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Workshop: Trustworthy and Socially Responsible Machine Learning

PINTO: Faithful Language Reasoning Using Prompt-Generated Rationales

Peifeng Wang · Aaron Chan · Filip Ilievski · Muhao Chen · Xiang Ren


Neural language models (LMs) have achieved impressive results on various language-based reasoning tasks by utilizing latent knowledge encoded in their own pretrained parameters. To make this reasoning process more explicit, recent works retrieve a rationalizing LM's internal knowledge by training/prompting it to generate free-text rationales, which can be used to guide task predictions made by either the same LM or a separate reasoning LM. However, rationalizing LMs require expensive rationale annotation, without any assurance that the generated rationales improve LM task performance or faithfully reflect LM decision-making.In this paper, we propose PINTO, an LM pipeline that rationalizes via prompt-based learning, and learns to faithfully reason over rationales via counterfactual regularization. First, PINTO maps out a suitable reasoning process for the task input by prompting a frozen rationalizing LM to generate a free-text rationale. Second, PINTO's reasoning LM is fine-tuned to solve the task using the generated rationale as context, while regularized to output less confident predictions when the rationale is perturbed. Across four datasets, we show that PINTO significantly improves the generalization ability of the reasoning LM, yielding higher performance on both in-distribution and out-of-distribution test sets. Also, PINTO leverages the rationales more faithfully than competitive baselines do.

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