Thank you for attending the course! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like some pointers to the relevant literature.

Lecturer: Eric Pacuit ( website)
Venue: North American Summer School for Logic, Language and Information
(NASSLLI 2010)
Meeting Times: 14.00 - 15.30 (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5)
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington


This course introduces and critically examines logical systems for reasoning about communities of (rational and not-so rational) agents engaged in some form of social interaction. Much of this work builds upon existing logical frameworks developed by philosophers and computer scientists incorporating insights and ideas from philosophy (especially epistemology and action theory), game theory, decision theory and social choice theory. The result is a web of logical systems each addressing different aspects of rational agency and social interaction. This course focuses on the central conceptual and technical issues that drive these logical analyses. The main objective is to see the various logical systems as a coherent account of rational agency and social interaction suggesting the following three questions:

  1. How can we compare different logical frameworks addressing similar aspects of rational agency and social interaction (eg., how information evolves through social interaction)?
  2. How should we combine logical systems which address different aspects of social interaction towards the goal of a comprehensive (formal) theory of rational agency?
  3. How does a logical analysis contribute to the broader discussion of rational agency and social interaction within philosophy and the social sciences?

Reading Material

  • Extended outline of an earlier course including an appendix on modal logic (pdf, June 15, 2009 version).
  • Survey on (dynamic) logics of informational attitudes (pdf).
  • Reasoning about protocols under imperfect information (pdf).

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Below is a schedule for the course (which is subject to change) with links to the lecture slides and brief synopses.

Date Topic Slides
Day 1
July 27, 2009
Introduction, Motivation and Background
(brief synopsis)
Lecture 1
Day 2
July 28, 2009
Ingredients of a Logical Analysis of Rational Agency I
(brief synopsis)
Lecture 2
Day 3
July 29, 2009
Ingredients of a Logical Analysis of Rational Agency II
(brief synopsis)
Lecture 3
Day 4
July 30, 2009
Merging Logics of Rational Agency I
(brief synopsis)
Lecture 4
Day 5
July 31, 2009
Merging Logics of Rational Agency II
(brief synopsis)
Lecture 5

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Day 1: Introduction, Motivation and Background

This course will focus primarily on the following question: how to merge logical systems addressing different aspects of (rational) agency. We started with some introductory remarks about logical models of rational agency and game theory. The second part of the lecture provided some background information not provided in other courses. This included weak systems of modal logics and combining logics.

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Day 2: Ingredients of a Logical Analysis of Rational Agency I

Given that other courses have introduced the basic ideas of epistemic logic, including definitions of common knowledge, we looked at two key results: 1. Aumann's agreeing to disagree theorem and 2. there are countably (uncountably) many "levels" of knowledge. We started our discussion of (modal) preference logic.

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Day 3: Ingredients of a Logical Analysis of Rational Agency II

We continued our introduction to modal preference logic eventually turning to the problem of defining group preferences. Here we introduced judgement aggregation and proved one of the key impossibility result. The lecture ended with a discussion of logics of (individual) ability.
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Day 4: Merging Logics of Rational Agency I

We started with a very brief overview of many agent versions of logics of ability. Following that, we looked at frameworks that combine informational and motivational (preference) attitudes (this includes a brief introduction to some of the main ideas of representation theorems of, for example, Savage who derive beliefs from the players' preferences). We then turned to interplay between epistemic dynamics and protocol information.
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Day 5:Merging Logics of Rational Agency II

In this last lecture, we discussed two general issues: 1. when can an agent agree to "adopt" a protocol, or plan; and 2. is there a theory of intention/plan revision?
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Below is a list of some additional reading material related to some of the topics we will discuss in this course. This is not a complete list of all relevant material, but a reasonably large sampling.
  • Yoav Shoham and Kevin Leyton-Brown, Multiagent Systems: Algorithmic, Game-Theoretic, and Logical Foundations, Cambridge University Press, 2009. (Especially Chapters 13 & 14)
  • Patrick Balckburn and Johan van Benthem, A Semantics Introduction to Modal Logic in: Handbook of Modal Logic, P. Blackburn, J. van Bentem and F. Wolter editors, Elsevier, 2007. (an introduction to modal logic)
  • Johan van Benthem, Logical Dynamics of Information and Interaction, Cambridge University Press, 2010 (a book on many of themes discussed in this course.)
  • R. Fagin, J. Halpern, Y. Moses and M. Vardi, Reasoning About Knowledge, MIT Press, 1995 (classic textbook on epistemic logic)
  • H. van Ditmarsch, W. van der Hoek and B. Kooi, Dynamic Epistemic Logic, Springer, 2007 (textbook on dynamic epistemic logic)
  • W. van der Hoek and M. Wooldridge, Towards a logic of rational agency, Logic Journal of the IGPL, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 133-157 (pdf) (survey of logics of rational agency from a computer science perspective)

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Additional Information

Relevant Conferences: