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Probabilistic Default Reasoning with Conditional Constraints

Thomas Lukasiewicz


We present an approach to reasoning from statistical and subjective knowledge, which is based on a combination of probabilistic reasoning from conditional constraints with approaches to default reasoning from conditional knowledge bases. More precisely, we introduce the notions of z-, lexicographic, and conditional entailment for conditional constraints, which are probabilistic generalizations of Pearl's entailment in system Z, Lehmann's lexicographic entailment, and Geffner's conditional entailment, respectively. We show that the new formalisms have nice properties. In particular, they show a similar behavior as reference-class reasoning in a number of uncontroversial examples. The new formalisms, however, also avoid many drawbacks of reference-class reasoning. More precisely, they can handle complex scenarios and even purely probabilistic subjective knowledge as input. Moreover, conclusions are drawn in a global way from all the available knowledge as a whole. We then show that the new formalisms also have nice general nonmonotonic properties. In detail, the new notions of z-, lexicographic, and conditional entailment have similar properties as their classical counterparts. In particular, they all satisfy the rationality postulates proposed by Kraus, Lehmann, and Magidor, and they have some general irrelevance and direct inference properties. Moreover, the new notions of z- and lexicographic entailment satisfy the property of rational monotonicity. Furthermore, the new notions of z-, lexicographic, and conditional entailment are proper generalizations of both their classical counterparts and the classical notion of logical entailment for conditional constraints. Finally, we provide algorithms for reasoning under the new formalisms, and we analyze its computational complexity.

Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence