Argument-Making in the Wild

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Event starts on this day

Nov

4

2022

Event starts at this time 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Virtual & In Person (view details)
Featured Speaker(s): Simon DeDeo
Cost: Free

Description

The Fall 2022 SDS Seminar Series continues on Friday, November 4th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. with Dr. Simon DeDeo (Associate Professor in Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University). This event is in-person, but a virtual option will be available as well.

Title: Argument-Making in the Wild

Abstract: As anyone on the internet knows, we don’t just believe things—we try to convince others to believe them, too. But what kinds of arguments do people make, and what effect do they have on others? Normative constraints on argument-making are as old as philosophy itself, but little is known about the diversity of arguments made in practice. The question is not just of intrinsic interest: because arguments help define which beliefs get adopted in society, understanding the nature of winning (and losing) arguments is necessary for understanding our species’ epistemic future. In this work, we present simple, practical NLP tools to extract patterns of argument-making from the Reddit site "Change My View" (r/CMV). This reveals six distinct argument patterns: not just the familiar deductive and inductive forms, but also arguments about definitions, relevance, possibility and cause, and personal experience. Data from r/CMV also reveal differences in efficacy: arguments about causation and examples and, to a lesser extent, personal experience are most likely to shift a person's view, while arguments about relevance are the least. Finally, our methods reveal a gradient of argument-making preferences among users: a two-axis model, of "personal--impersonal" and "concrete--abstract", can account for nearly 80% of the strategy variance between individuals. Our results extrapolate to a separate discussion system, ``LessWrong’’ (lesswrong.com), with distinct affordances. At the end of the talk, I’ll present new results that show how these patterns can be applied to high-stakes “earnings call” question and answer sessions from publicly-listed companies, where company leaders are called to defend and argue for their earnings reports.

 

PAPER: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/20n240qq#main

Location

Please contact stat.admin@austin.utexas.edu for the zoom link.

RLP 0.102

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