Program 12th eColloq

Monday, October 6th, 2014, 4-6 pm (CET, Stockholm, Berlin Rome)

4:00-4:10 Connect

4:10-4.35 Martijn Wackers (Delft University of Technology / Leiden University, The Netherlands): Towards more evidence-based public speaking advice: the effect of summarizing in an educational presentation on audience information retention (SLIDES)

How can a public speaker make a message memorable? Public speaking textbooks offer an abundance of advice on rhetorical strategies. Tell ‘em what you told ‘em, providing a recapitulation or summary, is frequently mentioned: a corpus research into 40 public speaking textbooks published from 1980 to 2009 shows that more than half of the textbooks authors associate the summary with information retention (Besterveld, 2012). The summary also seems connected to the principle of ‘organisation’ people use to encode and memorise information (Baddeley et al., 2009).

However, public speaking advice on how to use a summary is seldom clear-cut and sometimes contradictory. To obtain more insight into the effect of a summary when used in a specific presentation context, an experiment was carried out at Delft University of Technology. To what extent can a summary enhance audience information retention and appreciation of an educational presentation?

Three versions of a short educational speech were constructed and videotaped: (1) a version without a summary altogether, (2) an ‘indicative’ version with a mere statement of the main points and (3) an ‘informative’ version with a more elaborate, content-focused summary of the speech’s main points. The versions were shown to separate, comparable audiences of students (N = 250). Afterwards, the information retention and audience appreciation of the closing statements were measured with a questionnaire containing open and multiple choice questions. A posttest was carried out three weeks after the original viewing. Results indicate that the audience’s information retention of the summarised main points and the appreciation for the speech wrap-up was higher for the informative version compared to both other versions.

References

Baddeley, A., M.W. Eysenck & M.E. Anderson (2009). Memory. Hove: Psychology Press.

Besterveld, B. (2012). “Recall too, the memorable words of Neil Armstrong…”. A research into the quantity, content and support of retention advice in English-language public speaking textbooks from 1980 to 2009. Master thesis, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University.

4:35-4.55 Group Discussion

BREAK

5.05-5.30 Jos Hornikx (Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands): Are people sensitive to high-quality arguments? The role of distraction (SLIDES)

Evidence in support of claims can be said to be of high(er) quality if it respects norms developed for argumentation schemes. Experimental work has shown that claims supported by high-quality evidence are more persuasive than claims supported by low-quality evidence. However, Hoeken and Hustinx (2007) showed that this effect was only observed in short texts (a claim with evidence), but not in longer texts (where information unrelated to the evidence was added at the end of the text). The current experiment was conducted to examine whether this effect of text length could be explained by distraction (the additional text at the end distracts the reader) or by dilution (the additional text makes the fragment less diagnostic for claim evaluation). Participants (N = 629) read two texts with high/low-quality evidence. The text was presented in three versions: short, long with additional information at the end, or – new in comparison to Hoeken and Hustinx (2007) – long with additional information at the start. The data found support for the distraction explanation: an effect of evidence quality on persuasiveness was observed in the short text, and in the longer text with additional information at the start, but not in the longer text with additional information at the end.

5:30-5.50: Group discussion

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Discussants 

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Program 11th eColloq

Monday, May 19th, 2014, 4-6 pm (CET, Stockholm, Berlin Rome)

4:00-4:10 Connect

4:10-4.55 Joseph Laronge (Trial Attorney / Adjunct Law Professor, OR, USA): A Clear Logical Argument Guaranteed (SLIDES)
Online DCIT Course, Free Coupon Code: eColloq0 (last ‘o’ in code = zero)

Abstract: Is there a simple rigorous fail-safe template to easily capture, order, and visually depict the logical relations contained within most any real-world argument? I propose that the answer to date appears to be yes. An empirically derived new categorical natural language inference theory with a supporting visual language (i.e., Defeasible Class-inclusion Transitivity, DCIT) with roots in the “New Syllogistic” term-functor logic of Fred Sommers and George Englebretsen and in robust theories of categorization has successfully met these criteria in the courtroom and the classroom since 2005.

