The free online magazine The Reasoner has recently published an interview with me in their February 2010 issue. Much of it is discussing argument mapping and its uses. However the first third or so of the interview covers my earlier work in the foundations of cognitive science (distributed representation, dynamical systems and such topics).
Thanks to Kevin Korb for initiating and conducting the interview.
KK: What are argument maps and why are they important?
TvG: Typically an argument map is a box-and-arrow or node-and-link diagram showing the relationships among propositions in some piece of informal reasoning or argumentation. Argument mapping is thus “semi- formal”, blending formal graph structure with natural language. You can think of argument mapping as addressing a design challenge: come up with a maximally transparent way of representing informal reasoning and argumentation for human thinkers, one that makes the reasoning as explicit, rigorous and yet easily comprehensible and communicable as possible. From this point of view, the various forms of argument mapping around today—such as the one embodied in the Rationale software—as particular attempts to come up with that optimal format. No doubt improved schemes, supported by more sophisticated technologies, will arise in coming years.