Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
We present a general approach for representing and reasoning with sets of defaults in default logic, focusing on reasoning about preferences among sets of defaults. First, we consider how to control the application of a set of defaults so that either all apply (if possible) or none do (if not). From this, an approach to dealing with preferences among sets of default rules is developed. We begin with an ordered default theory, consisting of a standard default theory, but with possible preferences on sets of rules. This theory is transformed into a second, standard default theory wherein the preferences are respected. The approach differs from other work, in that we obtain standard default theories and do not rely on prioritized versions of default logic. In practical terms this means we can immediately use existing default logic theorem provers for an implementation. Also, we directly generate just those extensions containing the most preferred applied rules; in contrast, most previous approaches generate all extensions, then select the most preferred. In a major application of the approach, we show how semimonotonic default theories can be encoded so that reasoning can be carried out at the object level. With this, we can reason about default extensions from within the framework of a standard default logic. Hence one can encode notions such as skeptical and credulous conclusions, and can reason about such conclusions within a single extension.
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