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Call for papers:

Argument and Computation – special issue on Argumentation for Consumers of Healthcare

Abstracts due May 15, 2012
Full papers due September 1, 2012.

Topics include but are not limited to computationally-oriented treatments of:

  • Theories of argumentation for health system design,
  • Persuasion for health-behavior change or health management,
  • Negotiation with patients about treatment regimens,
  • Lay-oriented justification of diagnosis or proposed medical interventions,
  • Effective risk communication and meeting other patient education needs via argumentation,
  • Argument source attributes, e.g., establishing credibility and trust,
  • Argument medium attributes, e.g., engagement and immediacy through interaction with conversational agents or multimodal systems,
  • User modeling, i.e., leveraging computational models of the message recipient’s (initial or evolving) attitudes for content selection and presentation design,
  • Assistance for consumers in finding and evaluating evidence, possibly conflicting, in the medical literature or with respect to direct-to-consumer medical advertisements,
  • Tools for training health professionals in argumentation theory and practice,
  • Argumentation-theory based tools for training patients and consumers in critical thinking.

For more information see call for papers for special issue on
the journal’s web site:  http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/tarc

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The program for the University of Windsor symposium on Psychology, Emotion and the Human Sciences is now available at http://www.thehumansciences.com/programme/.  Registration should be available in a few days.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: AILACT @ the APA Eastern Division, December 28-30, 2011, Washington, DC
Deadline: July 31

We are now accepting proposals on any relevant topic for the Association for Informal Logic and Critical Thinking (AILACT) session to be held in conjunction with this year’s Eastern Division meetings of the APA.  Papers, papers-with-commentators, author-meets-critics, and panel discussions are all welcome. Send proposals or abstracts to dhcohen@colby.edu by July 31.

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Scientific American: Winning Argument: As a ‘New’ Critique of Reason, Argumentative Theory Is Trite but Useful.

In recent posts here on RAIL I’ve been upfront about my tendency to like Mercier and Sperber’s work. Critical discussion of it, however, is still valuable and this short article in Scientific American by John Horgan is an accessible, if somewhat ambivalent gesture in that direction.

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Apollo and the Muses by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1533

The world of those who study argument and who study reason and rationality is abuzz with talk of the provocative research of Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber. Anyone who was at last week’s OSSA conference heard their names in practically every other conversation or presentation. For my own part I’m not sure quite what to make of their work.  On the one hand it’s exciting to see argument and reason brought together in empirical research, and I’m well on record as being very friendly to the notion that argument has a very deeply rooted functionality for human beings at both the collective and individual levels. On the other hand, I’m not sure that there aren’t grave problems lurking within. For one, Mercier and Sperber seem at times to work from the assumption that ‘argument’ means ‘deductive argument’ and if this is so, I’m not at all sure that it is wise.  The body of work on analogy alone would give me pause regarding the prospects of such a view, to say nothing of the work of the informal logic movement in the last 30 years.  There are other things that trouble me, but as I’m still doing research in this general idea I’ll try to save myself what might turn out to be a super-sized helping of crow and leave the reader to their own devices where Messrs. Mercier and Sperber are concerned.

At any rate there’s no denying it’s relevance to the world of argumentation theory.  In that vein this video interview with Hugo Mercier is one that I expect will be of interest to many.  The interview is located at the web journal* Edge, itself worth a look to those with an interest in interdisciplinary intellectual discourse.

*(All apologies to those of you who thought that by ‘Edge’ I was referring to an Irish fellow–though I confess I probably would have watched that interview with interest too.)

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CMNA X

The 10th International Workshop on
Computational Models of Natural Argument
in association with ECAI 2010

www.cmna.info/CMNA10

16 August 2010
Lisbon, Portugal

AIMS AND SCOPE

The series of workshops on Computational Models of Natural Argument is continuing to attract high quality submissions from researchers around the world since its inception in 2001. Like the past editions, CMNA 10 acts to nurture and provide succor to the ever growing community working on Argument and Computation, a field developed in recent years overlapping Argumentation Theory and Artificial Intelligence.

AI has witnessed a prodigious growth in uses of argumentation throughout many of its subdisciplines: agent system negotiation protocols that demonstrate higher levels of sophistication and robustness; argumentation-based models of evidential relations and legal processes that are more expressive; groupwork tools that use argument to structure interaction and debate; computer-based learning tools that exploit monological and dialogical argument structures in designing pedagogic environments; decision support systems that build upon argumentation theoretic models of deliberation to better integrate with human reasoning; and models of knowledge engineering structured around core concepts of argument to simplify knowledge elicitation and representation problems. Furthermore, benefits have not been unilateral for AI, as demonstrated by the increasing presence of AI scholars in classical argumentation theory events and journals, and AI implementations of argument finding application in both research and pedagogic practice within philosophy and argumentation theory.

