Reflective Argumentation

Title: Reflective Argumentation
Format: Working Paper
Publication Date: 2008
Publisher Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Public Policy
Description: Theories of argumentation usually focus on arguments as means of persuasion, finding consensus, or justifying knowledge claims. However, the construction and visualization of arguments can also be used to clarify one’s own thinking and to stimulate change of this thinking if gaps, unjustified assumptions, contradictions, or open questions can be identified. This is what I call "reflective argumentation." The objective of this paper is, first, to clarify the conditions of reflective argumentation and, second, to discuss the possibilities of argument visualization methods in supporting reflection and cognitive change. After a discussion of the cognitive problems we are facing in conflicts—obviously the area where cognitive change is hardest—the second part will, based on this, determine a set of requirements argument visualization tools should fulfill if their main purpose is stimulating reflection and cognitive change. In the third part, I will evaluate available argument visualization methods with regard to these requirements and talk about their limitations. The fourth part, then, introduces a new method of argument visualization which I call Logical Argument Mapping (LAM). LAM has specifically been designed to support reflective argumentation. Since it uses primarily deductively valid argument schemes, this design decision has to be justified with regard to the goals of reflective argumentation. The fifth part, finally, provides an example of how Logical Argument Mapping could be used as a method of reflective argumentation in a political controversy.
Ivan Allen College Contributors:
Citation: Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Public Policy. Publisher's Site.
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  • School of Public Policy