A Model of Argumentation and Its Application in a Cooperative Expert System

Reference: P. Clark. A Model of Argumentation and its Application in a Cooperative Expert System. PhD thesis, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK, 1991.

Abstract (updated): In many domains expertise is highly complex, experts often disagree and knowledge changes with time, requiring a problem-solver not only to reach conclusions but to justify them, critique them and respond to correction from users. This thesis presents a computational model of argumentation, based on Toulmin's model, which achieves this style of interaction. In this model, the computer and expert interact to solve a problem, the system arguing its case on the basis of consistency with previous decisions and the user supplying extra knowledge which the system is unaware of. In this way, the computer is able to alert the expert to information or opinions which he or she may be unaware of and also learn, in a constrained way, from the expert in response to his or her corrections. This model is implemented and evaluated in an expert system for assisting geologists in oil exploration.

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