An argumentation core ontology as the centerpiece of a myriad of argumentation formats

Bart Verheij

My starting point in this position statement is that it is too ambitious to aim for the development of a single comprehensive argumentation format, for the simple reason that there are many argumentation theories around (formal and informal), all with their own sets of concepts and points of focus. In part, this is the nature of things: specific purposes and contexts ask for specific variants of argumentation theory, and hence for specific argumentation formats. Moreover, argumentation is such a complex, multidisciplinary topic with such a multifaceted history that a single overarching, comprehensive format seems to be out of reach.

Summary of recommendations

- Develop a broad argumentation core ontology in OWL using Protégé, in which only generally agreed upon concepts and conceptual relations are specified.
- Develop special purpose argumentation formats using XML technology (in particular XML Schema for argumentation formats and XSLT for translations between formats and onto ontologies).
- Base each special purpose argumentation format on the argumentation core ontology and provide a translation back into the core ontology.
- Associate special purpose argumentation formats with special purpose ontologies based on the argumentation core ontology.

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Verheij, B. (2005). An argumentation core ontology as the centerpiece of a myriad of argumentation formats. Input Agentlink Argumentation Interchange Format Technical Forum 2005. Available at

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