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Socratic Methods[edit]

Thanks for providing this interesting learning project. Perhaps students who are not yet ready to present arguments in the formalized style of the Wikidebate platform would like to sharpen their skills the old fashioned way, using Socratic Methods. Mention of the courses on Socratic Methods and Practicing Dialogue in the description of the Wikidebate project might be helpful. Thanks! --Lbeaumont (discusscontribs) 12:29, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

YesY Done --Sophivorus (discusscontribs) 14:17, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

Recognizing Fallacies[edit]

The course on Recognizing Fallacies can help debaters more clearly identify and describe unsound arguments. It may be helpful to mention this resource in the section on "How to object effectively." Thanks!

YesY Done Please feel free to edit the page yourself in the future! --Sophivorus (discusscontribs) 14:17, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

Explicate the Syllogism[edit]

As you point out, a sound argument is of the form: evidence -> premise -> conclusion. In natural language certain words or phrases, called “conclusion-indicators” are often used to introduce the conclusion of an argument. See: Taming Wild Fallacies

Perhaps it would be useful to provide a “macro” that marks the premise, conclusions, and supporting evidence implied by these indicator words. For example, the sentence

Because you promised to wash your car every Saturday, and today is Saturday we can conclude you have washed your car.

Would perhaps be marked as:

Because you promised to wash your car every Saturday, and today is Saturday we can conclude you have washed your car.

Where I have (quite arbitrarily) used bold to mark indicator words, underline to mark evidence, and bold underline to mark the conclusion. (Background colors might provide a more effective mark.)

The book The Logic of real arguments by Alec Fisher introduces such a markup scheme (better suited to pen and paper than text macros) that might be inspiring here.

I recognize this is an ambitious proposal that is only half baked, but it might inspire some thought and more dialogue if you are at all interested.

@Lbeaumont: I think that developing a markup macro is too difficult, because it implies a lot of natural language analysis, which is a particularly difficult thing to do. Marking "conclusion indicators" and other logical terms may be doable, but marking propositions is way, way more difficult, because they may take a myriad different forms. Natural language analysis is one of the hardest branches of computer programming, as far as I'm aware, so the benefits must be huge in order to justify the effort. Also, whatever macro we develop will only work for English, and I hope to extend Wikidebate to Spanish and other languages soon. However, a much more doable (and multilingual) approach would be to create guidelines for a markup system, and then mark up the arguments manually. What do you think? --Sophivorus (discusscontribs) 19:22, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
What I have in mind is much simpler than natural language analysis. For example, there might be a "macro" called "because" that would take two arguments, the premise and the conclusion. So, using the above example, the syllogism would be written as because(you promised to wash your car every Saturday AND today is Saturday, you have washed your car) (The "Because function" takes two arguments, the premise and the conclusion, each separated by a comma. The "AND" is another keyword in the syntax). I hope this clarifies and simplifies the proposal. --Lbeaumont (discusscontribs) 00:42, 27 November 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps these two ideas can be beneficially melded. Consider creating "markup primitives" such as: evidence(), premise_indicator(), premise(), conclusion_indicator(), and conclusion(). Each would take a text argument as input and output marked up text according to some simple markup convention. This could help clarify the structure of the argument to the reader, as well as the author. --Lbeaumont (discusscontribs) 03:49, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

@Lbeaumont: Maybe some optional parameters on the Template:Argument, so that it can be called like so:

|premise1 = All humans are mortal
|premise2 = Socrates is human<ref>Evidence</ref>
|conclusion = Socrates is mortal

I think the "evidence" is more fit for footnotes than extra parameters. What do you think? --Sophivorus (discusscontribs) 12:53, 3 December 2016 (UTC)

A different take[edit]

This edit kind of rescopes a debate to have a third "no one knows" option. Kind of an interesting change. —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:15, 3 October 2019 (UTC)