Time for a Good Argument

Presented on 12 Jan at ICAART 2015

Keynote Lecturer: Chris Reed

Abstract: Argument and debate form cornerstones of civilised society and of intellectual life. Processes of argumentation run our governments, structure scientific endeavour and frame religious belief. As online interaction usurps many traditional forms of interaction and communication, we would hope to see these processes alive and well on the web. But we do not. Current mechanisms for online interaction hamper and discourage debate; they facilitate poor quality argument; and they allow fuzzy thinking to go unchecked. Meanwhile, these same online resources are increasingly being trusted and adopted with little critical reflection. To address the problem, we need new tools, new systems and new standards engineered into the heart of the internet to encourage debate, to facilitate good argument, and to promote a new online critical literacy. This is the goal of the World Wide Argument Web which brings together the architectural advances of Web 2.0 and the representational advances made by the Semantic Web research community, and unites them with new, linguistically- and philosophically- grounded models of argument such as Inference Anchoring Theory, in order to deliver a new vision of online discussion. It's time for some good argument.