My search for a more effective approach to teaching and learning practical argumentation was fueled by my frustration from witnessing the struggles of many of my law students and expert witness trainees in learning more advanced argumentation. My search began in earnest when a class asked me during the fifth week of a ten week training to provide a more functional explanation of the fundamental difference between a premise and a co-premise and between a linked and a convergent line of reasoning. I found my own explanations based on accepted theory and pedagogy vague and unsatisfactory to really help them meet the real-world demands of succeeding with inferences in court.

So I put the class on hold and told them that we would start over if and when I found a more straightforward and effective path to understanding argumentation. I started by analyzing hundreds of my argument maps for court and eventually saw a predictable pattern. The identical underlying natural language logical pattern or form was always present or implied. Eureka.

I would like to share with you through argument construction and reconstruction examples some of my experience and insights from the use of this simple natural language logic template for simple and complex arguments based on any mode of inference or structure (deductive, inductive, abductive, argument schemes, presumptive, monotonic, defeasible, Toulmin, etc.) [For a sample see YouTube video: “Inadequacies of Typical (tree-like) Argument Diagramming (Mapping)” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhWMVMonLR8.]

4:55-5.00 Break

5.00-5.20 David Hitchcock (McMasters, Canada): Commentary (SLIDESPAPER)

5:20-5.25: Response

5.25-5.50: Group discussion

SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS: Please send a reconstructed argument of your choice, along with at least one diagram that represents the argument-structure on or before FRIDAY 18th of March April to frank.zenker@fil.lu.se. Time permitting, your reconstruction and diagram may be used to compare it with a reconstruction in DCIT. Submitting such is not a requirement for attending the eColloq.

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Program 10th eColloq

Monday FEB 24, 2014, 4 pm CET (Central European Time, e.g., Rome, Berlin, Stockholm)

4.00-4.10 Connect, Welcome

4.10-4:35 Gregor Betz (KIT, Stuttgart, Germany): Is there a method for reconstructing natural language arguments?

Abstract: One purpose of argumentation theory is to help us to better understand, analyse and assess natural language argumentation. A theory of argumentation (e.g., deductive logic, Dung’s AFs, or Walton’s argument schemes) typically provides a formal or informal model of argumentation. To assess a piece of natural language argumentation A by means of such a theory, we have to state A in terms of the corresponding model. This process is what we call “reconstruction”. I shall outline a method of argument reconstruction and illustrate it with a complex example. I maintain that reconstruction is a principally open-ended, iterative process _that cannot be separated_ from multi-dimensional evaluation of an argumentation. It’s definitely much more than mere text annotation. I shall briefly discuss implications for argumentation software.

4:35-4:50 Discussion

4:50-5:00 Break

5:00-5:25: Michael Hoffmann (Georgia Tech, GA, USA): Designing argument visualization software as cognitive tools

Abstract: Whatever the function or intended goal of arguing is—persuasion, conflict resolution, knowledge, etc.—arguments need to be represented. A discussion of the various ways in which we represent arguments should be informed by semiotics, the theory of signs and representations. In my own contributions to semiotics—which stand in the tradition of Charles Peirce—I argued that signs do not only have a representational function, but other functions as well. Most importantly, they have an epistemic function, meaning that we use signs to (a) refer to both concrete and abstract objects, (b) structure reality or sets of objects, and (c) hypostasize (reify or construct) abstract objects. Based on such an epistemic function of signs and representations in general, I would like to pursue two things. First, I will argue that representations of arguments also have an important epistemic function: they allow us to structure relations between reasons and conclusions and contribute, thus, to the possibility of knowledge. Second, and more importantly, I would like to show how a reflection on the epistemic function of argument representations can help to design software for the visualization of arguments. Whereas an epistemic approach to argument presentation perceives those presentations as means to structure inferential relations in a very general sense, I propose to use the term “cognitive tool” when argument visualization software is conceptualized as a means for more specific purposes such as learning, discovering, and collaboration. Based on a reflection on the Peircean notion of “diagrammatic reasoning” and his argument that diagrammatic reasoning is only possible by means of representational systems that have to be developed, I will argue that those argument visualization tools are most beneficial with regard to the cognitive purposes listed above in which the number of entities available to represent arguments—in particular the number of argument schemes—is reduced as far as possible. Like in an axiomatic system, my goal is to design software tools in which the largest number of possible representations can be derived from the smallest possible number of representational means.

