AGORA-net: Argument mapping that stimulates reasoning, critique, deliberation, and creativity

“AGORA-net: Participate Deliberate!” is an interactive, collaborative, and web-based argument mapping tool that stimulates reasoning, reflection, critique, deliberation, and creativity in individual argument construction and in collaborative or adversarial settings. Prove your point in logically valid arguments and participate in debates.

Enter the AGORA-net in English

Вступайте в сообщество AGORA на русском 

Zugang zum AGORA-net auf Deutsch 

Entra a AGORA-net en español

 (Esta traducción fue posible gracias al proyecto   FFI 2010-20118 del Ministerio de Economía y Competividad español /  This translation was partially supported by the  FFI 2010-20118  research project of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. It has been provided by Begoña Carrascal)

Please contact us if you want to translate the AGORA-net user interface into an additional language.

Version 3.7 just released! (April 16, 2014)

Read more.

 

New to agora??

Watch a short Video Tutorial

Problems with the software?

Please check here for information regarding the system..

Bug report

If you find software bugs, please send an e-mail to xyz.agorabugreport@gmail.com.xyz (remove spam protection “xyz”) and describe exactly what happened in which situation. Thanks.

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The Spirit of the AGORA-net

In a Greek city, the “agora” is an open place in the middle of town where citizens come together for all kinds of public purposes. The famous Agora of Athens was the place where Socrates engaged his compatriots in discussions that revealed how full of beliefs and opinions they were, but without any real knowledge.

Socrates was driven by the imperative γνωθι σαυτον (“know yourself!”), and the same spirit drives the AGORA-net. The AGORA-net is a place on the web where everybody can propose arguments for his or her positions, recommendations, or theses for the world to see or in protected spaces, and learn something about the structure of his or her own reasoning—and its inevitable limitations and weaknesses.

Our AGORA-net provides a space to interact with others, to engage the presentation and discussion of a diversity of perspectives, to develop and refine positions in social interaction or for oneself, and to clarify controversies by visualizing the best possible argumentation for each point of view. The AGORA-net is a virtual online world in which users can walk around, find interesting discussions in which they can participate, or create their own topics for debate or reflection.

The AGORA-net can be used for the following purposes:

  • Reflect on, and improve, your own thinking by visualizing the structures of possible argumentations that can justify your position on something (for instance to prepare an essay or a thesis; “argumentations” are chains or networks of arguments, counter-arguments, and counter-counter-arguments, etc.). These argumentations will represent not only structures of reasons, but also background assumptions, beliefs, and values you might not even be fully aware of. Visualizing reasoning motivates objections and critique, which again leads to further justifications or a refinement, or a fundamental change, of your original position.
  • Understand someone else’s position, recommendation, or thesis by understanding this person’s justifications. Justifications can be represented in the form of arguments. For example, if I want to justify the thesis “Paul is responsible for what he did,” I might provide as a justification for this thesis the reason “Paul is a rational being.”
  • Collaborate with others online to structure knowledge domains in the form of justified statements about the world. This can be interesting for projects that require large-scale or interdisciplinary collaboration and debate. For educational purposes, it is important to note that a justification provides at the same time an explanation. Therefore, argument mapping promotes understanding.
  • Manage conflicts and controversies by mapping out the opponents’ argumentations and by revealing thus their implicit assumptions and the ways they frame the conflict.
  • Organize and structure public debates and deliberation in the form of arguments, counter-arguments, and counter-counter-arguments, etc.
  • Educate the next generation of critical thinkers, improve reasoning skills, and let your students acquire the ability to collaborate in teams that focus on problems.

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Funded by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education. Grant P116S100006