The Carneades model of argument and burden of proof

Artificial Intelligence 171 (10-15):875-896 (2007)
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Abstract

We present a formal, mathematical model of argument structure and evaluation, taking seriously the procedural and dialogical aspects of argumentation. The model applies proof standards to determine the acceptability of statements on an issue-by-issue basis. The model uses different types of premises (ordinary premises, assumptions and exceptions) and information about the dialectical status of statements (stated, questioned, accepted or rejected) to allow the burden of proof to be allocated to the proponent or the respondent, as appropriate, for each premise separately. Our approach allows the burden of proof for a premise to be assigned to a different party than the one who has the burden of proving the conclusion of the argument, and also to change the burden of proof or applicable proof standard as the dialogue progresses from stage to stage. Useful for modeling legal dialogues, the burden of production and burden of persuasion can be handled separately, with a different responsible party and applicable proof standard for each. Carneades enables critical questions of argumentation schemes to be modeled as additional premises, using premise types to capture the varying effect on the burden of proof of different kinds of questions.

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Douglas Walton
Last affiliation: University of Windsor