Argument invention from first principles
Competitive debaters often find themselves facing a challenging task - how to debate a topic they know very little about, with only minutes to prepare, and without access to books or the Internet? What they often do is rely on”first principles”, commonplace arguments which are relevant to many topics, and which they have refined in past debates. In this work we aim to explicitly define a taxonomy of such principled recurring arguments, and, given a controversial topic, to automatically identify which of these arguments are relevant to the topic. As far as we know, this is the first time that this approach to argument invention is formalized and made explicit in the context of NLP. The main goal of this work is to show that it is possible to define such a taxonomy. While the taxonomy suggested here should be thought of as a”first attempt” it is nonetheless coherent, covers well the relevant topics and coincides with what professional debaters actually argue in their speeches, and facilitates automatic argument invention for new topics.