Causal Theories of Action and Change

Norman McCain, Hudson Turner

For many commonsense reasoning tasks associated with action domains, only a relatively simple kind of causal knowledge (previously studied by Geffner and Lin) is required. We define a mathematically simple language for expressing knowledge of this kind and describe a general approach to formalizing action domains in it. The language can be used to express ramification and qualification constraints, explicit definitions, concurrency, nondeterminism, and dynamic domains in which things change by themselves.

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