Toward a Logic for Qualitative Decision Theory

Craig Boutilier
Department of Computer Science
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, CANADA, V6T 1Z4

We present a logic for representing and reasoning with qualitative statements of preference and normality and describe how these may interact in decision making under uncertainty. Our aim is to develop a logical calculus that employs the basic elements of classical decision theory, namely probabilities, utilities and actions, but exploits qualitative information about these elements directly for the derivation of goals. Preferences and judgements of normality are captured in a modal/conditional logic, and a simple model of action is incorporated. Without quantitative information, decision criteria other than maximum expected utility are pursued. We describe how techniques for conditional default reasoning can be used to complete information about both preferences and normality judgements, and we show how maximin and maximax strategies can be expressed in our logic.

Appeared KR-94

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