Moving the goal posts: A reply to Dawson and Piercey [Book Review]

Minds and Machines 16 (4):471-478 (2006)
Abstract
Berkeley [Minds Machines 10 (2000) 1] described a methodology that showed the subsymbolic nature of an artificial neural network system that had been trained on a logic problem, originally described by Bechtel and Abrahamsen [Connectionism and the mind. Blackwells, Cambridge, MA, 1991]. It was also claimed in the conclusion of this paper that the evidence was suggestive that the network might, in fact, count as a symbolic system. Dawson and Piercey [Minds Machines 11 (2001) 197] took issue with this latter claim. They described some lesioning studies that they argued showed that Berkeley’s (2000) conclusions were premature. In this paper, these lesioning studies are replicated and it is shown that the effects that Dawson and Piercey rely upon for their argument are merely an artifact of a threshold function they chose to employ. When a threshold function much closer to that deployed in the original studies is used, the significant effects disappear.
Keywords Artificial neural network anaylysis  Lesioning studies  Subsymbolic systems  Symbol systems
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