We present the first version of the Visual Argument Structure Tool (VAST) which may be used for jointly visualising the semantic, conceptual, empirical and reasoning relationships that constitute arguments. Its primary purpose is to promote exactness and comprehensiveness in systematic thinking. The system distinguishes between concepts and the words (“names”) that may be used to refer to them. It also distinguishes various ways in which concepts may be related to one another (causation, conceptual implication, prediction, transformation, reasoning), and all of these from beliefs as to whether something IS the case and/or OUGHT to be the case. Using these elements, the system allows for formalisations of narrative argument components at any level of vagueness vs. precision that is deemed possible and/or necessary. This latter feature may make the system particularly useful for attaining greater theoretical specificity in the humanities, and for bridging the gap between the humanities and the “harder” sciences. However, VAST may also be used outside of science, to capture argument structures in (e.g.) legal analyses, media reports, belief systems, and debates.
|Publication status||Published - 16 Jul 2022|
- Argument, Causal Modelling, Logic, structural equation model, visualization