Abstract Argumentation and the Rational Man

by   Timotheus Kampik, et al.

Abstract argumentation has emerged as a method for non-monotonic reasoning that has gained tremendous traction in the symbolic artificial intelligence community. In the literature, the different approaches to abstract argumentation that were refined over the years are typically evaluated from a logics perspective; an analysis that is based on models of ideal, rational decision-making does not exist. In this paper, we close this gap by analyzing abstract argumentation from the perspective of the rational man paradigm in microeconomic theory. To assess under which conditions abstract argumentation-based choice functions can be considered economically rational, we define a new argumentation principle that ensures compliance with the rational man's reference independence property, which stipulates that a rational agent's preferences over two choice options should not be influenced by the absence or presence of additional options. We show that the argumentation semantics as proposed in Dung's classical paper, as well as all of a range of other semantics we evaluate do not fulfill this newly created principle. Consequently, we investigate how structural properties of argumentation frameworks impact the reference independence principle, and propose a restriction to argumentation expansions that allows all of the evaluated semantics to fulfill the requirements for economically rational argumentation-based choice. For this purpose, we define the rational man's expansion as a normal and non-cyclic expansion. Finally, we put reference independence into the context of preference-based argumentation and show that for this argumentation variant, which explicitly model preferences, the rational man's expansion cannot ensure reference independence.


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