Multiple and iterated contraction reduced to single-step single-sentence contraction

Synthese 173 (2):153 - 177 (2010)
Abstract
Multiple contraction (simultaneous contraction by several sentences) and iterated contraction are investigated in the framework of specified meet contraction (s.m.c.) that is extended for this purpose. Multiple contraction is axiomatized, and so is finitely multiple contraction (contraction by a finite set of sentences). Two ways to reduce finitely multiple contraction to contraction by single sentences are introduced. The reduced operations are axiomatically characterized and their properties are investigated. Furthermore, it is shown how iterated contraction can be reduced to single-step, single-sentence contraction. However, in this framework the outcome of iterated contraction depends unavoidably on the order in which the inputs are received. This order-dependence makes it impossible to treat two inputs on an equal footing. Therefore it is often preferable to perform changes involving several pieces of information as multiple rather than iterated change.
Keywords Multiple contraction  Iterated contraction  Belief change  Partial meet contraction  Full meet contraction  Specified meet contraction  Sentential selector  Selector
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