The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
Forrest Hill & 80 South Bridge

Research Paper #701

Title:A Meta-Level Approach to Exploration of Multiple Knowledge Bases
Date:May 1994
Presented:For presentation at CKBS-94
Abstract:This paper presents a meta-level framework for exploration of multiple knowledge bases in which conflicting opinions are expressed. In the first section, the usefulness of a meta-level approach to inconsistency handling is explained and comparisons made with other related work. In the second section a formal meta-level language is defined to allow arguments from knowledge bases to be reasoned about independently to their object-level representation. Four basic meta-level relations are introduced: disagreement, equivalence, justification and elaboration. in the third section, an example is given to illustrate the framework. The fourth section demonstrates how the four basic relations can be used to guide a user in exploring the range of opinion in a collection of knowledge bases. The notion of a conflict set is introduced to provide a focussed 'window' on the particular disagreements a user is interested in. A flavour is also given of how these primitive relations can be used as the basis of definitions of more complex argument constructs, such as those encountered in the literature on argumentation. These argument constructs may provide ways to automate comparison and evaluation of knowledge bases. An initial prototype has been implemented to evaluate the usefulness of this framework and to assess its computational feasibility. The results so far are promising. The paper concludes with a discussion of future directions.

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