On nonmonotonic reasoning with the method of sweeping presumptions

Minds and Machines 1 (4):393-416 (1991)
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Reasoning almost always occurs in the face of incomplete information. Such reasoning is nonmonotonic in the sense that conclusions drawn may later be withdrawn when additional information is obtained. There is an active literature on the problem of modeling such nonmonotonic reasoning, yet no category of method-let alone a single method-has been broadly accepted as the right approach. This paper introduces a new method, called sweeping presumptions, for modeling nonmonotonic reasoning. The main goal of the paper is to provide an example-driven, nontechnical introduction to the method of sweeping presumptions, and thereby to make it plausible that sweeping presumptions can usefully be applied to the problems of nonmonotonic reasoning. The paper discusses a representative sample of examples that have appeared in the literature on nonmonotonic reasoning, and discusses them from the point of view of sweeping presumptions



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How the laws of physics lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
From a Logical Point of View.W. V. O. Quine - 1953 - Harvard University Press.
Thought.Gilbert Harman - 1973 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Change in View: Principles of Reasoning.Gilbert Harman - 1986 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.

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