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 we describe the impact that Walton’s conception of argumentation schemes had on AI and Law research. We will discuss developments in argumentation in AI and Law before Walton’s schemes became known in that community, and the issues that were current in that work. We will then show how Walton’s schemes provided a means of addressing all of those issues, and so supplied a unifying perspective from which to view argumentation in AI and Law.
This paper presents a methodology to design and implement programs intended to decide cases, described as sets of factors, according to a theory of a particular domain based on a set of precedent cases relating to that domain. We useDialectical Frameworks, a recent development in AI knowledge representation, as the central feature of our design method. ADFs will play a role akin to that played by Entity–Relationship models in the design of database systems. First, we explain how the factor hierarchy (...) of the well-known legal reasoning system CATO can be used to instantiate an ADF for the domain of US Trade Secrets. This is intended to demonstrate the suitability of ADFs for expressing the design of legal cased based systems. The method is then applied to two other legal domains often used in the literature of AI and Law. In each domain, the design is provided by the domain analyst expressing the cases in terms of factors organised into an ADF from which an executable program can be implemented in a straightforward way by taking advantage of the closeness of the acceptance conditions of the ADF to components of an executable program. We evaluate the ease of implementation, the performance and efficacy of the resulting program, ease of refinement of the program and the transparency of the reasoning. This evaluation suggests ways in which factor based systems, which are limited by taking as their starting point the representation of cases as sets of factors and so abstracting away the particular facts, can be extended to address open issues in AI and Law by incorporating the case facts to improve the decision, and by considering justification and reasoning using portion of precedents. (shrink)
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)
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)
Doug Walton, who died in January 2020, was a prolific author whose work in informal logic and argumentation had a profound influence on Artificial Intelligence, including Artificial Intelligence and Law. He was also very interested in interdisciplinary work, and a frequent and generous collaborator. In this paper seven leading researchers in AI and Law, all past programme chairs of the International Conference on AI and Law who have worked with him, describe his influence on their work.
The first issue of Artificial Intelligence and Law journal was published in 1992. This paper provides commentaries on nine significant papers drawn from the Journal’s second decade. Four of the papers relate to reasoning with legal cases, introducing contextual considerations, predicting outcomes on the basis of natural language descriptions of the cases, comparing different ways of representing cases, and formalising precedential reasoning. One introduces a method of analysing arguments that was to become very widely used in AI and Law, namely (...) argumentation schemes. Two relate to ontologies for the representation of legal concepts and two take advantage of the increasing availability of legal corpora in this decade, to automate document summarisation and for the mining of arguments. (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)
Trust is a natural mechanism by which an autonomous party, an agent, can deal with the inherent uncertainty regarding the behaviours of other parties and the uncertainty in the information it shares with those parties. Trust is thus crucial in any decentralised system. This paper builds on recent efforts to use argumentation to reason about trust. Specifically, a set of schemes is provided, and abstract patterns of reasoning that apply in multiple situations geared towards trust. Schemes are described in which (...) one agent, A, can establish arguments for trusting another agent, B, directly, as well as schemes that A can use to construct arguments for trusting C, where C is trusted by B. For both sets of schemes, a set of critical questions is offered that identify the situations in which these schemes can fail. (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)
The third of Berman and Hafner’s early nineties papers on reasoning with legal cases concerned temporal context, in particular the evolution of case law doctrine over time in response to new cases and against a changing background of social values and purposes. In this paper we consider the ways in which changes in case law doctrine can be accommodated in a recently proposed methodology for encapsulating case law theories, and relate these changes the sources of change identified by Berman and (...) Hafner. (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. Keywords Argumentation schemes - Abductive reasoning - Practical reasoning. (shrink)
In September 2018, the ArgDiaP association, along with colleagues from Germany and the UK, organised one of the longest and most interdisciplinary series of events ever dedicated to argumentation - Warsaw Argumentation Week, WAW 2018. The eleven-day ‘week’ featured a five day graduate school on computational and linguistic perspectives on argumentation (3rd SSA school); five workshops: on systems and algorithms for formal argumentation (2nd SAFA), argumentation in relation to society (1st ArgSoc), philosophical approaches to argumentation (1st ArgPhil), legal argumentation (2ndMET-ARG) (...) and argumentation in rhetoric (1st MET-RhET); and two conferences: on computational models of argumentation (7th COMMA conference) and on argumentation and corpus linguistics (16th ArgDiaP conference). WAW hosted twelve tutorials and eight invited talks as well as welcoming over 130 participants. All the conferences and workshops publish pre- or post-proceedings in the top journals and book series in the field. (shrink)