Artificial Intelligence and Law

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 177–239 | Cite as

How to make and defend a proposal in a deliberation dialogue



In this paper it is shown how tools developed in argumentation theory and artificial intelligence can be applied to the development of a new dialectical analysis of the speech act of making a proposal in a deliberation dialogue. These tools are developed, modified and used to formulate dialogue pre-conditions, defining conditions and post-conditions for the speech act of making a proposal in a deliberation dialogue. The defining conditions set out what is required for a move in a dialogue to count as the making of a proposal by one of the parties. What is required are the conditions that (1) the move fit the requirements of the argumentation scheme for practical reasoning, and (2) the premises are propositions describing common goals of both parties or propositions that they reasonably consider means to achieve these goals. The analysis goes beyond the standard speech act approach by specifying not only the normative requirements for making a well-formed proposal, but also the requirements for responding to it by questioning or criticizing it, and the requirements for defending it.


argumentation schemes artificial intelligence critical questions electronic democracy formal dialogue systems practical reasoning profiles of dialogue 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aakhus, M. (2005). The Act and Activity of Proposing in Deliberation, paper presented at the ALTA Conference, August, 2005.Google Scholar
  2. Anonymous (no author given) (2005). Weight Ranking on Schools Can Hurt, The Advertiser, September 21, 2005, p. 17Google Scholar
  3. Aristotle (1928). Nicomachean Ethics, in The Works of Aristotle Translated into English, ed. Ross, W. D., Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Aristotle (1939). Topics, trans. E. S. Forster, Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Atkinson, K. (2005). What Should We do? Computational Representation of Persuasive Argument in Practical Reasoning. Ph.D. Thesis, Liverpool, University of Liverpool.Google Scholar
  6. Atkinson, K., Bench-Capon, T., and McBurney, P. (2004). Justifying Practical Reasoning. In Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument (CMNA 2004), 87–90. ECAI 2004, Valencia, SpainGoogle Scholar
  7. Atkinson, K., Bench-Capon, T., and McBurney, P. (2004a). PARMENIDES: Facilitating Democratic Debate, Electronic Government. In Traunmuller, R. (ed.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS), 3183. Third International Conference on eGovernment (EGOV 2004), DEXA 2004, Zaragoza, Spain.Google Scholar
  8. Atkinson, K., Bench-Capon, T., and McBurney, P. (2004b). A Dialogue Game Protocol for Multi-Agent Argument over Proposals for Action. In Rahwan, I., Moraitis, P., and Reed, C. (eds.), Argumentation in Multi-Agent Systems, 149–161. Springer: Berlin.Google Scholar
  9. Atkinson, K., Bench-Capon, T., and McBurney, P. (2005). Agent Decision Making Using Argumentation About Actions, Technical Report ULCS-05–006. Computer Science Department: University of Liverpool.Google Scholar
  10. Atkinson, K., Bench-Capon, T., and McBurney, P. (2005a). Persuasive Political Argument. In Grasso, F., Reed, C., and Kibble, R. (eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument (CMNA 2005), 44–45. Edinburgh, ScotlandGoogle Scholar
  11. Bach, K. (1998). Speech Acts. In Craig, E. (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available at:
  12. Barnes J. (1980). Aristotle and the Methods of Ethics. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 34:490–511Google Scholar
  13. Bratman M. (1987). Intention, Plans and Practical Reason. Cambridge Mass, Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  14. Bratman M. E., Israel D. J., Pollack M. E. (1988). Plans and Resource-bounded Practical Reasoning. Computational Intelligence 4:349–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Burke, N. (2005). Weight Watch Plan to Provide Details of a Child’s Fitness, The Advertiser, September 17, 2005, p. 2.Google Scholar
  16. Fisher R., Ury W., Patton B. (1983). Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In. New York, Penguin BooksGoogle Scholar
  17. Gordon T. F. (1995). The Pleadings Game: An Artificial Intelligence Model of Procedural Justice. Dordrecht, KluwerGoogle Scholar
  18. Gordon, T. F. and Karacapilidis, N. (1997). The Zeno Argumentation Framework. In Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, 10–18. Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  19. Gordon T. F., Richter G. (2002). Discourse Support Systems for Deliberative Democracy. In: Traunmuller R., Lenk L. (eds), eGovernment: State of the Art and Perspectives (EGOV). Aix-en-Provence, Springer Verlag, pp. 248–255Google Scholar
  20. Gordon, T. F. and Walton, D. (2005). Critical Questions in Computational Models of Legal Argument, International Workshop on Argumentation in Artificial Intelligence and Law, 103–111. IAAIL Workshop Series, Wolf Legal Publishers.Google Scholar
  21. Hamblin C. L. (1970). Fallacies. London, MethuenGoogle Scholar
  22. Hamblin C. L. (1987). Imperatives. Oxford, BlackwellGoogle Scholar
  23. Hitchcock D. (2002). Pollock on Practical Reasoning. Informal Logic 22:247–256Google Scholar
  24. Hitchcock, D., McBurney, P., and Parsons, P. (2005). A Framework for Deliberation Dialogues, Argument and Its Applications. In Hansen, H. V., Tindale, C. W., Blair, J. A., and Johnson, R. H. (eds.) (2001), Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA 2001). Also available on Peter McBurney’s web page (2005) at the University of Liverpool, Department of Computer Science:
  25. Horty J., Belnap N. D. (1995). The Deliberative Stit: A Study of Action, Omission, Ability, and Obligation, Journal of Philosophical Logic. Journal of Philosophical Logic 24:583–644MATHMathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hulstijn, J. (2000). Dialogue Models for Inquiry and Transaction. Ph.D. Thesis, Universiteit Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  27. Jonsen A. R., Toulmin S. (1989). The Abuse of Casuistry. Berkeley, University of California PressGoogle Scholar