The workshop focuses on the issue of modelling “natural” argumentation. Naturalness may involve, for example, the use of means which are more visual than linguistic to illustrate a point, such as graphics or multimedia; or the use of more sophisticated rhetorical devices, interacting at various layers of abstraction; or the exploitation of “extra-rational” characteristics of the audience, taking into account emotions and affective factors.

Contributions are solicited addressing, but not limited to, the following areas of interest:

  • The characteristics of natural arguments: ontological aspects and cognitive issues.
  • The use of models from informal logic and argumentation theory, and in particular, approaches to specific schools of thought developed in informal logic and argumentation.
  • Rhetoric and affect: the role of emotions, personalities, etc. in models of argumentation.
  • The roles of licentiousness and deceit and the ethical implications of implemented systems demonstrating such features.
  • The linguistic characteristics of natural argumentation, including discourse markers, sentence format, referring expressions, and style.
  • Persuasive discourse processing (discourse goals and structure, speaker/hearer models, content selection, etc.).
  • Language dependence and multilingual approaches.
  • Empirical work based on corpora looking at these topics are especially welcomed.
  • Non-monotonic, defeasible and uncertain argumentation.
  • Natural argumentation and media: visual arguments, multi-modal arguments, spoken arguments.
  • Models of argumentation in multi-agent systems inspired by or based upon theories of human argument.
  • Empirically driven models of argument in AI and Law.
  • Evaluative arguments and their application in AI systems (such as decision support and advice giving).
  • Issues of domain specificity, and in particular, the independence of argumentation techniques from the domain of application.
  • Applications of computer supported collaborative argumentation, in realistic domains in which argument plays a key role, including pedagogy, e-democracy and public debate.
  • Applications of argumentation based systems, including, for example, the pedagogical, health-related, political, and promotional.
  • Methods to better convey the structure of complex argument, including representation and summarisation.
  • Tools for interacting with structures of argument, including visualisation tools and interfaces supporting natural, stylised or formal dialogue.
  • The building of computational resources such as online corpora related to argumentation.

PROGRAMME COMMITTEE

Workshop co-chairs:
Chris Reed, University of Dundee, UK
Floriana Grasso, University of Liverpool, UK
Nancy Green, University of North Carolina Greensboro, USA

This year’s programme committee is to be confirmed, but will be similar to the PC for 2009:

Leila Amgoud, IRIT, France
Katie Atkinson, University of Liverpool, UK
Guido Boella, University of Turin, Italy
Karl Branting, The MITRE Corporation, Hanover, MD
Giuseppe Carenini, University of British Columbia, Canada
Chrysanne DiMarco, University of Waterloo, Canada
Tom Gordon, Fraunhofer FOKUS, Berlin, Germany
Marco Guerini, FBK-IRST, Trento, Italy
Helmut Horacek, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken Germany
Anthony Hunter, University College London, UK
David Moore, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK
Fabio Paglieri, ISTC-CNR, Rome, Italy
Vincenzo Pallotta, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Cécile Paris, CSIRO, Sydney, Australia
Paul Piwek, Open University, UK
Henry Prakken, Universities of Utrecht and Groningen, The Netherlands
Sara Rubinelli, University of Lucerne, Switzerland
Patrick Saint-Dizier, IRIT-CNRS, Toulouse, France
Oliviero Stock, ITC-IRST, Trento, Italy
Doug Walton, University of Windsor, Ontario
Simon Wells, University of Dundee, UK
Adam Wyner, King’s College, London, UK

SUBMISSIONS

The workshop encourages submissions in three categories:

  • Long papers, either reporting on completed work or offering a polemic discussion on a burning issue (up to 10 pages)
  • Short papers describing work in progress (up to 5 pages)
  • Demonstration of implemented systems: submissions should be accompanied by written reports (up to 3 pages). Authors should contact the organisers to ensure suitable equipment is available.

It is highly recommended to submit papers using the final camera-ready formatting style specified in the ECAI style guide (except for the number of pages) available at http://ecai2010.appia.pt/

Paper submission will be handled by the Easychair conference system: please visit http://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=cmna10

Deadline for long papers submission:   9 May  2010
Deadline for short papers submission:  6 June 2010
Notification to authors:              14 June 2010
Camera-ready version:                 26 June 2010

CMNA 10:                     Monday 16 August 2010

Authors of accepted papers will be invited to submit a revised version for the Routledge/Taylor & Francis journal, Argument and Computation.

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Apparently the gang over at Less Wrong think so, and they’ve got a paper that backs them up.  From the blog:

Mercier and Sperber argue that, when you look at research that studies people in the appropriate settings, we turn out to be in fact quite good at reasoning when we are in the process of arguing; specifically, we demonstrate skill at producing arguments and at evaluating others’ arguments.

Interesting stuff, especially given that by ‘argument’ here Mercier and Sperber, the paper’s authors, intend the attempt to persuade, not to rationally convince.  In a nutshell, their contention is that we reason better when we are trying to persuade others to adopt our point of view. Conversely, when we aim at the truth we do worse at being reasonable.  Hmmm.  🙂

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