Applying recent argumentation methods to some ancient examples of plausible reasoning
Plausible (eikotic) reasoning known from ancient Greek (late Academic) skeptical philosophy is shown to be a clear notion that can be analyzed by argumentation methods, and that is important for argumentation studies. It is shown how there is a continuous thread running from the Sophists to the skeptical philosopher Carneades, through remarks of Locke and Bentham on the subject, to recent research in artificial intelligence. Eleven characteristics of plausible reasoning are specified by analyzing key examples of it recognized as important in ancient Greek skeptical philosophy using an artificial intelligence model called the Carneades Argumentation System (CAS). By applying CAS to ancient examples it is shown how plausible reasoning is especially useful for gaining a better understanding of evidential reasoning in law, and argued that it can also be applied to everyday argumentation. Our analysis of the snake and rope example of Carneades is also used to point out some ways CAS needs to be extended if it is to more fully model the views of this ancient philosopher on argumentation.