SSP Group Meeting
Thursday, Jan 18th, 11am-12pm
Division of Informatics, 80 South Bridge, Room E17a


Dynamics in Formal Argumentation

Daniela Carbogim

Well, I'm afraid this is my farewell talk and I think the best thing to do is to talk about the achievements of my research in the past 3 years.

But rather than just presenting the technical contributions, I'll be talking a bit about the process of developing these and turning them into a PhD thesis.

Here's the abstract of the thesis:

In this thesis we are concerned with the role of formal argumentation in artificial intelligence, in particular in the field of knowledge engineering. The intuition behind argumentation is that one can reason with imperfect information by constructing and weighing up arguments intended to give support in favour or against alternative conclusions. In dynamic argumentation, such arguments may be revised and strengthened in order to increase or decrease the acceptability of controversial positions.

This thesis studies the theory, architecture, development and applications of formal argumentation systems from the procedural perspective of actually generating argumentation processes. First, the types of problems that can be tackled via the argumentation paradigm in knowledge engineering are characterised. Second, an abstract formal framework for dynamic argumentation is proposed, based on an analysis of dynamic aspects of informal argumentation. Formal arguments in this framework are built from an underlying set of axioms, represented here as executable logic programs. Finally, an architecture for dynamic argumentation systems is defined, and domain-specific applications are systematically instantiated from this formalisation. Relevant applications are presented within different domains, thus grounding problems with very distinctive characteristics into a similar source in argumentation.

The methods and definitions described in this thesis have been assessed on various bases, including the reconstruction of informal arguments and of arguments captured by existing formalisms, the relation between our framework and these formalisms, and examples of dynamic argumentation applications in the safety-engineering and multi-agent domains.