, Volume 182, Issue 3, pp 349–374

A dialogue system specification for explanation


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-010-9745-z

Cite this article as:
Walton, D. Synthese (2011) 182: 349. doi:10.1007/s11229-010-9745-z


This paper builds a dialectical system of explanation with speech act rules that define the kinds of moves allowed, like requesting and offering an explanation. Pre and post-condition rules for the speech acts determine when a particular speech act can be put forward as a move in the dialogue, and what type of move or moves must follow it. A successful explanation has been achieved when there has been a transfer of understanding from the party giving the explanation to the party asking for it. The dialogue has an opening stage, an explanation stage and a closing stage. Whether a transfer of understanding has taken place is tested by a dialectical shift to an examination dialogue.


Argumentation Formal dialogue system Artificial intelligence Examination dialogue Models of explanation Scripts MOPs Scientific explanation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WindsorWindsorCanada