[Teaching Staff | Overview | Schedule & Readings | Grading | Notes/Handouts]

Quarter: Spring
Instructor: Yoav Shoham
Meeting Times: Mondays, 2:15PM - 4:05PM
First Class: Monday, March 29
Location: Y2E2111


Homework 3 is now available. It is due on May 26. This is also a reminder that the final paper is due on June 4 at noon. Feel free to talk to one of us about paper ideas.

Teaching Staff


Yoav Shoham
Email: shoham AT stanford DOT edu
Office Hours: By Arrangement
Office: Gates 140


Thomas Icard
Email: icard AT stanford DOT edu
Office Hours: By Arrangement
Office: Building 100, Room 102K


Course Description: This course looks at the use of modal, temporal and dynamic logics to reason about knowledge, belief, their dynamics, agency and intention, and some aspects of game theory. Many of the course readings come from the Multiagent Systems textbook, which is available online.

Note that the course is not intended as a general introduction to knowledge representation. A more descriptive course title would have been "Rationality and (Mostly Modal) Logic". Administratively, the course is 3 units and is the merging of two courses, CS 222 and Phil 358. (You can register for either, and the requirements are the same regardless.)
Course Material: Specific topics that will be introduced during the course include 1. logics of knowledge and belief, 2. information dynamics and belief revision, 3. preference, and logic and game theory, 4. logics of individual and collective action, and 5. logics of motivational mental attitudes,.
Prerequisites: Required background is knowledge of propositional and first-order logic. Familiarity with modal logic is a plus, but not a requirement: we will try to set up sections providing the necessary background.

Recitation Sessions

Recitation sessions will be on Wednesday from 2:15 to 3:05 in 260-004. The topic for each session will be announced in class on Monday.

Schedule & Readings

Below is a tentative schedule with the required readings. We will continually update the schedule and reading material as the course proceeds.
Course Schedule
Date Lecture Topic Reading
3/29 Introduction to the course, basic modal logic, epistemic logic S5.
4/5 Multiagent epitemic logic: common knowledge, distributed knowledge, etc.
4/12 Logics of Belief: KD45, and combinations of knowledge and belief.
4/19 Belief dynamics: belief revision, belief update, nonmonotonic logics, and probabilistic models
4/21 Iterated Belief Revision
  • Robert Stalnaker (2009). Iterated Belief Revision, Erkenntnis (pdf).
4/26 Time, action, and agency
  • Nuel Belnap (1991). Backwards and Forwards in the Modal Logic of Agency, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (pdf).
  • Yves Lespérance et al. (2000). Ability and Knowing How in the Situation Calculus, Studia Logica (pdf).
  • Brian Chellas (1992). Time and Modality in the Logic of Agency, Studia Logica (pdf).
  • Governatori and Rotolo (2005). On the Axiomatization of Elgesem's Logic of Agency and Ability, Journal of Philosophical Logic (pdf).
  • Gerhard Lakemeyer (forthcoming). The Situation Calculus: A Case for Modal Logic, Journal of Logic, Language, and Information.
5/3 Dynamic Logic, Epistemic actions, Public Announcements, and Dynamic Epistemic Logic
  • Chapters 3 and 4 of Logical Dynamics of Interaction and Information, Johan van Benthem (forthcoming CUP).
5/10 (No class)
5/17 Preferences and Game Theory.
  • Johan van Benthem, Patrick Girard, and Olivier Roy (2009). All Else Being Equal: A Modal Logic for Ceteris Paribus Preferences, Journal of Philosophical Logic. (pdf).
  • Johan van Benthem (2007). Rational Dynamics and Epistemic Logic in Games, International Game Theory Review 9(1), pags 13-45. (pdf)
5/24 Group ability and coalitional game theory
5/26 Intention
5/4 Reasoning about preferences
5/11 Epistemic dynamics: dynamic epistemic logic, epistemic temporal logic, belief change, preference change
  • Johan van Benthem and Eric Pacuit (2006), The tree of knowledge in aciton in: Advances in Modal Logic (pdf)
  • Johan van Benthem, Chapter 6: Soft Information, Self-Correction and Belief Change in: Logical Dynamics of Information and Interaction, forthcoming (pdf)
  • Johan van Benthem (2008) For Better or for Worse: Dynamic Logics of Preference, ILLC Tech Report (pdf)
5/25 No Classes (Memorial Day)
6/1 Logic and game theory
(Lecturer: Johan van Benthem)
  • Johan van Benthem, Chapter 9: Decision, Actions and Games in: Logical Dynamics of Information and Interaction, forthcoming (pdf)

Additional Reading Material

Below is a list of some additional reading material related to some of the topics we will discuss in this course. This is not a complete list of all relevant material, but a reasonably large sampling.
  • We focus on Chapter 13 & 14 in this class, but there is other material relevant for this course in the book.
  • A modern introduction to modal logic.
    • Patrick Balckburn and Johan van Benthem, A Semantic Introduction to Modal Logic in: Handbook of Modal Logic, P. Blackburn, J. van Bentem and F. Wolter editors, Elsevier, 2007 (pdf)
  • Notes on basic modal logic from Phil 151.
    • Eric Pacuit, Notes on Modal Logic (pdf)
  • An essay bringing together many of the themes discussed in this course.
    • Johan van Benthem, Information Dynamics, Rational Agency and Intelligent Interaciton Chapter 1 in Logical Dynamics of Information and Interaction, forthcoming
  • A textbook focused on epistemic logic.
  • A recent textbook focused on many of the issues we discussed in this course.
  • A paper which provides an relatively up-to-date survey of the literature on BDI models.
    • W. van der Hoek and M. Wooldridge, Towards a logic of rational agency, Logic Journal of the IGPL, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 133-157 (pdf)


Everyone will complete a final paper, of 5-8 pages, on some topic related to the course. It is due June 4 at noon.

Attendance and participation in class will contribute toward the final grade. Attendance in recitation sessions is obligatory, to the extent that students will be held resonsible for (new) material covered. It will be announced in class on Mondays what the recitation that week will cover.

There will also be three homework assignments, distributed throughout the quarter. The homework collectively will be worth the same as the final paper in calculating the course grade.


  • Homework 1 (pdf): Due April 21
  • Homework 2 (pdf): Due May 5
  • Homework 3 (pdf): Due May 26