© 2011

Reasoning about Preference Dynamics

  • A logical investigation of the ubiquitous notion of preference, which brings together many areas: philosophy, computer science, game theory, legal reasoning, and social choice theory

  • The first systematic treatment of preference change, and its relation to belief revision

  • A richer model for preference structure which can advance current studies of agency

  • An introduction to modern developments in dynamic logic


Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 354)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Fenrong Liu
      Pages 3-16
  3. Dynamics of Information

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Fenrong Liu
      Pages 19-29
  4. Preference over Worlds

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 31-31
    2. Fenrong Liu
      Pages 33-42
    3. Fenrong Liu
      Pages 43-54
    4. Fenrong Liu
      Pages 71-83
  5. Preference from Priorities

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 85-85
    2. Fenrong Liu
      Pages 99-113
    3. Fenrong Liu
      Pages 115-120
  6. A Two-Level Perspective on Preference

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 121-121
    2. Fenrong Liu
      Pages 123-138
  7. Applications and Discussions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 139-139
    2. Fenrong Liu
      Pages 141-160
    3. Fenrong Liu
      Pages 161-182
  8. Finale

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 183-183

About this book


Our preferences determine how we act and think, but exactly what the mechanics are and how they work is a central cause of concern in many disciplines. This book uses techniques from modern logics of information flow and action to develop a unified new theory of what preference is and how it changes. The theory emphasizes reasons for preference, as well as its entanglement with our beliefs. Moreover, the book provides dynamic logical systems which describe the explicit triggers driving preference change, including new information, suggestions, and commands. In sum, the book creates new bridges between many fields, from philosophy and computer science to economics, linguistics, and psychology. For the experienced scholar access to a large body of recent literature is provided and the novice gets a thorough introduction to the action and techniques of dynamic logic.


belief deontic logic deontic reasoning dynamic epistemic logic dynamic logic games preference preference dynamics preference logic reasoning static logic

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1., Department of PhilosophyTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina, People's Republic

About the authors

Fenrong Liu is an associate professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, one of the most prestigious universities in China. She received her first Ph.D degree in Philosophy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2001 on default reasoning, a topic linking philosophy with Artificial Intelligence. From 2003-2008, she worked at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) at the University of Amsterdam, where she obtained a second Ph.D degree in Science on dynamic logics of preference. She has published some  40 papers, and has organized many events, including a new Chinese conferences series on Logic,
Rationality, and Intelligent Interaction (LORI). Her research is aimed at understanding how information changes guide rational agency in terms of beliefs and preference, and in modelling similarities and differences between agents, making room for agent diversity in logic. In addition, she pursues an active program in Chinese Ancient Logic, reading Chinese old texts by modern logical theories.

Bibliographic information


"This is an excellent book.  It offers a clear and concise overview of dynamic preference logic and logics that can reason about both beliefs and preferences.  Fenrong has managed to provide an accessible and comprehensive overview of recent work in this area, including very interesting connections with deontic logic and game theory.  I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in using logical models to reason about rational agents." Eric Pacuit, Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science, The Netherlands

"Reasoning about Preference Dynamics is an innovative and unusually well-written account of human preferences and how they change. It is a must for anyone interested in the dynamics of preferences." Sven Ove Hansson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

"This nice book presents a survey of preference logics and preference dynamics, very much state-of-the-art, and Fenrong Liu is extremely well-informed about the relevant literature. She has a remarkable talent on how to restrict herself to the essentials, in order to convey the message and produce something very readable." Hans van Ditmarsch, University of Sevilla, Spain