5:25-5:40 Discussion

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Program 9th eColloq

Thursday DEC 12, 2013, 4 pm CET (Central European Time, e.g., Rome, Berlin, Stockholm)

4.00-4.10 Connect, Welcome

4.10-4:35 Constanza Ihnen (University of Chile): Deliberation and negotiation: Grasping the difference

Abstract: Most contemporary argumentation theorists agree that fallacy judgments are context-dependent. Indeed, over the last two decades, we have witnessed a wave of attempts to characterise different types of contexts and formulate soundness conditions for the use of argumentation within each of these contexts. Among these attempts, Walton’s (1992) theory of “dialogue types” and pragma-dialectic’s (2005) approach to “genres of discourse” and “activity types” are probably the most systematic and advanced.

Both Walton and pragma-dialecticians treat “deliberation” and “negotiation” as two distinct types of contexts, characterised by an overall goal, the individual goals participants are likely to pursue, and the specific conventions that constrain argumentative discourse. In my view, these descriptions are helpful to distinguish deliberation and negotiation from a conceptual perspective, but they are insufficient to identify their occurrence in argumentative practice.

In this talk I will propose empirical criteria to identify the use of deliberation and negotiation in discourse. To this end, I will characterise them on the basis of an analysis of the felicity conditions of ‘proposals’ and ‘offers’, speech acts which are at the centre of deliberations and negotiations, respectively. My theoretical point of departure is the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation.

4:35-4:50 Discussion

4:50-5:00 Break

5:00-5:25: David Godden (Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA): Argumentation, rationality, and psychology of reasoning

Abstract: In 1987 Blair and Johnson invited informal logicians to investigate the psychology of argumentation, reasoning, and rationality. This paper contributes to this research agenda by comparing theories of argumentative rationality with the psychological dual-process theory of reasoning and rationality. After surveying each body of theory, I identify some of the assumptions characteristic of argumentative rationality. From this I argue that argumentative rationality largely corresponds with only system-2 type reasoning of dual-process theories. This, I argue, presents pressing theoretical challenges for argumentation theory if the prescriptive force of norms derives at all from their descriptive accuracy of our constitutive capacities for reasoning. To address this challenge, I explore Leite’s (2004) recommendation that the “specatorial conception” of justification and basing relations be abandoned.

5:25-5:40 Discussion

Discussants 

  • Jean Goodwin (Iowa State, USA)
  • Michael Hoffman (Georgia Tech, USA)
  • Tom Fisher (University of Houston, TX, USA)
  • Catherine Hundleby (University of Windsor, ON, Canada)
  • Marcin Lewinski (New University of Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Sune Holm Petersen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Alice Toniolo (University of Aberdeen, UK)
  • Dima Mohammed (New University of Lisbon, Portugal)

Tech-Things

Program 8th eColloq

Wednesday OCT 30, 2013, 4 pm CET (Central European Time, e.g., Rome, Berlin, Stockholm)

4.00-4.10 Connect, Welcome

4.10-4:35 Constanza Ihnen (University of Chile): Deliberation and negotiation: Grasping the difference
***RESCHEDULED TO DEC 12 DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES***

Abstract: Most contemporary argumentation theorists agree that fallacy judgments are context-dependent. Indeed, over the last two decades, we have witnessed a wave of attempts to characterise different types of contexts and formulate soundness conditions for the use of argumentation within each of these contexts. Among these attempts, Walton’s (1992) theory of “dialogue types” and pragma-dialectic’s (2005) approach to “genres of discourse” and “activity types” are probably the most systematic and advanced.

