Joseph Y. Halpern

Joseph Y. Halpern is Professor of Computer Science at Cornell University. He is the author of Actual Causality and the coauthor of Reasoning about Knowledge, both published by the MIT Press.

  • Reasoning about Uncertainty, Second Edition

    Reasoning about Uncertainty, Second Edition

    Joseph Y. Halpern

    Formal ways of representing uncertainty and various logics for reasoning about it; updated with new material on weighted probability measures, complexity-theoretic considerations, and other topics.

    In order to deal with uncertainty intelligently, we need to be able to represent it and reason about it. In this book, Joseph Halpern examines formal ways of representing uncertainty and considers various logics for reasoning about it. While the ideas presented are formalized in terms of definitions and theorems, the emphasis is on the philosophy of representing and reasoning about uncertainty. Halpern surveys possible formal systems for representing uncertainty, including probability measures, possibility measures, and plausibility measures; considers the updating of beliefs based on changing information and the relation to Bayes' theorem; and discusses qualitative, quantitative, and plausibilistic Bayesian networks.

    This second edition has been updated to reflect Halpern's recent research. New material includes a consideration of weighted probability measures and how they can be used in decision making; analyses of the Doomsday argument and the Sleeping Beauty problem; modeling games with imperfect recall using the runs-and-systems approach; a discussion of complexity-theoretic considerations; the application of first-order conditional logic to security. Reasoning about Uncertainty is accessible and relevant to researchers and students in many fields, including computer science, artificial intelligence, economics (particularly game theory), mathematics, philosophy, and statistics.

    • Paperback $65.00 £55.00
  • Actual Causality

    Actual Causality

    Joseph Y. Halpern

    A new approach for defining causality and such related notions as degree of responsibility, degrees of blame, and causal explanation.

    Causality plays a central role in the way people structure the world; we constantly seek causal explanations for our observations. But what does it even mean that an event C “actually caused” event E? The problem of defining actual causation goes beyond mere philosophical speculation. For example, in many legal arguments, it is precisely what needs to be established in order to determine responsibility. The philosophy literature has been struggling with the problem of defining causality since Hume.

    In this book, Joseph Halpern explores actual causality, and such related notions as degree of responsibility, degree of blame, and causal explanation. The goal is to arrive at a definition of causality that matches our natural language usage and is helpful, for example, to a jury deciding a legal case, a programmer looking for the line of code that cause some software to fail, or an economist trying to determine whether austerity caused a subsequent depression.

    Halpern applies and expands an approach to causality that he and Judea Pearl developed, based on structural equations. He carefully formulates a definition of causality, and building on this, defines degree of responsibility, degree of blame, and causal explanation. He concludes by discussing how these ideas can be applied to such practical problems as accountability and program verification. Technical details are generally confined to the final section of each chapter and can be skipped by non-mathematical readers.

    • Hardcover $50.00 £40.00
    • Paperback $37.00 £30.00
  • Reasoning about Uncertainty

    Reasoning about Uncertainty

    Joseph Y. Halpern

    Uncertainty is a fundamental and unavoidable feature of daily life; in order to deal with uncertaintly intelligently, we need to be able to represent it and reason about it. In this book, Joseph Halpern examines formal ways of representing uncertainty and considers various logics for reasoning about it. While the ideas presented are formalized in terms of definitions and theorems, the emphasis is on the philosophy of representing and reasoning about uncertainty; the material is accessible and relevant to researchers and students in many fields, including computer science, artificial intelligence, economics (particularly game theory), mathematics, philosophy, and statistics.

    Halpern begins by surveying possible formal systems for representing uncertainty, including probability measures, possibility measures, and plausibility measures. He considers the updating of beliefs based on changing information and the relation to Bayes' theorem; this leads to a discussion of qualitative, quantitative, and plausibilistic Bayesian networks. He considers not only the uncertainty of a single agent but also uncertainty in a multi-agent framework. Halpern then considers the formal logical systems for reasoning about uncertainty. He discusses knowledge and belief; default reasoning and the semantics of default; reasoning about counterfactuals, and combining probability and counterfactuals; belief revision; first-order modal logic; and statistics and beliefs. He includes a series of exercises at the end of each chapter.

    • Hardcover $62.00 £50.00
    • Paperback $55.00 £45.00
  • Reasoning About Knowledge

    Reasoning About Knowledge

    Ronald Fagin, Joseph Y. Halpern, Yoram Moses, and Moshe Vardi

    Reasoning about knowledge—particularly the knowledge of agents who reason about the world and each other's knowledge—was once the exclusive province of philosophers and puzzle solvers. More recently, this type of reasoning has been shown to play a key role in a surprising number of contexts, from understanding conversations to the analysis of distributed computer algorithms. Reasoning About Knowledge is the first book to provide a general discussion of approaches to reasoning about knowledge and its applications to distributed systems, artificial intelligence, and game theory. It brings eight years of work by the authors into a cohesive framework for understanding and analyzing reasoning about knowledge that is intuitive, mathematically well founded, useful in practice, and widely applicable. The book is almost completely self-contained and should be accessible to readers in a variety of disciplines, including computer science, artificial intelligence, linguistics, philosophy, cognitive science, and game theory. Each chapter includes exercises and bibliographic notes.

    • Hardcover $75.00 £62.00
    • Paperback $60.00 £50.00