Computing Generalized Specificity

Abstract

Most formalisms for representing common-sense knowledge allow incomplete and potentially inconsistent information. When strong negation is also allowed, contradictory conclusions can arise. A criterion for deciding between them is needed. The aim of this paper is to investigate an inherent and autonomous comparison criterion, based on specificity as defined in [POO 85, SIM 92]. In contrast to other approaches, we consider not only defeasible, but also strict knowledge. Our criterion is context-sensitive, i. e., preference among defeasible rules is determined dynamically during the dialectical analysis. We show how specificity can be defined in terms of two different approaches: activation sets and derivation trees. This allows us to get a syntactic criterion that can be implemented in a computationally attractive way. The resulting definitions may be applied in general rulebased formalisms. We present theorems linking both characterizations. Finally we discuss other frameworks for defeasible reasoning in which preference handling is considered explicitly.

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