Ever since Aristotle wrote up a list of arguments in his debate manual called the Topica, philosophers and rhetoricians have provided a great many taxonomies of arguments, fallacies and other means of persuasion. The Periodic Table of Arguments (PTA) brings all these traditional accounts together in a systematic way. It offers a comprehensive overview of the various types of argument by describing them as a unique combination of three basic characteristics – form, substance, and lever.
The theoretical framework of the PTA uses clear standards for distinguishing between the types of argument and provides formal(izable) descriptions of their properties. For these reasons, the PTA is especially suitable as a point of departure for formal linguistic and computational research into the various ways in which people try to convince others of their point of view.
Apart from being an appropriate means for the analysis and evaluation of persuasive discourse, the PTA can also be used as a heuristic device for generating premises in support of any given conclusion.
The Periodic Table of Arguments is developed by Jean Wagemans, a philosopher of argument who specializes in dialectic and rhetoric. Wagemans serves as the Chair of the Department of Speech Communication, Argumentation Theory, and Rhetoric at the University of Amsterdam and coordinates the research group Language and Cognition in Argumentation (LANCAR) at the Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC). Wagemans co-authored the Handbook of Argumentation Theory (2014) and Argumentation and debate (in Dutch, 2014), publishes scientific articles, web content, and popularizing columns, and regularly appears in the media to talk about his research and to provide expert commentary on current affairs.
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