Progress towards a formal theory of practical reasoning: Problems and prospects


Authors
Richmond Thomason
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Abstract
From its beginnings in Aristotle, logic was intended to account not only for reasoning that is theoretical (or conclusion-oriented), but for reasoning that is practical (or actionoriented). However, despite an interest in the topic that continues to the present, the practical side of reasoning has remained broadly speculative. At least in some domains (mathematics, in particular), there are well developed proof-theoretic and semantic theories that yield quite detailed models of correct reasoning, and these models are useful for both theoretical and practical purposes. In contrast, the logical work on practical reasoning has remained broadly speculative and disengaged from applications. Logical formalisms have not been forthcoming that would be useful either in designing an agent that needs to act intelligently, or in helping an intelligent agent to evaluate its reasoning about action.
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