Book Notes Reasoning about Preference Dynamics

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Reasoning about Preference Dynamics

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Reasoning about Preference Dynamics

Why do we prefer some things rather than others? How exactly do we reason through our preferences and arrive at conclusions about what we should do? How do outside circumstances influence our preferences and why? These are all questions that have profound implications in religion, politics, philosophy, advertising, and more. Unfortunately, we don't know a lot about the logic behind preferences.

Fenrong Liu writes in Reasoning about Preference Dynamics:

Humans are often said to be information-processing agents navigating a complex world with their knowledge and beliefs. But preference is what colors our view of that world, and what drives the actions that we take in it. Moreover, we influence each other's preferences all the time by making evaluative statements, uttering requests or commands, in ways that direct our search for information, and for actions that best fit our goals.

Giving reasons is an eminently logical task, making things susceptible to reasoning. We will therefore give logical models for reason-based preference that have both a "betterness" order among worlds or objects, and a structure of reasons inducing that betterness order, in the form of so-called "priority graphs". We will show how this richer format of representation fits well with the existing tradition in preference logic, but also adds greater depth of analysis for many old and new issues.

This is not a book for causal reading, however — there's a lot in it that's complex and difficult:

This book is aimed at people from various disciplines who are interested in studying agency with logical models. We assume some prior acquaintance with epistemic and dynamic logic (though we will summarize some basics), and we write for readers familiar with the basics of first-order logic and modal logic.

If you have a strong background in logic, then you would probably get lot out of this volume.

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