Both Walton and pragma-dialecticians treat “deliberation” and “negotiation” as two distinct types of contexts, characterised by an overall goal, the individual goals participants are likely to pursue, and the specific conventions that constrain argumentative discourse. In my view, these descriptions are helpful to distinguish deliberation and negotiation from a conceptual perspective, but they are insufficient to identify their occurrence in argumentative practice.

In this talk I will propose empirical criteria to identify the use of deliberation and negotiation in discourse. To this end, I will characterise them on the basis of an analysis of the felicity conditions of ‘proposals’ and ‘offers’, speech acts which are at the centre of deliberations and negotiations, respectively. My theoretical point of departure is the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation.

4:35-4:50 Discussion

4:50-5:00 Break

5:00-5:25: Christian Dahlman (Lund University, Sweden): Imprecise Argumentation and Pseudo-Agreements – Theory and Experimental Results

Abstract: Our research investigates how imprecise arguments give rise to pseudo-agreements. We conducted an experiment where a term in an argument was substituted with a less precise term (deprecization). Participants agreed more with the less precise version of the argument, in spite of the fact that the basis of the argument and the conclusion were the same. We explain how this ‘deprecization effect’ can give rise to pseudo-agreements, committing the fallacy of equivocation.

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5:25-5:40 Discussion

Discussants 

  • Nir Oren (University of Aberdeen, UK)
  • Fred Kauffeld (Edgewood College, University of Madison, WC, USA
  • Thomas Fischer (University of Houston, TX, USA)
  • Dima Mohammed (New University of Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Thomas F. Gordon (Fraunhofer-FOKUS, Berlin, Germany)
  • Michael Hoffmann (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA)
  • Jean Goodwin (Iowa State, USA)
  • Sune Holm Pedersen (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Sara L. Uckelman (Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg, Germany)
  • Alice Toniolo (University of Aberdeen, UK)
  • Marcin Lewinski (New University of Lisbon, Portugal)

Tech-Things

Program 7th eColloq

Thursday April 11, 4-6 pm GMT+2  (Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm–SUMMERTIME!)
Check your time zone here 

4.00-4.10 Connect, Welcome

4.10-4:35 Bart Verheij (Groningen, The Netherlands): Defeasible rule-based arguments with a logico-probabilistic foundation

Abstract: A theory of defeasible arguments is proposed that combines logical and probabilistic properties. This logico-probabilistic argumentation theory builds on two foundational theories of nonmonotonic reasoning and uncertainty: the study of nonmonotonic consequence relations (and the associated minimal model semantics) and probability theory. A key result is that, in the theory, qualitatively defined argument validity can be derived from a quantitative interpretation. The theory provides a synthetic perspective of arguments `jumping to conclusions’, rules with exceptions, and probabilities. The approach is compared to Pollock’s computational model of argumentation OSCAR, designed on the basis of his well-developed positions concerning the relations between argumentation, logic and probability. In contrast with Pollock’s OSCAR, the present approach is compatible with the standard probability calculus.

