Thursday, 17 May 2007

A suspect for murder

Joseph Laronge presents a useful comparison of two different styles of mapping applied to the problem of whether Bob is a suspect for murder.

The first is an argument map:

and the second uses Laronge's own "path-mapping" conventions which he calls "pyramid style":

I have taken the time to do my own argument map, which in a way which gives I think the best of both worlds:
  • The structure is largely taken from Laronge's particular path map, but
  • The co-premises are pulled out, making it easy to show where the reasoning and evidence are open to challenge

It looks like argument mapping in a legal context is ripe for advancement. It will need people with skills in both mapping and the Law to work together to figure out how best to do it, both in terms of refining the method and conventions, and developing a sufficiently rich visual language.

In my example I would like to have been able to indicate through a strong visual device the following "legal concepts", which are somewhat implicit at present:
  1. A piece of cited law
  2. Which which "side" is favored by each premise
This could be accomplished in a few ways, but I will not go into that point at this stage. I am amore interested in finding out what else deserves to be reified in these kinds of maps.

Ideally, once the visual language is sorted out it should be possible to provide "road-maps" and templates that can be readily molded to reflect a particular case.

A big job indeed!


Joseph A. Laronge said...

An Inference Path Map in response along with commentary

Daniel Prager said...

Joseph's Horizontal Rationale Map shows another interesting way to map this issue.

It seems that in the areas that are of interest to Joseph there is a specific "inferential path" which is the dominant strand of the argument.

This may be true in the legal domain, but is not so in general (e.g. in a policy or philosophical debate).

Nevertheless, where it does hold, it offers an advantage to the reader in that one can read the main chain first, and then cover the other branches as side-tracks.

Clearly Joseph is twisting the notation of Rationale's Analysis mode to his own ends and this is sub-optimal, but until such a time as a clumping mode becomes available I cannot see a better Rationale-based option at this time.

Ben said...

HTML problem ... those first two JPGs don't show up and the links lead to a page that displays


Daniel Prager said...

Thanks Ben:

You are correct, the links are broken. I have emailed Joseph about it.