The epistemic basis of defeasible reasoning

Minds and Machines 1 (4):437-458 (1991)
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This article argues that: (i) Defeasible reasoning is the use of distinctive procedures for belief revision when new evidence or new authoritative judgment is interpolated into a system of beliefs about an application domain. (ii) These procedures can be explicated and implemented using standard higher-order logic combined with epistemic assumptions about the system of beliefs. The procedures mentioned in (i) depend on the explication in (ii), which is largely described in terms of a Prolog program, EVID, which implements a system for interactive, defeasible reasoning when combined with an application knowledge base. It is shown that defeasible reasoning depends on a meta-level Closed World Assumption applied to the relationship between supporting evidence and a defeasible conclusion based on this evidence. Thesis (i) is then further defended by showing that the EVID explication of defeasible reasoning has sufficient representational power to cover a wide variety of practical applications of defeasible reasoning, especially in the context of decision making.



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Tractatus logico-philosophicus.Ludwig Wittgenstein, G. C. M. Colombo & Bertrand Russell - 1975 - London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Edited by C. K. Ogden.
Defeasible Reasoning.John L. Pollock - 1987 - Cognitive Science 11 (4):481-518.
The Ethics of Requirement.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1964 - American Philosophical Quarterly 1 (2):147 - 153.

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