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Common Sense, Reasoning, and Rationality$
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Renee Elio

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147667

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195147669.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

The Logical Foundations of Means‐End Reasoning

The Logical Foundations of Means‐End Reasoning

(p.60) 3 The Logical Foundations of Means‐End Reasoning
Common Sense, Reasoning, and Rationality

John L. Pollock

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on one aspect of practical cognition — plan-construction. Human plan-construction is generally based on means-end reasoning. Means-end reasoning is concerned with finding the means for achieving goals. The basic idea is a simple one: to achieve a goal, we consider an action that would achieve it under some specified circumstances and then try to find a way of putting ourselves in those circumstances in order to achieve the goal by performing the action. Putting ourselves in those circumstances becomes a subgoal. The idea is to work backward from the goal through subgoals until we arrive at subgoals that are already achieved. The resulting sequence of actions constitutes a plan for achieving the goal. A precise logical theory of plan-construction is formulated that completely characterizes means-end reasoning.

Keywords:   plan-construction, goal regression planning, algorithmic planning, defeasible planning, means-end reasoning

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