Seeing is believing

In this paper a formal framework is proposed in which variousinformative actions are combined, corresponding to the different ways in whichrational agents can acquire information. In order to solve the variousconflicts that could possibly occur when acquiring information fromdifferent sources, we propose a classification of the informationthat an agent possesses according to credibility. Based on this classification, we formalize what itmeans for agents to have seen or heard something, or to believesomething by default. We present a formalization of observations,communication actions, and the attempted jumps to conclusions thatconstitutes default reasoning. To implement these informative actionswe use a general belief revision action which satisfies theAGM postulates; dependent on the credibility of the incominginformation this revision action acts on one or more parts ofthe classified belief sets of the agents. The abilities of agents formalizeboth the limited capacities of agents to acquire information, and the preference of one kind of information acquisition to another. A very important feature of our approach is that it shows how to integratevarious aspects of agency, in particular the (informational) attitudesof dealing with information from observation, communication and defaultreasoning into one coherent framework, both model-theoretically andsyntactically
Keywords Rational agents  belief revision  reasoning about action  knowledge representation
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DOI 10.1023/A:1008242530244
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