Inference, Promotion, and the Dynamics of Awareness


Classical epistemic logic describes implicit knowledge of agents about facts and knowledge of other agents, based on semantic information. The latter is produced by acts of observation or communication, that are described well by dynamic epistemic logics. What these logics do not describe, however, is how significant information is also produced by acts of inference – and key axioms of the system merely postulate “deductive closure”. In this paper, we take the view that all information is produced by acts, and hence we also need a dynamic logic of inference steps showing what effort on the part of the agent makes a conclusion explicit knowledge. Strong omniscience properties of agents should be seen not as static idealizations, but as the result of dynamic processes that agents engage in. This raises two questions: (a) how to define suitable information states of agents and matching notions of explicit knowledge, (b) how to define natural processes over these states that generate new explicit knowledge. To this end, we extend earlier epistemic “awareness models” into a dynamic system that includes acts of public observation, but also adding and dropping formulas from the currently ‘entertained’ set, we give a completeness theorem, and we show how this dynamics updates explicit knowledge. Similar ideas have been proposed before, but they were restricted to update with factual propositions; our new dynamic system applies to arbitrary formulas. We also extend our approach to multi-agent scenarios where awareness changes may happen privately. Finally, we mention further directions and related approaches.

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Johan Van Benthem
University of Amsterdam

Citations of this work

Toward a Dynamic Logic of Questions.Johan van Benthem & Ştefan Minică - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (4):633-669.
Composing Models.Jan van Eijck & Yanjing Wang - 2011 - Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics 21 (3-4):397-425.
A Computational Learning Semantics for Inductive Empirical Knowledge.Kevin T. Kelly - 2014 - In Alexandru Baltag & Sonja Smets (eds.), Johan van Benthem on Logic and Information Dynamics. Springer International Publishing. pp. 289-337.
Johan van Benthem on Logic and Information Dynamics.Alexandru Baltag & Sonja Smets (eds.) - 2014 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

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