Computer Science Department
Stanford, CA 94305
We present a new and more symmetric version of the circumscription method of nonmonotonic reasoning first described in (McCarthy 1980) and some applications to formalizing common sense knowledge. The applications in this paper are mostly based on minimizing the abnormality of different aspects of various entities. Included are nonmonotonic treatments of is-a hierarchies, the unique names hypothesis, and the frame problem. The new circumscription may be called formula circumscription to distinguish it from the previously defined domain circumscription and predicate circumscription. A still more general formalism called prioritized circumscription is briefly explored.