New experiments on reinstatement and gradual acceptability of arguments

Elfia Bezou Vrakatseli, Henry Prakken, Chris Janssen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


This paper investigates whether empirical findings on how humans evaluate arguments in reinstatement cases support the ‘fewer attackers is better’ principle, incorporated in many current gradual notions of argument acceptability. Through three variations of an experiment, we find that (1) earlier findings that reinstated arguments are rated lower than when presented alone are replicated, (2) ratings at the reinstated stage are similar if all arguments are presented at once, compared to sequentially, and (3) ratings are overall higher if participants are provided with the relevant theory, while still instantiating imperfect reinstatement. We conclude that these findings could at best support a more specific principle ‘being unattacked is better than attacked’, but alternative explanations cannot yet be ruled out. More generally, we highlight the danger that experimenters in reasoning experiments interpret examples differently from humans. Finally, we argue that more justification is needed on why, and how, empirical findings on how humans argue can be relevant for normative models of argumentation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Workshop on Nonmonotonic Reasoning
EditorsLeila Amgoud, Richard Booth
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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