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Logic and dialectic

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Formal scientists have attempted to combine formal logic (the science of deductively valid inferences or of logical truths) and dialectic (a form of reasoning based upon dialogue of arguments and counter-arguments) through formalisation of dialectic. These attempts include pre-formal and partially formal treatises on argument and dialectic, systems based on defeasible reasoning, and systems based on game semantics and dialogical logic.


Since the late 20th century, European and American logicians have attempted to provide mathematical foundations for dialectic through formalisation,[1]: 201–372  although logic has been related to dialectic since ancient times.[1]: 51–140  There have been pre-formal and partially-formal treatises on argument and dialectic, from authors such as Stephen Toulmin (The Uses of Argument, 1958),[2][3][1]: 203–256  Nicholas Rescher (Dialectics: A Controversy-Oriented Approach to the Theory of Knowledge, 1977),[4][5][1]: 330–336  and Frans H. van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst (pragma-dialectics, 1980s).[1]: 517–614  One can include works of the communities of informal logic and paraconsistent logic.[1]: 373–424 


Building on theories of defeasible reasoning (see John L. Pollock), systems have been built that define well-formedness of arguments, rules governing the process of introducing arguments based on fixed assumptions, and rules for shifting burden.[1]: 615–675  Many of these logics appear in the special area of artificial intelligence and law, though the computer scientists' interest in formalizing dialectic originates in a desire to build decision support and computer-supported collaborative work systems.[6]

Dialog games[edit]

Dialectic itself can be formalised as moves in a game, where an advocate for the truth of a proposition and an opponent argue.[1]: 301–372  Such games can provide a semantics of logic, one that is very general in applicability.[1]: 314 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Eemeren, Frans H. van; Garssen, Bart; Krabbe, Erik C. W.; Snoeck Henkemans, A. Francisca; Verheij, Bart; Wagemans, Jean H. M. (2014). Handbook of argumentation theory. New York: Springer-Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-9473-5. ISBN 9789048194728. OCLC 871004444.
  2. ^ Toulmin, Stephen (2003) [1958]. The uses of argument (Updated ed.). Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511840005. ISBN 978-0521827485. OCLC 51607421.
  3. ^ Hitchcock, David; Verheij, Bart, eds. (2006). Arguing on the Toulmin model: new essays in argument analysis and evaluation. Argumentation library. Vol. 10. Dordrecht: Springer-Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-4938-5. ISBN 978-1402049378. OCLC 82229075.
  4. ^ Hetherington, Stephen (2006). "Nicholas Rescher: Philosophical Dialectics". Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2006.07.16).
  5. ^ Jacquette, Dale, ed. (2009). Reason, Method, and Value: A Reader on the Philosophy of Nicholas Rescher. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag. doi:10.1515/9783110329056. ISBN 9783110329056.
  6. ^ For surveys of work in this area see, for example: Chesñevar, Carlos Iván; Maguitman, Ana Gabriela; Loui, Ronald Prescott (December 2000). "Logical models of argument". ACM Computing Surveys. 32 (4): 337–383. CiteSeerX doi:10.1145/371578.371581. And: Prakken, Henry; Vreeswijk, Gerard (2005). "Logics for defeasible argumentation". In Gabbay, Dov M.; Guenthner, Franz (eds.). Handbook of philosophical logic. Vol. 4 (2nd ed.). Dordrecht; Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 219–318. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/978-94-017-0456-4_3. ISBN 9789048158775.