Rational Inference Patterns Based on Conditional Logic
Keywords:Conditionals, Counterfactuals, Suppression Task, Rationality, Ranking Functions, OCF, c-Representations, Preferential Inference, Plausible Reasoning, Explaining Human Inference
Conditional information is an integral part of representation and inference processes of causal relationships, temporal events, and even the deliberation about impossible scenarios of cognitive agents. For formalizing these inferences, a proper formal representation is needed. Psychological studies indicate that classical, monotonic logic is not the approriate model for capturing human reasoning: There are cases where the participants systematically deviate from classically valid answers, while in other cases they even endorse logically invalid ones. Many analyses covered the independent analysis of individual inference rules applied by human reasoners. In this paper we define inference patterns as a formalization of the joint usage or avoidance of these rules. Considering patterns instead of single inferences opens the way for categorizing inference studies with regard to their qualitative results. We apply plausibility relations which provide basic formal models for many theories of conditionals, nonmonotonic reasoning, and belief revision to asses the rationality of the patterns and thus the individual inferences drawn in the study. By this replacement of classical logic with formalisms most suitable for conditionals, we shift the basis of judging rationality from compatibility with classical entailment to consistency in a logic of conditionals. Using inductive reasoning on the plausibility relations we reverse engineer conditional knowledge bases as explanatory model for and formalization of the background knowledge of the participants. In this way the conditional knowledge bases derived from the inference patterns provide an explanation for the outcome of the study that generated the inference pattern.