June 2 – 7 , 2013, Dagstuhl Seminar 13231

Belief Change and Argumentation in Multi-Agent Scenarios


Jürgen Dix (TU Clausthal, DE)
Sven Ove Hansson (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, SE)
Gabriele Kern-Isberner (TU Dortmund, DE)
Guillermo R. Simari (National University of the South – Bahía Blanca, AR)

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Belief change and argumentation theory both belong to the wide field of knowledge representation, but their focal points are different. Argumentation theory provides frameworks for reasoning by setting up formal structures that allow the processing and evaluation of arguments for or against a certain option. Here, focus is put on dialectical deliberation and on finding justifications for decisions. Belief change theory has its focus on the adjustments of previously held beliefs that are needed in such processes. However, the interrelations between the two fields are still for the most part unexplored.

Both the fields of argumentation theory and belief revision are of substantial relevance for multi-agent systems which are facing heavy usage in industrial and other practical applications in diverse areas, due to their appropriateness for realizing distributed autonomous systems. Moreover, the topics of this seminar address recent research questions in the general area of decision making and are innovative in the combination of methods.

The seminar took place June 3rd--7th 2013, with 39 participants from 16 countries. The program included overview talks, individual presentations by the participants and group discussions. Overview talks ranged from 30 to 35 minutes, individual presentations were about 25 minutes long, including questions. We specifically asked participants not to present current research (their next conference paper), but rather asked to relate their research to argumentation/belief revision and how it could be used in agent theories.

Participants were encouraged to use their presentations to provide input for the discussion groups. We organized two discussion groups that each met twice (they took place in the afternoon, before and after the coffee break). Each group was headed by two organizers as discussion leaders (see Section 4).

The seminar concluded with the presentation of the group discussions on Friday morning and a wrap-up of the seminar.

From the discussion groups, some core topics arose which will help to focus further scientific work: Semantical issues concerning belief revision and argumentation were seen to be of major importance, and a layered view on both argumentation and belief revision, separating the underlying logic from the argumentation layer resp. revision layer helped to provide common grounds for the two communities. Both these topics proved to be very successful to stimulate scientific discourse, gave rise to interesting questions that might lead to papers and projects in the future, and look promising to allow a deeper analysis and a better understanding of the links between the two areas. Furthermore, a strong interest in having more applications and benchmarks became obvious, and a road map collecting informations on that is planned.

The organizers agreed to put together a special issue of Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence on Argumentation and Belief revision and invite papers on the use of methods and tools from belief change theory in argumentation theory, on the use of methods and tools from argumentation theory in belief change theory, on systems and frameworks that contain elements from both belief change and argumentation, and on practical applications of argumentation or belief revision in multi-agent systems or knowledge representation.

  Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported license
  Jürgen Dix, Sven Ove Hansson, Gabriele Kern-Isberner, and Guillermo R. Simari


  • Artificial Intelligence / Robotics
  • Semantics / Formal Methods
  • Verification / Logic


  • Argumentation
  • Belief revision
  • Multiagent systems

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