Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence

Volume 376 of the series Synthese Library pp 317-339


Arguably Argumentative: A Formal Approach to the Argumentative Theory of Reason

  • Sjur K. DyrkolbotnAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Utrecht University Email author 
  • , Truls PedersenAffiliated withDepartment of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen

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We propose a formal approach to the argumentative theory of reason, combining argumentation theory and modal logic in a novel way. We show that the resulting framework can be used to model important mechanisms identified by the theory, including how confirmation bias and other problematic modes of reasoning may in fact serve an important argumentative purpose that can give rise to classically sound conclusions through the process of social deliberation. We go on to suggest that the argumentative theory is based on an understanding of intelligent reasoning and rationality that sees these notions as irreducibly social, and that the argumentative theory itself provides a possible starting point in the search for new theoretical foundations based on this understanding. Moreover, we suggest that formal logic can aid in the investigation of foundational issues, and we sketch the development of an axiomatic approach to the study of rational deliberation.


Rationality Argumentation Deliberation Cognitive bias Modal logic