Modelling dynamic behaviour of agents in a multiagent world: Logical analysis of Wh-questions and answers

Logic Journal of the IGPL 31 (1):140-171 (2023)
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Abstract

In a multiagent and multi-cultural world, the fine-grained analysis of agents’ dynamic behaviour, i.e. of their activities, is essential. Dynamic activities are actions that are characterized by an agent who executes the action and by other participants of the action. Wh-questions on the participants of the actions pose a difficult particular challenge because the variability of the types of possible answers to such questions is huge. To deal with the problem, we propose the analysis and classification of Wh-questions apt for agents’ communication in a multiagent system (MAS). Our proposal of such a system consists of agents who communicate with their fellow agents by messaging so that each autonomous agent, though resource-bounded, can make less or more rational decisions to meet its own and collective goals. In addition, by communicating with other fellow agents and their environment, agents can learn new concepts and enrich their ontology so that their behaviour is dynamic. We aim to make a general proposal of the system so that the ‘envelope’ of agents’ messages can be formalized in any MAS standard, be it The Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents - Agent Communication Language (FIPA-ACL) or Knowledge Query and Manipulation Language (KQML). Yet, the content of messages is encoded in a formalized natural language. To this end, we apply Transparent Intensional Logic (TIL) with its procedural semantics which is particularly apt for a fine-grained analysis in which all the semantically salient features of natural language can be plausibly formalized. In this paper, we concentrate on analysing the content of query messages, particularly the content of those that encode Wh-questions and the answers to them. We also summarize TIL deduction system that makes it possible to answer such questions in an intelligent way. Linguists distinguish several subtypes of Wh-questions. Though the linguistic classification is helpful, it is not always suitable for agents’ communication and reasoning. We need the classification based on a logical analysis of Wh-questions so that the agents can infer possible answers to such questions rather than only looking for them by keywords. This paper aims to apply an appropriate classification of the logical types of Wh-questions and the analysis of such questions; we concentrate in particular on questions concerning the participants of activities. The application of these results to the analysis of processes and events based on verb valency frames is another novelty of the paper.

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