Argumentation schemes in AI: A literature review. Introduction to the special issue

Argument and Computation 12 (3):287-302 (2021)
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Argumentation schemes [1–3] are a relatively recent notion that continues an extremely ancient debate on one of the foundations of human reasoning, human comprehension, and obviously human argumentation, i.e., the topics. To understand the revolutionary nature of Walton’s work on this subject matter, it is necessary to place it in the debate that it continues and contributes to, namely a view of logic that is much broader than the formalistic perspective that has been adopted from the 20th century until nowadays. With his book Argumentation schemes for presumptive reasoning, Walton attempted to start a dialogue between three different fields or views on human reasoning – one (argumentation theory) very recent, one (dialectics) very ancient and with a very long tradition, and one (formal logic) relatively recent, but dominating in philosophy. Argumentation schemes were proposed as dialectical instruments, in the sense that they represented arguments not only as formal relations, but also as pragmatic inferences in the sense that they depend on what the interlocutors share and accept in a given dialogical circumstance and affect their dialogical relation. In this introduction, the notion of argumentation scheme will be analyzed in detail, showing its different dimensions and its defining features which make them an extremely useful instrument in Artificial Intelligence. This theoretical background will be followed by a literature review on the uses of the schemes in computing, aimed at identifying the most important areas and trends, the most promising proposals, and the directions of future research.

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Fabrizio Macagno
Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa


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