The physical symbol grounding problem

This paper presents an approach to solve the symbol grounding problem within the framework of embodied cognitive science. It will be argued that symbolic structures can be used within the paradigm of embodied cognitive science by adopting an alternative definition of a symbol. In this alternative definition, the symbol may be viewed as a structural coupling between an agent's sensorimotor activations and its environment. A robotic experiment is presented in which mobile robots develop a symbolic structure from scratch by engaging in a series of language games. In this experiment it is shown that robots can develop a symbolic structure with which they can communicate the names of a few objects with a remarkable degree of success. It is further shown that, although the referents may be interpreted differently on different occasions, the objects are usually named with only one form.
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