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. (shrink)
Reasoning from negative evidence takes place where an expected outcome is tested for, and when it is not found, a conclusion is drawn based on the significance of the failure to find it. By using Gricean maxims and implicatures, we show how a set of alternatives, which we call a paradigm, provides the deep inferential structure on which reasoning from lack of evidence is based. We show that the strength of reasoning from negative evidence depends on how the arguer defines (...) his conclusion and what he considers to be in the paradigm of negated alternatives. If we negate only two of the several possible alternatives, even if they are the most probable, the conclusion will be weak. However, if we deny all possible alternatives, the reasoning will be strong, and even in some cases deductively valid. (shrink)
This is an introductory guide to the basic principles of constructing good arguments and criticizing bad ones. It is nontechnical in its approach, and is based on 150 key examples, each discussed and evaluated in clear, illustrative detail. The author explains how errors, fallacies, and other key failures of argument occur. He shows how correct uses of argument are based on sound argument strategies for reasoned persuasion and critical questions for responding. Among the many subjects covered are: techniques of posing, (...) replying to, and criticizing questions, forms of valid argument, relevance, appeals to emotion, personal attack, uses and abuses of expert opinion, problems in deploying statistics, loaded terms, equivocation, and arguments from analogy. (shrink)
Recent work in artificial intelligence has increasingly turned to argumentation as a rich, interdisciplinary area of research that can provide new methods related to evidence and reasoning in the area of law. Douglas Walton provides an introduction to basic concepts, tools and methods in argumentation theory and artificial intelligence as applied to the analysis and evaluation of witness testimony. He shows how witness testimony is by its nature inherently fallible and sometimes subject to disastrous failures. At the same time such (...) testimony can provide evidence that is not only necessary but inherently reasonable for logically guiding legal experts to accept or reject a claim. Walton shows how to overcome the traditional disdain for witness testimony as a type of evidence shown by logical positivists, and the views of trial sceptics who doubt that trial rules deal with witness testimony in a way that yields a rational decision-making process. (shrink)
The paper considers contemporary models of presumption in terms of their ability to contribute to a working theory of presumption for argumentation. Beginning with the Whatelian model, we consider its contemporary developments and alternatives, as proposed by Sidgwick, Kauffeld, Cronkhite, Rescher, Walton, Freeman, Ullmann-Margalit, and Hansen. Based on these accounts, we present a picture of presumptions characterized by their nature, function, foundation and force. On our account, presumption is a modal status that is attached to a claim and has the (...) effect of shifting, in a dialogue, a burden of proof set at a local level. Presumptions can be analysed and evaluated inferentially as components of rule-based structures. Presumptions are defeasible, and the force of a presumption is a function of its normative foundation. This picture seeks to provide a framework to guide the development of specific theories of presumption. (shrink)
We provide a retrospective of 25 years of the International Conference on AI and Law, which was first held in 1987. Fifty papers have been selected from the thirteen conferences and each of them is described in a short subsection individually written by one of the 24 authors. These subsections attempt to place the paper discussed in the context of the development of AI and Law, while often offering some personal reactions and reflections. As a whole, the subsections build into (...) a history of the last quarter century of the field, and provide some insights into where it has come from, where it is now, and where it might go. (shrink)
In redefining logic, philosophers need to go back to the Aristotelian roots of the subject, to expand the boundaries of the subject to include informal logic and to give up false oppositions between informal and formal logic.
The aim of this paper is to make it clear how and why begging the question should be seen as a pragmatic fallacy which can only be properly evaluated in a context of dialogue. Included in the paper is a review of the contemporary literature on begging the question that shows the gradual emergence over the past twenty years or so of the dialectical conception of this fallacy. A second aim of the paper is to investigate a number of general (...) problems raised by the pragmatic framework. (shrink)
A general outline of a theory of reasoned dialogue is presented as an underlying basis of critical analysis of a text of argument discourse. This theory is applied to the analysis of informal fallacies by showing how textual evidence can be brought to bear in argument reconstruction. Several basic types of dialogue are identified and described, but the persuasive type of dialogue is emphasized as being of key importance to critical thinking theory.
