We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Medieval 'Disputationes de obligationibus' as formal dialogue systems.

Uckelman, Sara L. (2013) 'Medieval 'Disputationes de obligationibus' as formal dialogue systems.', Argumentation., 27 (2). pp. 143-166.


Formal dialogue systems model rule-based interaction between agents and as such have multiple applications in multi-agent systems and AI more generally. Their conceptual roots are in formal theories of natural argumentation, of which Hamblin’s formal systems of argumentation in Hamblin (Fallacies. Methuen, London, 1970, Theoria 37:130–135, 1971) are some of the earliest examples. Hamblin cites the medieval theory of obligationes as inspiration for his development of formal argumentation. In an obligatio, two agents, the Opponent and the Respondent, engage in an alternating-move dialogue, where the Respondent’s actions are governed by certain rules, and the goal of the dialogue is establishing the consistency of a proposition. We implement obligationes in the formal dialogue system framework of Prakken (Knowl Eng Rev 21(2):163–188, 2006) using Dynamic Epistemic Logic (van Ditmarsch et al. in Dynamic epistemic logic, Synthese Library Series. Springer, Berlin, 2007). The result is a new type of inter-agent dialogue, for consistency-checking, and analyzing obligationes in this way also sheds light on interpretational and historical questions concerning their use and purpose in medieval academia.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:Open Access © The Author(s) 2012. This article is published with open access at This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:30 July 2015
Date of first online publication:May 2013
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar