What Is a Good Domain Description? Evaluating and Revising Action Theories in Dynamic Logic

Dissertation, Université Paul Sabatier (2006)
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Traditionally, consistency is the only criterion for the quality of a theory in logic-based approaches to reasoning about actions. This work goes beyond that and contributes to the meta-theory of actions by investigating what other properties a good domain de- scription should satisfy. Having Propositional Dynamic Logic (PDL) as background, we state some meta-theoretical postulates concerning this sore spot. When all pos- tulates are satisfied, we call the action theory modular. We point out the problems that arise when the postulates about modularity are violated, and propose algorith- mic checks that can help the designer of an action theory to overcome them. Besides being easier to understand and more elaboration tolerant in McCarthy’s sense, mod- ular theories have interesting computational properties. Moreover, we also propose a framework for updating domain descriptions and show the importance modularity has in action theory change.
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