Partial Awareness

  • Joseph Y. Halpern Cornell University
  • Evan Piermont Royal Holloway, University of London


We develop a modal logic to capture partial awareness. The logic has three building blocks: objects, properties, and concepts. Properties are unary predicates on objects; concepts are Boolean combinations of properties. We take an agent to be partially aware of a concept if she is aware of the concept without being aware of the properties that define it. The logic allows for quantification over objects and properties, so that the agent can reason about her own unawareness. We then apply the logic to contracts, which we view as syntactic objects that dictate outcomes based on the truth of formulas. We show that when agents are unaware of some relevant properties, referencing concepts that agents are only partially aware of can improve welfare.

AAAI Technical Track: Knowledge Representation and Reasoning