, Volume 195, Issue 10, pp 4419–4439 | Cite as

A logic of goal-directed knowing how

  • Yanjing WangEmail author
S.I.: LORI - V


In this paper, we propose a decidable single-agent modal logic for reasoning about goal-directed “knowing how”, based on ideas from linguistics, philosophy, modal logic, and automated planning in AI. We first define a modal language to express “I know how to guarantee \(\varphi \) given \(\psi \)” with a semantics based not on standard epistemic models but on labeled transition systems that represent the agent’s knowledge of his own abilities. The semantics is inspired by conformant planning in AI. A sound and complete proof system is given to capture valid reasoning patterns, which highlights the compositional nature of “knowing how”. The logical language is further extended to handle knowing how to achieve a goal while maintaining other conditions.


Knowing how Epistemic logic Conformant planning Modal logic 



The author acknowledges the support from the National Program for Special Support of Eminent Professionals and NSSF key projects 12&ZD119. The author thanks Frank Veltman, Maria Aloni and the two anonymous reviewers of this journal for their helpful comments on the earlier versions of the paper. The author is grateful to John Maier who proofread the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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