A disputation is a formal argument or debate, like the heated but thoughtful disputation your classmates have over whether Marvel or DC Comics is superior.
The term disputation comes from a Latin root, disputare, meaning "weigh, examine, discuss, argue, or explain." A true disputation is careful and well thought-out, and it often takes place in a scholarly or academic setting. Formal debates are one type of disputation, and going all the way back to the Middle Ages, disputations were often religious in nature. Theological disputations between Jewish and Christian scholars were common in 13th century Europe, for example.