Dynamic Logics for Information and Interaction

Lecturer: Johan van Benthem

Spring 2006, Philosophy 358, Stanford

Aim of the Seminar

This seminar is about dynamic logics that describe actions and events where information flows. We will

  1. show how the ‘dynamic turn’ works for existing logics,
  2. get the larger picture in the area, 
  3. compare and connect often competing systems,
  4. get a sense of current research in 'our' environment.
There will  be some student presentations on current research interspersed with the lectures,
plus a session with paper presentations by new students at the end.

A paper for a general audience on this area: Farewell to Loneliness, and two challenge papers:
Open Problems in Logical Dynamics (to appear in 2006, Kluwer, Novosibirsk & New York).
Open Problems in Logic and Games (in Festschrift for Dov Gabbay, King's College 2005).

Two points of clarification. (a) This seminar is about the 'Dutch School' dynamic logic approach
to the analysis of various phenomena in information change. We want to show how it works,
emphasizing its compositional analysis of informational scenarios that are defined inside the
logical language, while being neutral as to the 'static base' it operates on -- and we also show
what sort of research questions it generates. But there are other approaches, such as temporal logics
of various sorts, and we make a relaxed comparison toward the end, letting All Flowers Bloom.
(b) This is a technical logic seminar, and philosophical questions about the framework are not
addressed. If you want to know the views that live deep within the heart of your teacher, you
might consult either  'Logic and the Dynamics of Information', in L. Floridi, ed., 2003,
Minds and Machines 13:4, 503–519, or the paper Epistemic Logic and Epistemology,
which just appeared in the recent 'Eight Bridges Book' edited by Vincent Hendricks.


A working knowledge of modal logic, plus some general logical sophistication.

Time and Place

Shifted from the Bulletin times! Tuesdays from 5 PM to 7 PM. Room 100–101K.


Paper on some topic dealt with in class, and perhaps a few homework assignments.

Schedule plus some background reading

Week 1    Introduction and overview

Paper on epistemic logic and dynamic logic of public announcement:
One is a Lonely Number (to appear in Logic Colloquium '02, ASL).

Week 2    Dynamic epistemic logic

Paper on dynamic-epistemic logic of general events, with Jan van Eijck
& Barteld Kooi: Logics for Communication and Change, TARK
Singapore 2005
& to appear in Information & Computation.

We mainly did the general system for event update and its main features,
leaving the common knowledge as a technical highlight for connoisseurs.

Week 3    Topological semantics for epistemic logic

Paper on topological models for epistemic logic, with Darko Sarenac:
The Geometry of Knowledge, appeared in Universal Logic 2004.

Guest presentation by Darko Sarenac: sarenac@stanford.edu.

Week 4    Preference logics

Paper on static preference languages, with Sieuwert van Otterloo & Olivier
Roy: Preference Logic, Conditionals, and Solution Concepts in Games,
to appear in a forthcoming Festschrift.

Paper on dynamic logic of preference change, with Fenrong Liu:
Dynamic Logic of Preference Upgrade, to appear in
Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics.

Guest presentation by Olivier Roy: oroy@science.uva.nl.

Week 5    Belief revision

Paper on conditional logic and belief revision by Patrick Girard:
From Onions to Broccoli: generalizing Lewis's counterfactual logic,
to appear in Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics.

Paper on dynamic DEL-style logics for belief revision:
Dynamic Logic for Belief Change.

Guest presentation by Patrick Girard: pgirard@stanford.edu.

Week 6    Probabilistic update

Paper on dynamic logic for probability update, with Jelle Gerbrandy
& Barteld Kooi: Dynamic Update of Probabilities.

Week 7    Games

See this earlier course webpage: Logic and Games.

Typical paper on dynamic logic for game solution: Rational
, to appear in International Journal of Game Theory.

Week 8    Epistemic temporal logics

Paper on common perspectives in epistemic temporal logic,
with Eric Pacuit: The Tree of Knowledge in Action.

Guest presentation by Eric Pacuit: epacuit@science.uva.nl.

Week 9    Student presentations

Paper titles (write to the authors for a copy!):
  • Kentaro Fujimoto, fujiken@stanford.edu
Los-Tarski theorems and characterizations of fragments of FOL
  • Tomohiro Hoshi, thoshi@stanford.edu
The logic of communication graphs and dynamic epistemic logic with future
  • Alistair Isaac, tokyodrifter@gmail.com
Generalizing constraint satisfaction in token PDL
  • Lindsay McLeary, lmcleary@stanford.edu
Assertions and epistemic logic
  • Leo Perry, leoperry@stanford.edu
The cardinal rules of preference
  • Shawn Standefer, shawns@stanford.edu
Modeling conversational dynamics

Course material

General material on update logics and dynamic logics of games can be found on the
web page Logic, Games and Computation at Amsterdam . You can also check my
own website under Research (and also under Teaching, for some earlier seminars).
We will post relevant documents later on on a weekly basis.

Some new questions that came up in class

  • Complete product logics for the real plane R x R.
  • How to do topological modeling for dynamic-epistemic logic?
  • Many other points have come up in the course papers.

Related events (recommended)

  • Unawareness Workshop, Stanford Business School, 28 April
  • Paris – Stanford Meeting, Philosophy Department, 8 May
  • Stanford – Berkeley Encounter, Philosophy Department, 10 May
  • Berkeley Workshop on Formal Epistemology, 25 – 28 May


Write to johan@csli.stanford.edu with comments or suggestions!