Is there a graph system that can be used e.g. in legal and other contexts for drawing conclusions?

With a "graph system" (sorry if it is not the right word) I am referring to a set of agreed symbols. With "drawing conclusions" I mean using these graphs to help come to conclusion about various subjects.

I gave the legal context as an example as it is one where an argument would start from a premise and then use additional data to build up to some conclusion. So it should be possible to use the graphs to show the process from premise and data to conclusion.

This would be for a website (that I have been planning to build) where a community of users can draw conclusions together.

  • do you mean a Decision tree?
    – Aprillion
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 13:39
  • Try searching for research or designs in 'diagrammatic reasoning'. Commented May 15, 2015 at 20:26

4 Answers 4


I worked with a guy who was into argument diagramming, and I learned from him there were two main (and quite old) systems for visually graphing argument structures, one of which (wigmore) was designed for legal argument

Wigmore diagrams - http://www.arg.dundee.ac.uk/people/chris/publications/2006/comma2006-wig.pdf

Wigmore Diagram from Wikipedia article on Argument Map Toulmin diagrams - http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

Sorry there's no picture for this one but the uploader doesn't like gifs. It's basically text in boxes with an enforced graph structure.


A Decision Tree is probably what you're looking for, which are used for various things including some types of machine learning.

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There is an interesting example that I found in Kialo, which uses the concept of discussion trees to indicate the various theses and claims, and summarizes it in a visually clear way.

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It is not necessarily used to help reach a conclusion, but it does represent the sum of the discussions in a number of different ways.

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There are also other features that will help with navigating and managing the discussion, so it is worthwhile referencing.


An IBIS Map With the central question: What should frodo do with the on ring?

? How can a community of users draw conclusions together?
 ! They could use IBIS / Issue mapping
   ? What is IBIS 
    ! Ibis is a syntax that was used in the 70s to help groups collaborate on wicked problems.
     - But I don't want to use something from the 70s
     + In the 90s they created an updated version of it based on computer interaction.
     ? Where can I learn more about IBIS?
       ! IBIS videos playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1IrP_dkJL9rQMtPN3ExxG5uVEHmvLFw4
       ! IBIS books: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/82326491-alejandro-garcia?shelf=ibis-dialogue-mapping
       ! This blog: https://www.cleverworkarounds.com/2009/09/10/the-practice-of-dialogue-mapping-part-1/
     ? Do you have an example of an IBIS map?
       ! This answer!
       ! the image at the top
       ! the videos in the playlst

  • 1
    This is an interesting concept that seems to have been around for a while already! I am surprised that it is not used more often and that I haven't seen it before, so thanks for going into the archives to pull this one out.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 23:30

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