In argumentation theory, Dung's abstract framework provides a unifying view of several alternative semantics based on the notion of extension. In this context, we propose a general recursive schema for argumentation semantics, based on decomposition along the strongly connected components of the argumentation framework. We introduce the fundamental notion of SCC-recursiveness and we show that all Dung's admissibility-based semantics are SCC-recursive, and therefore a special case of our schema. On these grounds, we argue that the concept of SCC-recursiveness plays a fundamental role in the study and definition of argumentation semantics. In particular, the space of SCC-recursive semantics provides an ideal basis for the investigation of new proposals: starting from the analysis of several examples where Dung's preferred semantics gives rise to questionable results, we introduce four novel SCC-recursive semantics, able to overcome the limitations of preferred semantics, while differing in other respects. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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