Management of conflict often involves aggregating multiple transitive preference criteria into a single overall preference criterion: e.g., when reconciling several agents' negotiating positions. We observe that many different kinds of conflict and conflict management can be viewed in these terms: including about goals, desires, and beliefs.
We offer a new method for preference aggregation: our generalized concept of prioritization. This generalizes the usual concept of lexicographic combination, and is applicable very widely as a qualitative "weak method".
We apply our generalized prioritization to the realm of managing
conflict about beliefs. An important task in this realm is to maintain
a common blackboard-spirit theory that is shared by cooperating participants,
e.g., to maintain a collaborative design rationale.
We offer a new method for organizing conflicting beliefs into such a common
theory: the Prioritized Argument Management System (PAMS). PAMS
revolves around a new logical formalism for non-monotonic reasoning:
a variant of prioritized circumscription.
PAMS provides more functionality, and a higher level of abstraction, than
Truth Maintenance Systems cf. Doyle and de Kleer.
PAMS provides a computational model with strong, model-theoretic semantics.
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