Institute for Web Science and Technologies · Universität Koblenz - Landau
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Seminar "Puzzles and Paradoxes in Logic and Probability"

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Wintersemester 2020 / 2021


Research in logic-based artificial intelligence regularly draws inspiration from puzzles and paradoxes. Puzzles sharpen our understanding of what it takes to reason towards a solution, and are therefore excellent points of reference for developing and applying logical formalisms. This is especially true for the study of epistemic reasoning, or reasoning about knowledge, which abounds in thought provoking puzzles, often with surprising solutions. Paradoxes occur when seemingly sound reasoning leads to absurd conclusions. Paradoxes provide valuable insights, as they highlight the pitfalls and limitations that are inherent in the enterprise of formal reasoning. The best-known paradox is perhaps the liar-paradox: consider the statement "This statement is false". If this statement is true, then it must be false, and if it's false, then it must be true. This paradox teaches us about the dangers of self-reference and reasoning about truth.

Above all, puzzles and paradoxes are fun! They not only have academic value, but also serve as excellent topics for discussion among friends and family.

In this seminar you will give a presentation and write a report on one of the available topics. Each topic is about a puzzle or paradox. You are expected to present the puzzle or paradox and explain how it relates to logic or reasoning, how it is formalised, and what its relevance is in the broader context of AI.

This seminar is suitable for all students with basic knowledge of knowledge representation and reasoning (for example those who followed Artificial Intelligence 1). A number of topics furthermore require basic knowledge of probability theory. 

Further Details

There will be around 15 topics (to be annonced here soon). Number of participants will be limited to the number of topics. If you wish to participate, please send me an email. Acceptance on first-come first-serve basis. Registering on KLIPS is not sufficient to be accepted!

There will be an introductory meeting at the start of the semester and a number of presentation sessions at the end of the semester (dates to be announced here soon). Attending all these events is mandatory.


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