Agents that Rationalize Their Decisions

Luis Botelho, ISCTE, and Helder Coelho, University of Lisbon, Portugal

This paper presents an introduction to a theory of rationalization for autonomous agents covering three kinds of rationalization: goal-based, belief-based, and assumption-based rationalization. We show that the COMINT model of decision making enables us to approach rationalization in a rather natural fashion. Namely, it presents an automatic (as opposed to deliberative and thoughtful) way of selecting the convenient sets of knowledge structures to rationalize the agent’s decisions. This automatic mechanism relies on the concepts of activation and association, both of which are central to the model of memory underlying COMINT. We also give a formal definition of a rationalization basis and show how it is generated. Along the paper, we discuss some examples of personnel selection in organizations. Some aspects of the implementation of the model are also presented. Although rationalization serves a lot of purposes, this paper emphasizes its role in a multi-agent society.

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