Applying qualitative reasoning to finance
Qualitative reasoning has traditionally been applied in the domain of physical systems, where there are well established and understood laws governing the behaviour of each `component' in the system. Such application has shown that it is possible to produce models which can be used for explaining and predicting the behaviour of physical phenomena and also trouble-shooting. The principles underlying the theory ensure that the models are robust and exhibit consistent behaviour under all conditions. This research examines the validity of applying the theory in the financial domain where such laws may not exist or if they do, may not be universally applicable. In particular, it investigates how far these principles and techniques may be applied in the construction of financial analysis models. Because of the inherent differences in the nature of these two domains, it is argued that a different qualitative value system ought to be employed. The dissertation enlarges on the constraints this places on model descriptions and the effect it may have on the power and usefulness of the resulting models. It also describes the implementation of a system that investigates the implications of applying this theory by way of testing it on situations drawn from both text-books and published financial information.