Artificial Intelligence 171 (10-15):855-874 (2007)

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Abstract
In this paper we describe an approach to practical reasoning, reasoning about what it is best for a particular agent to do in a given situation, based on presumptive justifications of action through the instantiation of an argument scheme, which is then subject to examination through a series of critical questions. We identify three particular aspects of practical reasoning which distinguish it from theoretical reasoning. We next provide an argument scheme and an associated set of critical questions which is able to capture these features. In order that both the argument scheme and the critical questions can be given precise interpretations we use the semantic structure of an Action-Based Alternating Transition System as the basis for their definition. We then work through a detailed example to show how this approach to practical reasoning can be applied to a problem solving situation, and briefly describe some other previous applications of the general approach. In a second example we relate our account to the social laws paradigm for co-ordinating multi-agent systems. The contribution of the paper is to provide firm foundations for an approach to practical reasoning based on presumptive argument in terms of a well-known model for representing the effects of actions of a group of agents.
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