Arguement in the humanities: A knowledge based approach

Stutt, Arthur (1989). Arguement in the humanities: A knowledge based approach. PhD thesis The Open University.



In this thesis I have a threefold purpose. I will attempt: (a) to present a generic design for a tool - the Argument Support Program - which can be of use in supporting the reasoning of archaeologists (and others especially, but not exclusively, in the humanities); (b) I will present a model of argumentation and debate as the theoretical orientation within which the model is developed; and, (c) I will suggest that this approach is a natural development of several strands of research within the artificial intelligence community. A tripartite model of argument is presented in terms of arguers, the argument structure produced and the argument domain or field. This model subsumes reasoning, interpretation and argument exchange or debate. It is maintained, further, that while this model is generally applicable, specific domains have particular styles of argument. The notion of argument style is discussed in terms of the types of reasoning used. The related concept of relevance in argument is discussed in terms of the specific tokens of these types which may be used in a particular argument. It is argued that archaeology is characterized, at least in part, by the use of argument by analogy and argument from theoretical principles or models. A design for a generic program - the Argument Support Program (ASP) - based on the theoretical principles is delineated. Details of the partial implementation of the model as a constrained debater in the domain of archaeology (ASP for archaeology or ASParch) are presented. Example runs which illustrate how the characterizing features of archaeology are dealt with are also presented as are examples of the various domain and system knowledge bases needed. The application of ASPs to other domains and areas such as literary criticism, legal reasoning and Darwinian theory is discussed. In the final chapter, the achievements and inadequacies of this research are summarized, possible reasons are presented for the inadequacies in the resulting system and future directions discussed.

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