Com­pu­ta­tion­al Ar­gu­ment­a­tion

Computational Analysis of Argumentation in Natural Language Text

Academic tutorial at the 2nd European Symposium Series on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science (EuroCSS 2018).


  • Instructors. Henning Wachsmuth, Milad Alshomary
  • Location. Cologne
  • Date. December 5, 2018


Slides of the tutorial. wachsmuth18-eurocss.pdf


People in all societies argue, not only to persuade others of their opinions, but also to resolve disputes, to obtain new insights, or to make decisions. Arguments play a major role for most societally relevant questions in everyday life and politics, such as how to balance work and private life, whether feminism is still needed, or how to react on Trump's import tariffs.  As as result, computational argumentation — i.e., the empirical, usually data-driven analysis and synthesis of natural langugage argumentation — has recently been seeing an influx of research activities, in academia as well as in industry, with applications from social media monitoring to intelligent personal assistants. Arising research questions in the context of computation social science (CSS) include, for example, which peer groups dominate the argumentative discourse on social media, or, what types of arguments are most effective for specific target audiences.

This tutorial will introduce main concepts and methods from computational argumentation, with an emphasis on the analysis side. Building upon foundations from argumentation theory, linguistics, and rhetoric, we will cover the mining of arguments from natural language text, the assessment of an argument's stance and quality, the interpretation of argument graph structures, and more. The contents will be presented partly in overview form, partly more in depth, accompanied by demos and hands-on tasks. On this basis, the use of computational argumentation for CSS research will be explored in discussion with the participants. 

The main objective of the tutorial is to enable CSS researchers to consider computational argumentation for their studies as well as to convey the basics of integrating it into their own work.


The tutorial covers the following list of topics.


  • Opening remarks
  • Argument annotation
  • Introduction to computational argumentation
  • Applications of computational argumentation

Argument analysis

  • Argument mining
  • Argument assessment
  • Stance classification: How to

Arguments in CSS

  • Computational argumentation in CSS
  • Ad-hominem arguments
  • Argument relevance assessment
  • Ideology and personality in argumentation

Outlook and conclusion

  • Beyond arguments
  • Argumentation resources
  • Computational argumentation in CSS revisited
  • Summary and concluding remarks