Abduction As Belief Revision: A Model of Preferred Explanations

Craig Boutilier, Veronica Becher

We propose a natural model of abduction based on the revision of the epistemic state of an agent. We require that explanations be sufficient to induce belief in an observation in a manner that adequately accounts for factual and hypothetical observations. Our model will generate explanations that nonmonotonically predict an observation, thus generalizing most current accounts, which require some deductive relationship between explanation and observation. It also provides a natural preference ordering on explanations, defined in terms of normality or plausibility. We reconstruct the Theorist system in our framework, and show how it can be extended to accommodate our predictive explanations and semantic preferences on explanations.

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