Michael H.G. Hoffmann

Ongoing Research

Arguing--that is providing reasons for a claim, justifications for a position, or evidence for a hypothesis--is the essence of scientific activity. Arguments promote understanding when used to represent knowledge, hypotheses, explanations, or objections to claims. Arguing, however, is also a means of finding agreement in conflicts or controversies. We use arguments to justify positions: positions regarding matters of fact; norms, values, and principles; and recommendations to act. Thus, arguments are crucial for peaceful interaction in face-to-face communication and deliberation, in policy and decision making, in planning, and in sorts of cooperation. Arguments are a lingua franca, a universal language.

In order to support understanding and reflection by means of arguments, I developed since 2004 Logical Argument Mapping (LAM), a method of argument visualization.

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Diagrammatic reasoning is reasoning by means of those external representations that allow, in particular, to visualize the relational structure of reasoning. Although the term attracted only recently greater attention in computer science and cognitive science, its most fruitful discussion, I would argue, can still be found in the writings of Charles Peirce.

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The objective of the AGORA project is to develop an interactive web technology that makes both deliberation and the analysis of positions and controversies more effective and efficient. This web tool focuses on visualizing the structure of positions and underlying belief-value systems.

To read more, and to access AGORA-net, click here.

The mission of the Philosophy of / as Interdisciplinarity Network is to find a niche within the broad field of interdisciplinarity studies by combining two directions of activities: on the one hand, philosophical inquiry into problems regarding the practices and theories of interdisciplinary research in the style of traditional philosophy of science and, on the other, initiating a new philosophical practice of reflective and reflexive engagement in the world -- one that questions and overcomes the boundaries that have constituted philosophy as a discipline in the 20th century. In this second direction philosophers leave the study and enter the field, integrating their work with scientists, engineers, and policy makers.

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