Concept formation: A complex adaptative approach

Theoria 9 (1):89-108 (1994)
Abstract
Concept formation is complex cognitive phenomenon which has been only partially modelIed in Cognitive Psychology and AI. Following a detailed and critical evaluation of such models we conclude that their main shortcoming of not being able to explain the nature of the semantics of concepts is because they fail to take into account the role of learning in concept formation. As a radical alternative it is proposed that a more (semantically) complete model would necessarily have to give an account of how concepts are formed as a result of agent-environment interaction, that is mediated by an agents action in its environment and feedback from it. Such a shift in focus renders the investigation of the nature of concept formation as a complex and dynamic adaptive system. In accordance with this shift in perspective we propose and describe a novel methodological approach and a computational model that would support simple concept formation in an autonomous agent, which enables us to investigate concept formation in a more comprehensive manner. Overall we provide a compelling justification of the efficacy of such an ecological approach to the study of concept formation
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