Contextual abnormality for teleological explanation

Alexandra VargaJustus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany

Abstract

How can we make sense of observed instrumental actions that are on a first glance bizarre, i.e., different from what “I myself would have done”? In an attempt to answer this question, the paper sets forth a two-staged reasoning procedure for teleological action explanation: goal assignment, and backward planning. Closed-world assumptions about abnormalities frame reasoning to a manageable format under limited processing capacities. Non-default instrumental actions may be explained with respect to a goal hypothesis by encountering an abnormality in the action context. The proposed procedure can be modelled in logic programming, and thereby subserve empirical research on the more generic topic of of defeasible reasoning.

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