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4:35-4:50 Discussion

4:50-5:00 Break

5:00-5:25 Emmanuel J. Genot (Lund University, Sweden): The Myth of a Confirmation Bias (Arguments for a better argumentative theory of reasoning)

Abstract: Wason, confronted with an apparent instance of the Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent in his empirical Selection Task, hypothesized a “Confirmation Bias” (CB) to be responsible for subjects’ selections [4]. When Bayesian rational analysis of the selection task (RAST, [3]) substituted a richer probabilistic semantics to Wason’s truth-functional semantics, subjects’ selection emerged as being vindicated, and evidence for CB (in fact, any bias) vanished. Relevance Theorists later produced data that Bayesian models could not accommodate [1], yet without exhibiting evidence for biases of any sort. However, Relevance Theory has more recently been superseded by the Argumentative Theory of Reasoning (ATR, [2]), in which CB has returned with a vengeance, backed by an evolutionary narrative that pits “argumentative” and “logical” competences against one another. I will argue that this narrative is a remnant of the same truncated view of logic (and semantics) that informed Wason’s theorizing, but that argumentation-theoretic considerations are necessary to account for the data. To support this view, I will present a generalization of RAST that accounts for both standard and non-standard cases of ST (resp. from [3, 4] and [1]) once argumentative goals are “factored in,” but with an underlying semantics that undermines the very idea of “logical competence”—without which the CB is but a myth.

  1. Girotto, Kemmelmeier, Sperber & van der Henst. “Inept reasoners or pragmatic virtuosos? Relevance and the deontic selection task”, Cognition, 2001, 81, B69-B7
  2. Mercier & Sperber, Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2011, 34, 57-74.
  3. Oaksford & Chater. A Rational Analysis of the Selection Task as Optimal Data Selection. Psychological Review, 1994, 101, 608-631
  4. Wason, Reasoning About a Rule. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1968, 20, 273-281

DOWNLOAD SLIDES

5:25-5:40 Discussion

CANCELLED Constanza Ihnen Jory (University of Chile, Santiago): Tensions in political argumentation: between deliberative open-mindedness and representation CANCELLED

Discussants (preliminary list)

  • Nir Oren (University of Aberdeen, UK)
  • David Hitchcock (McMasters, Canada)
  • Thomas Gordon (Berlin, Germany)
  • Jean Goodwin (Iowa State, USA)
  • Iowan Drehe (University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
  • Sune Holm Petersen (Copenhagen University, Denmark)
  • Steven Patterson (Marygrove College, Detroit, USA)
  • Sarah Uckelman (Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg, Germany)
  • Marcin Lewinski (New University of Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Thomas Fischer (University of Houston, Texas, USA)

Tech-Things

Program 6th eColloq

Friday 2 Nov 2012, 4-6 pm GMT+1  (Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm)
Check your time zone here 

4.00-4.10 Connect, Welcome

4.10-4:35 Sara L. Uckelman (Tilburg, The Netherlands): Building a Formal Framework for Reasoning about Knowledge in Medieval Disputations

ABSTRACT: The 13th and 14th centuries saw the rise of a new genre of logical investigation, the disputations de obligationibus. These present interesting puzzles for formalization/reconstruction, and in this talk we look at some of the problems that arise from trying to capture certain types of epistemic reasoning in a late 14th century obligational disputation.

4:35-4:50 Discussion

4:50-5:00 Break

5:00-5:25 Davide Grossi (Liverpool, United Kingdom): On the Scope of Abstract Argumentation Theory

ABSTRACT: Abstract argumentation theory has imposed itself as one of the most influential formalisms in the non-monotonic reasoning field within Artificial Intelligence. Viewed from a mathematical point of view, however, the theory has a much broader scope of potential applications. In this talk I will try to clarify the extent to which abstract argumentation theory is *really* about argumentation showing how the theory could actually be applied to a variety of phenomena in disciplines ranging from game theory, to social choice theory, to logic and, perhaps not surprisingly, to graph theory.

5:25-5:40 Discussion

Discussants (preliminary list)

  • Michael Hoppmann (Northeastern University, USA)
  • Sune Holm Petersen (Copenhagen University, Denmark)
  • Tom Gordon (Fraunhofer FOKUS, Berlin, Germany)
  • Tom Fisher (University of Houston, Texas, USA)
  • Nir Oren (University of Aberdeen, Scotland)
  • Alice Toniolo (University of Aberdeen, Scotland)

Tech-Things