Minds and Machines 11 (2):197-218 (2001)

PDP networks that use nonmonotonic activation functions often produce hidden unit regularities that permit the internal structure of these networks to be interpreted (Berkeley et al., 1995; McCaughan, 1997; Dawson, 1998). In particular, when the responses of hidden units to a set of patterns are graphed using jittered density plots, these plots organize themselves into a set of discrete stripes or bands. In some cases, each band is associated with a local interpretation. On the basis of these observations, Berkeley (2000) has suggested that these bands are both subsymbolic and symbolic in nature, and has used the analysis of one network to support the claim that there are fewer differences between symbols and subsymbols than one might expect. We suggest below that this conclusion is premature. First, in many cases the local interpretation of each band is difficult to relate to the interpretation of a network's response; a more appropriate relationship only emerges when a band associated with one hidden unit is considered in the context of other bands associated with other hidden units (i.e., interpretations of distributed representations are more useful than interpretations of local representations). Second, the content that a band designates to an external observer (i.e., the interpretation assigned to a band by the researcher) can be quite different from the content that a band designates to the output units of the network itself.. We use two different network simulations – including the one described by Berkeley (2000) – to illustrate these points. We conclude that current evidence involving interpretations of nonmonotonic PDP networks actually illustrates the differences between symbolic and subsymbolic processing.
Keywords PDP   connectionism   representations   subsymbols   symbols
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1011237306312
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References found in this work BETA

On the Proper Treatment of Connectionism.Paul Smolensky - 1988 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (1):1-23.
Physical Symbol Systems.Allen Newell - 1980 - Cognitive Science 4 (2):135-83.
Reasoning.Peter C. Wason - 1966 - In B. Foss (ed.), New Horizons in Psychology. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 135-151.

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Content and Its Vehicles in Connectionist Systems.Nicholas Shea - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (3):246–269.

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