ArgLab is a research unit within the larger research-oriented Institute for the Philosophy of Language (IFL) at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal.

The international research group at ArgLab investigates some of the focal issues raised in the rapidly developing argumentation theory. These issues include the questions of the differences in shape and quality of argumentation across different contexts of communication, reconstruction and evaluation of argumentation in multi-party discussions, forms of argument in legal contexts, semantics of argumentation schemes, and so on. We approach these issues from two clearly articulated positions in the study of argumentation – pragma-dialectical theory and Walton’s dialectical logical theory.

The activities at ArgLab are concentrated around a number of research projects sponsored by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). The main ongoing project (March 2011 – February 2014) – Argumentation, Communication and Context – aims at comparing two well-articulated approaches to argumentation: pragma-dialectical theory and Walton’s dialectical logical theory. We do so by putting them to work in the analysis and evaluation of three important contexts for public argumentation: political and social debates in the virtual public sphere, legislative debates in the European Parliament, and legal arguments and legal interpretation in the North American, Portuguese and European courts of law.

Around this project, four independent post-doctoral and one doctoral research projects are currently being developed:

DameleLegal argumentation: an eclectic approach;
LewińskiArgumentation in the virtual public sphere: between ideal models and actual practices;
MacagnoDialectical definitions. A semantic and linguistic approach to argument schemes;
MohammedRationality of public political argument: the case of European parliamentary debates;


Baumtrog Assessing the role of values in practical reasoning argumentation

With a number of international links, collaborations, and activities both in Lisbon and elsewhere, we aim at contributing to the current agenda in Argumentation Theory.