In this paper, a solution to the problem of analyzing burden of proof in argumentation is developed by building on the pioneering work of Erik C. W. Krabbe on metadialogues. Three classic cases of burden of proof disputes are analyzed, showing how metadialogue theory can solve the problems they pose. The solution is based on five dialectical requirements: (1) global burden of proof needs to be set at the confrontation stage of a dialogue, (2) there need to be special mechanisms (...) for resolving disputes about burden of proof at all four stages of the dialogue, (3) they are especially significant during the argumentation stage, where burden of proof often shifts back and forth at each move, (4) such local shifts need to be partly regulated by the global burden of proof already set, and (5) the connection between burden of proof and the speech act of making a presumption in a dialogue needs to be clarified. (shrink)
Argument invention is a method that can be used to help an arguer find arguments that could be used to prove a claim he needs to defend. The aim of this paper is to show how argumentation systems recently developed in artificial intelligence can be applied to the task of argument invention. One such system called Carneades is featured. Carneades can be used to analyze arguments, evaluate arguments, to make an argument diagram, and to construct arguments from a database. Using (...) some simple examples, the paper explains how Carneades works as a system of argument invention. (shrink)
This paper presents a speech act analysis of presumption, using the framework of a dialogue in which two parties reason together. In the speech act of presumption, as opposed to that of assertion, the burden of proof resides not on the proponent to prove, but on the respondent to rebut. Some connections of this account with nonmonotonic reasoning and informal fallacies in argumentation are explored.
This article assesses what standards of safety and certainty of diagnosis need to be met in the determination of brain death. Recent medical, legal, and philosophical developments on brain death are summarized. It is argued that epistemologically adequate standards require the finding of whole-brain death rather than destruction of the cortex. Because of the possibility of positive error in misdiagnosing death, a tutioristic approach of being on the safe side is advocated. Given uncertainties in diagnosis of so-called vegetative states like (...) the apallic syndrome, anything less than whole-brain death, especially given the present state of diagnostic capability, should not qualify as an argument for removing therapy specifically on grounds that the patient is dead. (shrink)
This article evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of arguments based on appeals to expertise. The intersection of two areas is explored: (i) the traditional argumentum ad verecundiam (literally, “appeal to modesty,” but characteristically the appeal to the authority of expert judgment) in informal logic, and (ii) the uses of expert systems in artificial intelligence. The article identifies a model of practical reasoning that underlies the logic of expert systems and the model of argument appropriate for the informal logic of the (...) argumentum ad verecundiam. (shrink)
This article outlines criteria for the evaluation of the argumentum ad hominem (argument against the person, or personal attack in argument) that is traditionally a part of the curriculum in informal logic. The argument is shown to be a kind of criticism which works by shifting the burden of proof in dialogue through citing a pragmatic inconsistency in an arguer's position. Several specific cases of ad hominem argumentation which pose interesting problems in analyzing this type of criticism are studied.
In this paper, it is shown how formal dialectic can be extended to model multi-agent argumentation in which each participant is an agent. An agent is viewed as a participant in a dialogue who not only has goals, and the capability for actions, but who also has stable characteristics of types that can be relevant to an assessment of some of her arguments used in that dialogue. When agents engage in argumentation in dialogues, each agent has a credibility function that (...) can be adjusted upwards or downwards by certain types of arguments brought forward by the other agent in the dialogue. One type is the argument against the person or argumentum ad hominem, in which personal attack on one party's character is used to attack his argument. Another is the appeal to expert opinion, traditionally associated with the informal fallacy called the argumentum ad verecundiam. In any particular case, an agent will begin a dialogue with a given degree of credibility, and what is here called the credibility function will affect the plausibility of the arguments put forward by that agent. In this paper, an agent is shown to have specific character traits that are vital to properly judging how this credibility function should affect the plausibility of her arguments, including veracity, prudence, sincerity and openness to opposed arguments. When one of these traits is a relevant basis for an adjustment in a credibility function, there is a shift to a subdialogue in which the argumentation in the case is re-evaluated. In such a case, it is shown how the outcome can legitimately be a reduction in the credibility rating of the arguer who was attacked. Then it is shown how the credibility function should be brought into an argument evaluation in the case, yielding the outcome that the argument is assigned a lower plausibility value. (shrink)
This investigation joins recent research on problems with ambiguity in two fields, argumentation and computing. In argumentation, there is a concern with fallacies arising from ambiguity, including equivocation and amphiboly. In computing, the development of agent communication languages is based on conversation policies that make it possible to have information exchanges on the internet, as well as other forms of dialogue like persuasion and negotiation, in which ambiguity is a problem. Because it is not possible to sharply differentiate between problems (...) arising from ambiguity and those arising from vagueness, obscurity and indeterminacy, some study of the latter is included. The semantic web is based on what are called ontologies, or systems of classification of concepts, shown to be useful tools for dealing with these problems. (shrink)