Preference logic, conditionals and solution concepts in games

Abstract
Preference is a basic notion in human behaviour, underlying such varied phenomena as individual rationality in the philosophy of action and game theory, obligations in deontic logic (we should aim for the best of all possible worlds), or collective decisions in social choice theory. Also, in a more abstract sense, preference orderings are used in conditional logic or non-monotonic reasoning as a way of arranging worlds into more or less plausible ones. The field of preference logic (cf. Hansson [10]) studies formal systems that can express and analyze notions of preference between various sorts of entities: worlds, actions, or propositions. The art is of course to design a language that combines perspicuity and low complexity with reasonable expressive power. In this paper, we take a particularly simple approach. As preferences are binary relations between worlds, they naturally support standard unary modalities. In particular, our key modality ♦ϕ will just say that is ϕ true in some world which is at least as good as the current one. Of course, this notion can also be indexed to separate agents. The essence of this language is already in [4], but our semantics is more general, and so are our applications and later language extensions. Our modal language can express a variety of preference notions between propositions. Moreover, as already suggested in [9], it can “deconstruct” standard conditionals, providing an embedding of conditional logic into more standard modal logics. Next, we take the language to the analysis of games, where some sort of preference logic is evidently needed ([23] has a binary modal analysis different from ours). We show how a qualitative unary preference modality suffices for defining Nash Equilibrium in strategic games, and also the Backward Induction solution for finite extensive games. Finally, from a technical perspective, our treatment adds a new twist. Each application considered in this paper suggests the need for some additional access to worlds before the preference modality can unfold its true power..
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Johan van Benthem & Fenrong Liu (2007). Dynamic Logic of Preference Upgrade. Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics 17 (2):157-182.
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