Symbolic Cognitive Science: the Basics
- Intelligence (or cognition) involves manipulating symbols
and symbol structures using rules (which are really
just symbol structures).
- Some symbols: PERSON, PERSON83, MARSHA, RED, GO, GO27, COLOR,
PHYSICAL_TRANSFER, GOER, DESTINATION
- Some symbol structures:
(GO MARSHA KROGERS)
(GO GO27 (GOER MARSHA) (DESTINATION KROGERS))
(TELL MARSHA IGOR (GO MARSHA KROGERS))
- Rules: knowledge about what to do or what to infer
under certain circumstances
Rules require variables (like ?X and ?GIVER below) so that
they can apply to many different situations; more on
if (ABOVE ?X ?Y)
then (BELOW ?Y ?X)
and (AHEAD ?X)
and (SOLID ?X)
then (TURN 90)
if (GAVE ?GIVER ?GIVEN ?RECIPIENT)
then (HAVE ?RECIPIENT ?GIVEN)
and (NOT (HAVE ?GIVER ?GIVEN))
if (GOAL (PAST_TENSE ?V))
and (ENDING ?V /D/)
then (SAY [?V + /ID/])
- Manipulating symbols and symbol structures means
pulling them apart and creating new ones by combining them
in ways prescribed by rules
Why Symbolic Cognitive Science?
- We seem to reason using symbols.
- Symbolic computational models have achieved many impressive
results (though they are very far from modeling human cognition).
- From computer science there are many results telling us
what we can do with symbolic models.
- There aren't any viable competitors. Yet.
Take me back to the Rhythm and Cognition
Last updated: 9 November 1995
Copyright 1995, The Trustees of