KR2021Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and ReasoningProceedings of the 18th International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning

Online event. November 3-12, 2021.

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ISSN: 2334-1033
ISBN: 978-1-956792-99-7

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Copyright © 2021 International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence Organization

An Account of Intensional and Extensional Actions, and its Application to Belief, Nondeterministic Actions and Fallible Sensors

  1. Jens Claßen(Simon Fraser University, Canada)
  2. James P. Delgrande(Simon Fraser University, Canada)


  1. Reasoning about actions and change, action languages
  2. Reasoning about knowledge, beliefs, and other mental attitudes


In general, an agent may have incomplete and inaccurate knowledge about its environment. As well, actions may not turn out as intended or may have nondeterministic effects, and sensors may on occasion give incorrect results. We present a general, qualitative approach to reasoning about action and change in such a setting. The approach is expressed as an extension to basic action theories in the situation calculus, where an agent's epistemic state is modelled by a set of situations, where each situation is assigned a non-negative integer representing its plausibility. The agent's epistemic state is updated by modifying these plausibility values after the execution of an action, taking into account the possibility of unexpected results. To this end, we consider actions to have an intensional aspect, under the control of and determined by the agent, and an extensional aspect, not directly accessible to the agent and controlled by "nature". This leads to two distinct but related related notions of belief, an

extensional "bird's eye" view which models an agent's beliefs wrt actually-executed actions, and an intensional view representing beliefs from the agent's point of view. We argue that the approach is significantly more general and comprehensive than previous accounts, and leads to a unified view of failed actions and nondeterminism with respect to physical and sensing actions.