Higher order unification is a way of combining information (or equivalently, solving equations) expressed as terms of a typed higher order logic. A suitably restricted form of the notion has been used as a simple and perspicuous basis for the resolution of the meaning of elliptical expressions and for the interpretation of some non-compositional types of comparative construction also involving ellipsis. This paper explores another area of application for this concept in the interpretation of sentences containing intonationally marked focus, or (...) various semantic constructs which are sensitive to focus.Similarities and differences between this approach, and theories using alternative semantics, structured meanings, or flexible categorial grammars, are described. The paper argues that the higher order unification approach offers descriptive advantages over these alternatives, as well as the practical advantage of being capable of fairly direct computational implementation. (shrink)
The existential proposition is treated as the unit of meaning in this analysis of cognitive meaning; the notion of a physical field is the principle ingredient in the analysis. Such problems as meaning, reference, belief, and the unity of a judgment are also discussed in the light of contemporary logic and the psychology of perception. Stephen Pepper contributes a helpful introduction to this short but perspicacious work.--G. B.
The basis of science is the hypothetico-deductive method and the recording of experiments in sufficient detail to enable reproducibility. We report the development of Robot Scientist "Adam," which advances the automation of both. Adam has autonomously generated functional genomics hypotheses about the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and experimentally tested these hypotheses by using laboratory automation. We have confirmed Adam's conclusions through manual experiments. To describe Adam's research, we have developed an ontology and logical language. The resulting formalization involves over 10,000 different (...) research units in a nested treelike structure, 10 levels deep, that relates the 6.6 million biomass measurements to their logical description. This formalization describes how a machine contributed to scientific knowledge. (shrink)
The complex-systems approach to cognitive science seeks to move beyond the formalism of information exchange and to situate cognition within the broader formalism of energy flow. Changes in cognitive performance exhibit a fractal (i.e., power-law) relationship between size and time scale. These fractal fluctuations reflect the flow of energy at all scales governing cognition. Information transfer, as traditionally understood in the cognitive sciences, may be a subset of this multiscale energy flow. The cognitive system exhibits not just a single power-law (...) relationship between fluctuation size and time scale but actually exhibits many power-law relationships, whether over time or space. This change in fractal scaling, that is, multifractality, provides new insights into changes in energy flow through the cognitive system. We survey recent findings demonstrating the role of multifractality in (a) understanding atypical developmental outcomes, and (b) predicting cognitive change. We propose that multifractality provides insights into energy flows driving the emergence of cognitive structure. (shrink)
Readers of TopiCS are invited to join a debate about the utility of ideas and methods of complexity science. The topics of debate include empirical instances of qualitative change in cognitive activity and whether this empirical work demonstrates sufficiently the empirical flags of complexity. In addition, new phenomena discovered by complexity scientists, and motivated by complexity theory, call into question some basic assumptions of conventional cognitive science such as stable equilibria and homogeneous variance. The articles and commentaries that appear in (...) this issue also illustrate a new debate style format for topiCS. (shrink)
The commentators expressed concerns regarding the relevance and value of non-computational non-symbolic explanations of cognitive performance. But what counts as an “explanation” depends on the pre-theoretical assumptions behind the scenes of empirical science regarding the kinds of variables and relationships that are sought out in the first place, and some of the present disagreements stem from incommensurate assumptions. Traditional cognitive science presumes cognition to be a decomposable system of components interacting according to computational rules to generate cognitive performances (i.e., component-dominant (...) dynamics). We assign primacy to interaction-dominant dynamics among components. Though either choice can be a good guess before the fact, the primacy of interactions is now supported by much recent empirical work in cognitive science. Consequently, in the main, the commentators have failed so far to address the growing evidence corroborating the theory-driven predictions of complexity science. (shrink)
Karen Spärck Jones produced over 200 publications, including nine books, in her long research career. She received many awards and honours, including the Association for Computing Machinery Salton Award in 1988; the American Society for Information Science and Technology Award of Merit in 2002; and the joint Association for Computing Machinery and Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Allen Newell Award in 2007. Karen also worked hard to try to improve the position of women in computing and to attract (...) more women to the discipline. She was a founder member of the ‘women@cl’ network based at the Computer Laboratory and was always unstinting with her time when women students and researchers asked her advice. (shrink)
According to Jonathan Lowe's ‘Personal Agency’, free actions begin with a volition or act of will, which is itself a freely performed action. However, Lowe's explanation of why volitions are free actions is viciously circular: he argues that volitions qualify as free actions because they are rationally explicable, but claims that an action can only be rationally explicable if it is freely performed.