Finding and Interpreting Arguments: An Important Challenge for Humanities Computing and Scholarly Practice

Article


Ravenscroft, A. and Allen, C. 2019. Finding and Interpreting Arguments: An Important Challenge for Humanities Computing and Scholarly Practice. Digital Humanities Quarterly. 13 (4).
AuthorsRavenscroft, A. and Allen, C.
Abstract

Skillful identification and interpretation of arguments is a cornerstone of learning, scholarly activity and thoughtful civic engagement. These are difficult skills for people to learn, and they are beyond the reach of current computational methods from artificial intelligence and machine learning, despite hype suggesting the contrary. In previous work, we have attempted to build systems that scaffold these skills in people. In this paper we reflect on the difficulties posed by this work, and we argue that it is a serious challenge which ought to be taken up within the digital humanities and related efforts to computationally support scholarly practice. Network analysis, bibliometrics, and stylometrics, essentially leave out the fundamental humanistic skill of charitable argument interpretation because they touch very little on the meanings embedded in texts. We present a problematisation of the design space for potential tool development, as a result of insights about the nature and form of arguments in historical texts gained from our attempt to locate and map the arguments in one corner of the Hathi Trust digital library.

JournalDigital Humanities Quarterly
Journal citation13 (4)
ISSN1938-4122
Year2019
PublisherThe Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations
Publisher's version
License
Web address (URL)http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/13/4/000436/000436.html
Publication dates
Print2019
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Mar 2020
Copyright holder© 2019 The Authors
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