the hypertext by providing links which reflect the conceptual model of a knowledge based system in the domain, so as to provide a more structured traversal of the text. (shrink)
Biologically motivated computing seeks to transfer ideas from the biosciences to computer science. In seeking to make transfers it is helpful to be able to appreciate the metaphors which people use. This is because metaphors provide the context through which analogies and similes are made and by which many scientific models are constructed. As such, it is important for any rapidly evolving domain of knowledge to have developments accounted for in these terms. This paper seeks to provide one overview of (...) the process of modelling and shows how it can be used to account for a variety of biologically motivated computational models. Certain key ideas are identified in the subsequent analysis of biological sources, notably, systemic metaphors. Three important aspects of biological thinking are then considered in the light of computer science applications: biological organization, the cell, and models of evolution. The analysis throughout the paper is descriptive rather than formalized so that a large variety of potential applications may be considered. (shrink)
This paper discusses some engineering considerations that should be taken into account when building a knowledge based system, and recommends isomorphism, the well defined correspondence of the knowledge base to the source texts, as a basic principle of system construction in the legal domain. Isomorphism, as it has been used in the field of legal knowledge based systems, is characterised and the benefits which stem from its use are described. Some objections to and limitations of the approach are discussed. The (...) paper concludes with a case study giving a detailed example of the use of the isomorphic approach in a particular application. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that to explain and resolve some kinds of disagreement we need to go beyond what logic alone can provide. In particular, following Perelman, I argue that we need to consider how arguments are ascribed different strengths by different audiences, according to how accepting these arguments promotes values favoured by the audience to which they are addressed. I show how we can extend the standard framework for modelling argumentation systems to allow different audiences to be represented. (...) I also show how this formalism can explain how some disputes can be resolved while in others the parties can only agree to differ. I illustrate this by consideration of a legal example. Finally, I make some suggestions as to where these values come from, and how they can be used to explain differences across jurisdictions, and changes in views over time. (shrink)
A framework to support ?Arguing from Experience? using groups of collaborating agents (termed participant agents/players) is described. The framework is an extension of the PISA multi-party arguing from experience framework. The original version of PISA allowed n participants to promote n goals (one each) for a given example. The described extension of PISA allows individuals with the same goals to pool their resources by forming ?groups?. The framework is fully described and its effectiveness illustrated using a number of classification scenarios. (...) The main finding is that by using groups more accurate results can be obtained than when agents operate in isolation. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss the application of a new machine learning approach – Argument Based Machine Learning – to the legal domain. An experiment using a dataset which has also been used in previous experiments with other learning techniques is described, and comparison with previous experiments made. We also tested this method for its robustness to noise in learning data. Argumentation based machine learning is particularly suited to the legal domain as it makes use of the justifications of decisions (...) which are available. Importantly, where a large number of decided cases are available, it provides a way of identifying which need to be considered. Using this technique, only decisions which will have an influence on the rules being learned are examined. (shrink)