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Common-sense reasoning, theories of

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-W034-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 17, 2024, from

Article Summary

The task of formalizing common-sense reasoning within a logical framework can be viewed as an extension of the programme of formalizing mathematical and scientific reasoning that has occupied philosophers throughout much of the twentieth century. The most significant progress in applying logical techniques to the study of common-sense reasoning has been made, however, not by philosophers, but by researchers in artificial intelligence, and the logical study of common-sense reasoning is now a recognized sub-field of that discipline.

The work involved in this area is similar to what one finds in philosophical logic, but it tends to be more detailed, since the ultimate goal is to encode the information that would actually be needed to drive a reasoning agent. Still, the formal study of common-sense reasoning is not just a matter of applied logic, but has led to theoretical advances within logic itself. The most important of these is the development of a new field of ‘non-monotonic’ logic, in which the conclusions supported by a set of premises might have to be withdrawn as the premise set is supplemented with new information.

Citing this article:
Horty, John. Common-sense reasoning, theories of, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-W034-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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