Structured Evidential Argumentation System


“SEAS is an excellent tool for structured argumentation and intuitive visualization”

“The decision-maker is able to access all information, consider the validity of the information and of the analyst, check the date of information to make well-informed decisions using all of the information that is available and ensure that the information is germane and current to the problem set at hand”

"One of the major benefits that SEAS has is that the tool for analysis is the same tool used to create product"

- J-TEC December 2003 Experiment

SEAS Use Cycle

Roughly speaking, an argument template records an analytic method as a hierarchically structured set of interrelated questions, an argument instantiates an argument template by answering the questions posed relative to a specific situation in the world, and situation descriptors characterize the type of situations for which the argument templates were designed and the specific situations that arguments address. Argument templates include discovery tools, recommended methods of acquiring information pertaining to the questions posed by the template. An analyst wanting to record an argument, selects an appropriate template given the situation, uses the discovery tools to retrieve potentially relevant information, selects that information to retain as part of the argument and records its relevance to the questions at hand, answers the multiple-choice questions by selecting those answers that bound what is known, and records the rationale for the answers selected. This structured argumentation methodology encourages a careful analysis by reminding the analyst of the full spectrum of indicators to be considered, eases argument comprehension by allowing the analyst to "drill down" along the component lines of reasoning to discover the basis and rationale of others' arguments, and invites and facilitates argument comparison by framing arguments within common structures.

The Three Waves of SEAS

We have noticed that when SEAS is deployed, the focus of the interest in SEAS goes through three stages.

Query Corporate Memory

Examine Arguments that Match the Situation

Drill Down to Component Arguments

Drill Down along Line of Reasoning

Record Answers for New Situation

Acquire Information Using Discover Tools

Record Situation before Publishing New Argument

Publish New Argument

Create Argument Summary to include in a Report

Create or Modify Argument Templates

SEAS, High SEAS, Structured Evidential Argumentation System, and SRI Early Alert System, are trademarks of SRI International.
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