Non-monotonic logic

# Non-monotonic logic

Discussion

Encyclopedia
A non-monotonic logic is a formal logic
Formal logic
Classical or traditional system of determining the validity or invalidity of a conclusion deduced from two or more statements...

whose consequence relation
Relation (mathematics)
In set theory and logic, a relation is a property that assigns truth values to k-tuples of individuals. Typically, the property describes a possible connection between the components of a k-tuple...

is not monotonic
Monotonicity of entailment
Monotonicity of entailment is a property of many logical systems that states that the hypotheses of any derived fact may be freely extended with additional assumptions. In sequent calculi this property can be captured by an inference rule called weakening, or sometimes thinning, and in such...

. Most studied formal logics have a monotonic consequence relation, meaning that adding a formula to a theory never produces a reduction of its set of consequences. Intuitively, monotonicity indicates that learning a new piece of knowledge cannot reduce the set of what is known. A monotonic logic cannot handle various reasoning tasks such as reasoning by default
Default logic
Default logic is a non-monotonic logic proposed by Raymond Reiter to formalize reasoning with default assumptions.Default logic can express facts like “by default, something is true”; by contrast, standard logic can only express that something is true or that something is false...

(consequences may be derived only because of lack of evidence of the contrary), abductive reasoning
Abductive reasoning
Abduction is a kind of logical inference described by Charles Sanders Peirce as "guessing". The term refers to the process of arriving at an explanatory hypothesis. Peirce said that to abduce a hypothetical explanation a from an observed surprising circumstance b is to surmise that a may be true...

(consequences are only deduced as most likely explanations), some important approaches to reasoning about knowledge (the ignorance of a consequence must be retracted when the consequence becomes known), and similarly, belief revision
Belief revision
Belief revision is the process of changing beliefs to take into account a new piece of information. The logical formalization of belief revision is researched in philosophy, in databases, and in artificial intelligence for the design of rational agents....

(new knowledge may contradict old beliefs).

## Default reasoning

An example of a default assumption is that the typical bird flies. As a result, if a given animal is known to be a bird, and nothing else is known, it can be assumed to be able to fly. The default assumption must however be retracted if it is later learned that the considered animal is a penguin. This example shows that a logic that models default reasoning should not be monotonic. Logics formalizing default reasoning can be roughly divided in two categories: logics able to deal with arbitrary default assumptions (default logic
Default logic
Default logic is a non-monotonic logic proposed by Raymond Reiter to formalize reasoning with default assumptions.Default logic can express facts like “by default, something is true”; by contrast, standard logic can only express that something is true or that something is false...

, defeasible logic
Defeasible logic
Defeasible logic is a non-monotonic logic proposed by Donald Nute to formalize defeasible reasoning. In defeasible logic, there are three different types of propositions:strict rules : specify that a fact is always a consequence of another;...

/defeasible reasoning
Defeasible reasoning
Defeasible reasoning is a kind of reasoning that is based on reasons that are defeasible, as opposed to the indefeasible reasons of deductive logic...

/argument (logic), and answer set programming
Answer set programming is a form of declarative programming oriented towards difficult search problems. It is based on the stable model semantics of logic programming. In ASP, search problems are reduced to computing stable models, and answer set solvers -- programs for generating stable...

) and logics that formalize the specific default assumption that facts that are not known to be true can be assumed false by default (closed world assumption
Closed world assumption
The closed world assumption is the presumption that what is not currently known to be true, is false. The same name also refers to a logical formalization of this assumption by Raymond Reiter. The opposite of the closed world assumption is the open world assumption , stating that lack of knowledge...

and circumscription).

## Abductive reasoning

Abductive reasoning
Abductive reasoning
Abduction is a kind of logical inference described by Charles Sanders Peirce as "guessing". The term refers to the process of arriving at an explanatory hypothesis. Peirce said that to abduce a hypothetical explanation a from an observed surprising circumstance b is to surmise that a may be true...

is the process of deriving the most likely explanations of the known facts. An abductive logic should not be monotonic because the most likely explanations are not necessarily correct. For example, the most likely explanation for seeing wet grass is that it rained; however, this explanation has to be retracted when learning that the real cause of the grass being wet was a sprinkler. Since the old explanation (it rained) is retracted because of the addition of a piece of knowledge (a sprinkler was active), any logic that models explanations is non-monotonic.

If a logic includes formulae that mean that something is not known, this logic should not be monotonic. Indeed, learning something that was previously not known leads to the removal of the formula specifying that this piece of knowledge is not known. This second change (a removal caused by an addition) violates the condition of monotonicity. A logic for reasoning about knowledge is the autoepistemic logic
Autoepistemic logic
The autoepistemic logic is a formal logic for the representation and reasoning of knowledge about knowledge. While propositional logic can only express facts, autoepistemic logic can express knowledge and lack of knowledge about facts....

.

## Belief revision

Belief revision
Belief revision
Belief revision is the process of changing beliefs to take into account a new piece of information. The logical formalization of belief revision is researched in philosophy, in databases, and in artificial intelligence for the design of rational agents....

is the process of changing beliefs to accommodate a new belief that might be inconsistent with the old ones. In the assumption that the new belief is correct, some of the old ones have to be retracted in order to maintain consistency. This retraction in response to an addition of a new belief makes any logic for belief revision to be non-monotonic. The belief revision approach is alternative to paraconsistent logics, which tolerate inconsistency rather than attempting to remove it.

• Logic programming
Logic programming
Logic programming is, in its broadest sense, the use of mathematical logic for computer programming. In this view of logic programming, which can be traced at least as far back as John McCarthy's [1958] advice-taker proposal, logic is used as a purely declarative representation language, and a...

• Negation as failure
• Stable model semantics
Stable model semantics
The concept of a stable model, or answer set, is used to define a declarative semantics for logic programs with negation as failure. This is one of several standard approaches to the meaning of negation in logic programming, along with program completion and the well-founded semantics...

• Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a freely-accessible online encyclopedia of philosophy maintained by Stanford University. Each entry is written and maintained by an expert in the field, including professors from over 65 academic institutions worldwide...

: "Non-monotonic logic" -- by G. Aldo Antonelli.