Some Thoughts on Using Computers to Teach Argumentation

Kevin D. Ashley

Argumentation has become a hot topic of AI research — especially outside the United States. The last year or two have seen AI Journal special issues devoting more than 300 pages to argumentation in AI, a new series of conferences on Computational Models of Argument, and a recent Dagstuhl Perspectives Seminar on Theory and Practice of Argumentation Systems, focusing on the future of argumentation research for the semantic web, multiagent systems, social networks, and decision support in application areas. For some time before this, however, a small group of researchers has focused on using computer technology to teach humans argumentation skills, either in general or in application areas such as law, ethics, and the sciences. This research has yielded intellectual products including computational models of argumentation, techniques for integrating argumentation into human computer interfaces via argument diagrams or by engaging students in argument-making, techniques for assessing how well students learn argumentation skills, and many interesting questions.

Submitted: Feb 21, 2008

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