PHIL 358/CS 222

[Teaching Staff | Overview | Schedule & Readings | Grading | Notes/Handouts]

Quarter: Winter
Instructors: Eric Pacuit, Yoav Shoham and Johan van Benthem
Meeting Times: Mondays, 2:15PM - 4:05PM
First Class: Monday, April 6
Location: School of Education, RM 206

First Class

The first class meets on Monday, April 6. Email me (epacuit AT stanford DOT edu) with any questions about the course.

Teaching Staff


Eric Pacuit
Email: epacuit AT stanford DOT edu
Office Hours: TBA
Office: Building 90, Room 92B

Yoav Shoham
Email: shoham AT stanford DOT edu
Office Hours: TBA
Office: Gates 140

Johan van Benthem
Email: johan AT csli DOT stanford DOT edu
Office Hours: By Appointment
Office: Building 100 Room 101B


Thomas Icard
Email: icard AT stanford DOT edu
Office Hours: TBA
Office: Building 100, Room 102K


Course Description: Studying rational agents involves many different aspects including (but not limited to) action, knowledge, belief, desires, and revision. This course covers all these ingredients toward the goal of understanding how these things work together. In fact, not all parts of this story have been developed within one single discipline. The course will also bring together several research programs: from philosophy, computer science, logic, and game theory, and try to see their various contributions in one coherent manner. So this course is also an introduction to interfaces between disciplines.

Note that this course is not intended as a general introduction to knowledge representation. Rather, it covers a few selected central topics from current research. Administratively, the course is 3 units and is the merging of two courses, CS 222 and Phil 358. (You can register for either, and the requirements are the same regardless.)
Course Material: Specific topics that will be introduced during the course include 1. logics of knowledge and belief, 2. information dynamics and belief revision, 3. logics of preference and preference change, 4. logics of motivational mental attitudes, 5. logics of individual and collective action and 6. group phenomena and issues of social choice.
Prerequisites: Required background is knowledge of propositional and first-order logic. Familiarity with modal logic is a plus, but not a requirement: we will try to set up sections providing the necessary background.

Recitation Sessions

There are weekly (required) recitation sessions led by Thomas Icard.
Times: TBA
Location: TBA

Schedule & Readings

Below is a tentative schedule with the required readings. We will continually update the schedule and reading material as the course proceeds.
Course Schedule
Date Lecture Topic Reading
4/6 Introduction to the course, static logics of knowledge and beliefs
TBD Continuing with multiagent epistemic logic including common knowledge
  • Jon Barwise, Three Views on Common Knowledge, Proceedings of TARK 1987 (pdf)
4/13 Belief dynamics: belief revision, belief update, relations to nonmonotonic logics, consequence relations, and probabilistic models; multi-agent belief revision
4/20 Logics of time, action, agency and ability.
  • A Note on Logics of Ability (pdf)
TBD Catchup lecture
4/27 Beyond epistemics: intentions and the BDI
5/4 Reasoning about preferences
  • Johan van Benthem, Patrick Girard and Olivier Roy (2008) Ceteris paribus logic, Journal of Philosophical Logic 38:1, 83 - 125. (pdf)
5/11 Epistemic dynamics: dynamic epistemic logic, epistemic temporal logic, belief change, preference change
  • Johan van Benthem and Eric Pacuit (2006), The tree of knowledge in aciton in: Advances in Modal Logic (pdf)
  • Johan van Benthem, Chapter 6: Soft Information, Self-Correction and Belief Change in: Logical Dynamics of Information and Interaction, forthcoming (pdf)
  • Johan van Benthem (2008) For Better or for Worse: Dynamic Logics of Preference, ILLC Tech Report (pdf)
5/18 Logic and coalitional game theory
5/25 No Classes (Memorial Day)
6/1 Logic and game theory
(Lecturer: Johan van Benthem)
  • Johan van Benthem, Chapter 9: Decision, Actions and Games in: Logical Dynamics of Information and Interaction, forthcoming (pdf)

Additional Reading Material

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.
  • We focus on Chapter 13 & 14 in this class, but there is other material relevant for this course in the book.
  • A modern introduction to modal logic.
    • 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 (pdf)
  • An essay bringing together many of the themes discussed in this course.
    • Johan van Benthem, Information Dynamics, Rational Agency and Intelligent Interaciton Chapter 1 in Logical Dynamics of Information and Interaction, forthcoming (pdf)
  • A textbook focused on epistemic logic.
  • A recent textbook focused on many of the issues we discussed in this course.
  • A paper which provides an relatively up-to-date survey of the literature on BDI models.
    • 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)


There will be 4 problem sets on the material covered in class and a final paper on a topic related to the course. Details about the paper topics will be provided later in the course.