Quantification without variables in connectionism

Minds and Machines 6 (2):173-201 (1996)
Abstract
  Connectionist attention to variables has been too restricted in two ways. First, it has not exploited certain ways of doing without variables in the symbolic arena. One variable-avoidance method, that of logical combinators, is particularly well established there. Secondly, the attention has been largely restricted to variables in long-term rules embodied in connection weight patterns. However, short-lived bodies of information, such as sentence interpretations or inference products, may involve quantification. Therefore short-lived activation patterns may need to achieve the effect of variables. The paper is mainly a theoretical analysis of some benefits and drawbacks of using logical combinators to avoid variables in short-lived connectionist encodings without loss of expressive power. The paper also includes a brief survey of some possible methods for avoiding variables other than by using combinators
Keywords Variables  quantification  systematicity  combinators  reduced representations  symbolic representations  working memory  inference
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