Goals, as typically conceived in AI planning, provide an insufficient basis for choice of action, and hence are deficient as the sole expression of an agent's objectives. Decision-theoretic utilities offer a more adequate basis, yet lack many of the computational advantages of goals. We provide a preferential semantics for goals that grounds them in decision theory and preserves the validity of some, but not all, common goal operations performed in planning. This semantic account provides a criterion for verifying the design of goal-based planning strategies, thus providing a new framework for knowledge-level analysis of planning systems. Planning to achieve goals In the predominant AI planning paradigm, planners construct plans designed to produce states satisfying particular conditions called goals. Each goal represents a partition of possible states of the world into those satisfying and those not satisfying the goal. Though planners use goals to guide their reasoning, the crude b...
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In Proceedings of the National Conference on Artificial Intelligence