Formalization of the ad hominem argumentation scheme

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In this paper, several examples from the literature, and one central new one, are used as case studies of texts of discourse containing an argumentation scheme that has now been widely investigated in literature on argumentation. Argumentation schemes represent common patterns of reasoning used in everyday conversational discourse. The most typical ones represent defeasible arguments based on nonmonotonic reasoning. Each scheme has a matching set of critical questions used to evaluate a particular argument fitting that scheme. The project is to study how to build a formal computational model of this scheme for the circumstantial ad hominem argument using argumentation tools and systems developed in artificial intelligence. It is shown how the formalization built using these tools is applicable to the tasks of identification, analysis and evaluation of the central case studied. One important implication of the work is that it provides a foundational basis for showing how other argumentation schemes can be formalized. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.




Walton, D. (2010). Formalization of the ad hominem argumentation scheme. Journal of Applied Logic, 8(1), 1–21.

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