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Applying Lakatos-style reasoning to AI problems

Applying Lakatos-style reasoning to AI problems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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  • Alison Pease
  • Andrew Ireland
  • Simon Colton
  • Ramin Ramezani
  • Alan Smaill
  • Maria Teresa Llano
  • Gudmund Grov
  • Markus Guhe

Research units


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThinking machines and the philosophy of computer science
Subtitle of host publicationconcepts and principles
EditorsJordi Vallverdu
Place of PublicationHershey
PublisherInformation Science Reference
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781616920159
ISBN (Print)9781616920142
StatePublished - 2010


One current direction in AI research is to focus on combining different reasoning styles such as deduction, induction, abduction, analogical reasoning, non-monotonic reasoning, vague and uncertain reasoning. The philosopher Imre Lakatos produced one such theory of how people with different reasoning styles collaborate to develop mathematical ideas. Lakatos argued that mathematics is a quasi-empirical, flexible, fallible, human endeavour, involving negotiations, mistakes, vague concept definitions and disagreements, and he outlined a heuristic approach towards the subject. In this chapter we apply these heuristics to the AI domains of evolving requirement specifications, planning and constraint satisfaction problems. In drawing analogies between Lakatos’s theory and these three domains we identify areas of work which correspond to each heuristic, and suggest extensions and further ways in which Lakatos’s philosophy can inform AI problem solving. Thus, we show how we might begin to produce a philosophically-inspired AI theory of combined reasoning.


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