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We present a general approach for representing and reasoning with sets of defaults in default logic, focusing on reasoning about preferences among sets of defaults. First, we consider how to control the application of a set of defaults so that either all apply (if possible) or none do (if not). From this, an approach to dealing with preferences among sets of default rules is developed. We begin with an ordered default theory, consisting of a standard default theory, but with possible preferences on sets of rules. This theory is transformed into a second, standard default theory wherein the preferences are respected. The approach differs from other work, in that we obtain standard default theories and do not rely on prioritized versions of default logic. In practical terms this means we can immediately use existing default logic theorem provers for an implementation. Also, we directly generate just those extensions containing the most preferred applied rules; in contrast, most previous approaches generate all extensions, then select the most preferred. In a major application of the approach, we show how semimonotonic default theories can be encoded so that reasoning can be carried out at the object level. With this, we can reason about default extensions from within the framework of a standard default logic. Hence one can encode notions such as skeptical and credulous conclusions, and can reason about such conclusions within a single extension

In recent years, there has been a large amount of disparate work concerning the representation and reasoning with qualitative preferential information by means of approaches to nonmonotonic reasoning. Given the variety of underlying systems, assumptions, motivations, and intuitions, it is difficult to compare or relate one approach with another. Here, we present an overview and classification for approaches to dealing with preference. A set of criteria for classifying approaches is given, followed by a set of desiderata that an approach might be expected to satisfy. A comprehensive set of approaches is subsequently given and classified with respect to these sets of underlying principles

In this paper, we show how an approach to belief revision and belief contraction can be axiomatized by means of quantified Boolean formulas. Specifically, we consider the approach of belief change scenarios, a general framework that has been introduced for expressing different forms of belief change. The essential idea is that for a belief change scenario (K, R, C), the set of formulas K, representing the knowledge base, is modified so that the sets of formulas R and C are respectively true in, and consistent with the result. By restricting the form of a belief change scenario, one obtains specific belief change operators including belief revision, contraction, update, and merging. For both the general approach and for specific operators, we give a quantified Boolean formula such that satisfying truth assignments to the free variables correspond to belief change extensions in the original approach. Hence, we reduce the problem of determining the results of a belief change operation to that of satisfiability. This approach has several benefits. First, it furnishes an axiomatic specification of belief change with respect to belief change scenarios. This then leads to further insight into the belief change framework. Second, this axiomatization allows us to identify strict complexity bounds for the considered reasoning tasks. Third, we have implemented these different forms of belief change by means of existing solvers for quantified Boolean formulas. As well, it appears that this approach may be straightforwardly applied to other specific approaches to belief change