Defeasible reasoning and logic programming

Timothy R Colburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The general conditions of epistemic defeat are naturally represented through the interplay of two distinct kinds of entailment, deductive and defeasible. Many of the current approaches to modeling defeasible reasoning seek to define defeasible entailment via model-theoretic notions like truth and satisfiability, which, I argue, fails to capture this fundamental distinction between truthpreserving and justification-preserving entailments. I present an alternative account of defeasible entailment and show how logic programming offers a paradigm in which the distinction can be captured, allowing for the modeling of a larger range of types of defeat. This is possible through a natural extension of the declarative and procedural semantics of Horn clauses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-436
Number of pages20
JournalMinds and Machines
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 1991


  • Defeasible reasoning
  • entailment
  • justification
  • logic programming


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