Philosophy versus Mathematical Logic

Automated computer-based reasoning, advanced as it currently is, can be notoriously difficult to explain to lay persons. One of the things we’re aiming to achieve in the SAsSY project is to come up with new methods for doing so. Here, we have recently booked our first success: we managed to make a connection between one of the currently most popular forms of computational argumentation and a type of reasoning that has been known since antiquity: Socratic discussions. The idea of Socratic discussion is to let a person commit himself to a particular statement, and then slowly guiding him towards a contradiction, basically by trying to force him to make reasoning steps that seem to follow logically from his previous position. It is this type of discussion that one also observes in more modern settings, like critical interview and court cross-examinations. We managed to use this type of discussions as a basis for an interactive (human-computer discussion-based) way of explaining a currently popular principle of argument-based automated reasoning. A paper on this has recently been conditionally accepted for one of the leading scientific journals in computational logic, although we still need to take into account some of the comments of the (anonymous) peer reviewer. We are happy with this result, and hope to report on more results in the near future…

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