Invited graduate course at the University of Potsdam, Campus Griebnitzsee

Bart Verheij, September 2016

Logical Reasoning as Argumentation, Or: How Lessons from the Law Are Changing Artificial Intelligence

Toulmin proposed to study logical reasoning as lawyers do: as argumentation. In this course, it is shown how Toulmin's research program is progressing. Indeed, by the interdisciplinary study of formal models, computational tools and real arguments, we today have a better understanding of the nature of argumentation. It is argued that, interestingly, argumentation also inspires new techniques that are changing artificial intelligence.

Lecture 1: Argumentation and Artificial Intelligence

An overview is given of how ideas from argumentation theory have been picked up in artificial intelligence. The focus will be more on general ideas and approaches, and less on formal detail.

Lecture 2: Argumentation in the law: case-based and rule-based

In the law, argumentation is central. Two kinds of argument-based reasoning are prominent. In the first kind, precedent cases are followed by analogy; in the second, rules are applied when their conditions are fulfilled.

Lecture 3: Argumentation and evidence: Combining arguments, scenarios and probabilities

For deciding about the facts in a criminal case, different normative frameworks aiming at the prevention of erroneous reasoning have been proposed: arguments, scenarios and probabilities. The normative frameworks are characterized and their relations investigated, for instance by discussing how arguments and scenarios can be studied using Bayesian networks.

Literature and further reading

  • van Eemeren, F.H., Garssen, B., Krabbe, E.C.W., Snoeck Henkemans, A.F., Verheij, B., & Wagemans, J.H.M. (2014). Chapter 11: Argumentation and Artificial Intelligence. Handbook of Argumentation Theory. Dordrecht: Springer. details pdf
  • Verheij, B. (2014). To Catch a Thief With and Without Numbers: Arguments, Scenarios and Probabilities in Evidential Reasoning. Law, Probability & Risk 13, 307-325. details pdf
  • Verheij, B., Bex, F.J., Timmer, S., Vlek, C., Meyer, J.J., Renooij, S., & Prakken, H. (2016). Arguments, Scenarios and Probabilities: Connections Between Three Normative Frameworks for Evidential Reasoning. Law, Probability & Risk 15, 35-70. details pdf
  • Poor Man's Watson