Heuristics, justification, and defeasible reasoning

Timothy R. Colburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Heuristics can be regarded as justifying the actions and beliefs of problem-solving agents. I use an analysis of heuristics to argue that a symbiotic relationship exists between traditional epistemology and contemporary artificial intelligence. On one hand, the study of models of problem-solving agents using quantitative heuristics, for example computer programs, can reveal insight into the understanding of human patterns of epistemic justification by evaluating these models' performance against human problem-solving. On the other hand, qualitative heuristics embody the justifying ability of defeasible rules, the understanding of which is provided by traditional epistemology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-487
Number of pages21
JournalMinds and Machines
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 1995


  • Heuristics
  • defeasible reasoning
  • epistemology
  • justification
  • problem-solving


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