  28. Kauffeld, F. J. (1995). The Persuasive Force of Arguments on Behalf of Proposals, Amsterdam, SicSat, Analysis and Evaluation. In Proceedings of the Third ISSA Conference on Argumentation, Vol. 2.Google Scholar
  29. Kauffeld F. J. (1998). Presumptions and the Distribution of Argumentative Burdens in Acts of Proposing and Accusing. Argumentation 12:245–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Krabbe E. C. W. (1999). Profiles of Dialogue. In: Gerbrandy J., Marx M., de Rijke M., Venema Yde (eds), JFAK: Essays Dedicated to Johan van Benthem on the Occasion of his 50th Birthday. Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, pp. 25–36Google Scholar
  31. Krabbe E. C. W. (2005). Fundamental Circularities in the Theory of Argumentation. In: Hitchcock D. (eds), The Uses of Argument: Proceedings of a Conference at McMaster University 18–21 May, 2005. Hamilton, Ontario, pp. 286–294Google Scholar
  32. Lascher E. L. (1999). The Politics of Automobile Insurance Reform: Ideas, Institutions, and Public Policy in North America. Washington, Georgetown University PressGoogle Scholar
  33. Paglieri F., Castelfranchi C. (2005). Arguments as Belief Structures. In: Hitchcock D. (eds), The Uses of Argument: Proceedings of a Conference at McMaster University 18–21 May, 2005. Hamilton, Ontario, pp. 356–367Google Scholar
  34. Pollock J. L. (1994). Justification and defeat. Artificial Intelligence 67: 377–407Google Scholar
  35. Pollock J. L. (1995). Cognitive Carpentry. Cambridge, Mass, The MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  36. Prakken, H., Reed, C., and Walton D. (2005). Dialogues about the Burden of Proof. In Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, 115–124, Held June 6–11, 2005. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): Bologna, Italy, New York.Google Scholar
  37. Reed, C. (1998). Dialogue Frames in Agent Communication. In Demazeau, Y. (ed.), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Multi-Agent Systems, 246–253. IEEE Press.Google Scholar
  38. Reed C., Norman T. J. (2003). Argumentation Machines: New Frontiers in Argument and Computation. Dordrecht, KluwerGoogle Scholar
  39. Reed, C. and Rowe, G. (2002). Araucaria: Software for Puzzles in Argument Diagramming and XML, Technical Report, Department of Applied Computing, University of Dundee. Available at
  40. Reed, C. and Rowe, G. (2002). Araucaria, Version 3, User Manual. Available at
  41. Reed, C. and Walton, D. (2003). Diagramming Argumentation Schemes and Critical Questions. In van Eemeren, F. H., Blair, A.J., Willard C. A., and Henkemans, F. S. (eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation, 881–885. Amsterdam: Sic Sat.Google Scholar
  42. Searle J. (1969). Speech Acts. Cambridge, Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  43. Searle J. (2001). Rationality in Action. Cambridge, Mass, The MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  44. Segerberg K. (1984). Towards an Exact Philosophy of Action. Topoi 3:75–83MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Singh M. P. (1999). A Semantics for Speech Acts. Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence 8:47–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Singh M. P. (1997). Commitments in the Architecture of a Limited, Rational Agent. In: Cavedon L. (eds), Intelligent Agents Systems: Theoretical and Practical Issues. Berlin, Springer, pp. 72–87Google Scholar
  47. Vreeswijk G. A. W. (1997). Abstract Argumentation Systems. Artificial Intelligence 90:225–279MATHMathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. von Wright G. H. (1972). On So-Called Practical Inference. Acta Sociologica 15:39–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Walton, D. (1990). Practical Reasoning: Goal-Driven, Knowledge-Based, Action-Guiding Argumentation. Rowman & Littlefield: Savage, Maryland.Google Scholar
  50. Walton D. (1990a). What is Reasoning? What is an Argument?. Journal of Philosophy 87:399–419MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Walton, D. (1996) Argumentation Schemes for Presumptive Reasoning. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, N.JGoogle Scholar
  52. Walton D. (1998). The New Dialectic: Conversational Contexts of Argument. University of Toronto Press: TorontoGoogle Scholar
  53. Walton D. (2003). Is There a Burden of Questioning?. Artificial Intelligence and Law 11:1–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Walton, D. (2004). Criteria of Rationality for Evaluating Democratic Public Rhetoric. In Fontana, B., Nederman, C. J., and Reimer, G. (eds.), Talking Democracy University Park, 295–330. Penn Sate Press.Google Scholar
  55. Walton, D. (2005). Evaluating Practical Reasoning. In Proceedings of the Conference on Norms, Knowledge and Reasoning in Technology Held at Huis Elzendaal, Boxmeer, the Netherlands, June 3–4, 2005. Eindhoven, Technical University of Eindhoven.Google Scholar
  56. Walton, D. and Godden, D. (2005). The Nature and Status of Critical Questions in Argumentation Schemes, The Uses of Argument. In Hitchcock, D. and Farr, D. (eds.), Proceedings of a Conference at McMaster University, 476–484. Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation.Google Scholar
  57. Walton D., Krabbe E. (1995). Commitment in Dialogue. Albany, State University of New York PressGoogle Scholar
  58. Wooldridge M. (2000). Reasoning about Rational Agents. Cambridge Mass, The MIT PressMATHGoogle Scholar
  59. Wooldridge M. (2002). MultiAgent Systems. Chichester, WileyGoogle Scholar
  60. Yankelovich, D. (1992). A Widening Expert/Public Opinion Gap, 20–27, Challenge, May–June, 1992.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of WinnipegWinnipegCanada

Personalised recommendations