Original Article


, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 203-228

First online:

Computer decision-support systems for public argumentation: assessing deliberative legitimacy

  • William RehgAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, St. Louis University
  • , Peter McBurneyAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, University of Liverpool Email author 
  • , Simon ParsonsAffiliated withDepartment of Computer and Information Science, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

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Recent proposals for computer-assisted argumentation have drawn on dialectical models of argumentation. When used to assist public policy planning, such systems also raise questions of political legitimacy. Drawing on deliberative democratic theory, we elaborate normative criteria for deliberative legitimacy and illustrate their use for assessing two argumentation systems. Full assessment of such systems requires experiments in which system designers draw on expertise from the social sciences and enter into the policy deliberation itself at the level of participants.


Argumentation Computer-mediated decisions Decision support systems