Dr. Maurice Pagnucco
University of New South Wales

Host: Dr. Jim Delgrande
Date: Thursday, April 10th @ 11:30am, ASB 9896

The Role of Causality in Reasoning about Action


Many traditional approaches to reasoning about action and change can be characterised by placing states in a preferential ordering. The potential states after performing an action are predicted to be those satisfying the postconditions of the action that are minimal in this ordering. This is often referred to as preferential entailment and gives rise to a number of solutions to the frame and ramification problems.

Recent literature in this area has seen the appearance of a number of logic-based approaches that employ an explicit notion of causality. In a number of these, the role of causality has been promoted as necessary for solving the frame and ramification problems as well as permitting concise solutions to these problems. However, this has only been demonstrated through representative examples. We attempt to investigate what, if anything, an explicit notion of causality provides. We focus in particular on the causal theory due to McCain and Turner (IJCAI'1995).