This article gives a tutorial introduction to the ASPIC+ framework for structured argumentation. The philosophical and conceptual underpinnings of ASPIC+ are discussed, the main definitions are illustrated with examples and several ways are discussed to instantiate the framework and to reconstruct other approaches as special cases of the framework. The ASPIC+ framework is based on two ideas: the first is that conflicts between arguments are often resolved with explicit preferences, and the second is that arguments are built with two kinds of inference rules: strict, or deductive rules, whose premises guarantee their conclusion, and defeasible rules, whose premises only create a presumption in favour of their conclusion. Accordingly, arguments can in ASPIC+ be attacked in three ways: on their uncertain premises, or on their defeasible inferences, or on the conclusions of their defeasible inferences. ASPIC+ is not a system but a framework for specifying systems. A main objective of the study of the ASPIC+ framework is to identify conditions under which instantiations of the framework satisfy logical consistency and closure properties.
Within the last decade, abstract argumentation has emerged as a central field in Artificial Intelligence. Besides providing a core formalism for many advanced argumentation systems, abstract argumentation has also served to capture several non-monotonic logics and other AI related principles. Although the idea of abstract argumentation is appealingly simple, several reasoning problems in this formalism exhibit high computational complexity. This calls for advanced techniques when it comes to implementation issues, a challenge which has been recently faced from different angles. In this survey, we give an overview on different methods for solving reasoning problems in abstract argumentation and compare their particular features. Moreover, we highlight available state-of-the-art systems for abstract argumentation, which put these methods to practice.
We give an introductory tutorial to assumption-based argumentation (referred to as ABA) – a form of argumentation where arguments and attacks are notions derived from primitive notions of rules in a deductive system, assumptions and contraries thereof. ABA is equipped with different semantics for determining ‘winning’ sets of assumptions and – interchangeably and equivalently – ‘winning’ sets of arguments. It is also equipped with a catalogue of computational techniques to determine whether given conclusions can be supported by a ‘winning’ set of arguments. These are in the form of disputes between (fictional) proponent and opponent players, provably correct w.r.t. the semantics. Albeit simple, ABA is powerful in that it can be used to represent and reason with a number of problems in AI and beyond: non-monotonic reasoning, preferences, decisions. While doing so, it encompasses the expressive and computational needs of these problems while affording the transparency and explanatory power of argumentation.
Abstract argumentation frameworks (AFs) provide the basis for various reasoning problems in the area of Artificial Intelligence. Efficient evaluation of AFs has thus been identified as an important research challenge. So far, implemented systems for evaluating AFs have either followed a straight-forward reduction-based approach or been limited to certain tractable classes of AFs. In this work, we present a generic approach for reasoning over AFs, based on the novel concept of complexity-sensitivity. Establishing the theoretical foundations of this approach, we derive several new complexity results for preferred, semi-stable and stage semantics which complement the current complexity landscape for abstract argumentation, providing further understanding on the sources of intractability of AF reasoning problems. The introduced generic framework exploits decision procedures for problems of lower complexity whenever possible. This allows, in particular, instantiations of the generic framework via harnessing in an iterative way current sophisticated Boolean satisfiability (SAT) solver technology for solving the considered AF reasoning problems. First experimental results show that the SAT-based instantiation of our novel approach outperforms existing systems.
In abstract argumentation, each argument is regarded as atomic. There is no internal structure to an argument. Also, there is no specification of what is an argument or an attack. They are assumed to be given. This abstract perspective provides many advantages for studying the nature of argumentation, but it does not cover all our needs for understanding argumentation or for building tools for supporting or undertaking argumentation. If we want a more detailed formalisation of arguments than is available with abstract argumentation, we can turn to structured argumentation, which is the topic of this special issue of Argument and Computation. In structured argumentation, we assume a formal language for representing knowledge, and specifying how arguments and counterarguments can be constructed from that knowledge. An argument is then said to be structured in the sense that normally the premises and claim of the argument are made explicit, and the relationship between the premises and claim is formally defined (for instance using logical entailment). In this introduction, we provide a brief overview of the approaches covered in this special issue on structured argumentation.