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OFAI-TR-94-20 ( 55kB g-zipped PostScript file)

Symbol Grounding and Transcendental Logic

Erich Prem

Symbol Grounding tries to answer the question as to how it is possible for a computer program to use symbols which are not arbitrarily interpretable. Whereas the signs in conventional programs are just ``parasitic on the meaning in our heads'', grounded symbols should possess at least some ``intrinsic meaning.'' This paper gives a brief overview of what Symbol Grounding is and summarizes some of today's connectionist Symbol Grounding models. Instead of concentrating on cognitive linguistics, we try to present an alternative view of Symbol Grounding. Our analysis reveals that Symbol Grounding is in fact the endeavour of automated model construction. Although it originated in a somewhat anti-formal spirit it is (necessarily) full of parallels to classical symbolic logic. We present our view that Symbol Grounding is in fact a connectionist version of transcendental logic, which is the basis for generating formal models of non-formal domains. Such formalizations are inherently logical, though not only based on formal but also on material truth conditions.

Citation: Prem E.: Symbol Grounding and Transcendental Logic, in Niklasson L. & Boden M.(eds.), Current Trends in Connectionism, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, p. 271-282, 1995.