Journal of Philosophical Logic

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 283–312

Evaluating Dialectical Structures



This paper develops concepts and procedures for the evaluation of complex debates. They provide means for answering such questions as whether a thesis has to be considered as proven or disproven in a debate or who carries a burden of proof. While being based on classical logic, this framework represents an (argument-based) approach to non-monotonic, or defeasible reasoning. Debates are analysed as dialectical structures, i.e. argumentation systems with an attack- as well as a support-relationship. The recursive status assignment over the arguments is conditionalised on proponents in a debate. The problem of multiple status assignments arising on circular structures is solved by showing that uniqueness can be guaranteed qua reconstruction of a debate. The notion of burden of proof as well as other discursive aims rational proponents pursue in a debate is defined within the framework.


Argumentation Defeasible reasoning Non-monotonic reasoning Argumentation framework Dialectics Burden of proof 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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