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Acting Rationally: The rational Agent approach | Cognitive Science and AI

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rational agent approachActing Rationally: The rational Agent approach
Fourth and Fifth Semester | Tribhuvan University (TU)
Subject: Cognitive Science and AI | BSc.CSIT

Acting Rationally: The rational Agent approach in cognitive science
Agent is something that acts. Computer agent is expected to have following attributes:

  • Autonomous control
  • Perceiving their environment
  • Persisting over a prolonged period of time
  • Adapting to change
  • And capable of taking on another’s goal

Rational behavior: doing the right thing.
The right thing: that which is expected to maximize goal achievement, given the available information.
Rational Agent is one that acts so as to achieve the best outcome or, when there is uncertainty, the best expected outcome.

In the “laws of thought” approach to AI, the emphasis was given to correct inferences. Making correct inferences is sometimes part of being a rational agent, because one way to act rationally is to reason logically to the conclusion and act on that conclusion. On the other hand, there are also some ways of acting rationally that cannot be said to involve inference. For Example, recoiling from a hot stove is a reflex action that usually more successful than a slower action taken after careful deliberation.


  • It is more general than laws of thought approach, because correct inference is just one of several mechanisms for achieving rationality.
  • It is more amenable to scientific development than are approaches based on human behavior or human thought because the standard of rationality is clearly defined and completely general.
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