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Symbol grounding: a new look at an old idea

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Symbols should be grounded, as has been argued before. But we insist that they should be grounded not only in subsymbolic activities, but also in the interaction between the agent and the world. The point is that concepts are not formed in isolation (from the world), in abstraction, or "objectively." They are formed in relation to the experience of agents, through their perceptual/motor apparatuses, in their world and linked to their goals and actions. This paper takes a detailed look at this relatively old issue, with a new perspective, aided by our work of computational cognitive model development. To further our understanding, we also go back in time to link up with earlier philosophical theories related to this issue. The result is an account that extends from computational mechanisms to philosophical abstractions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: CECS Department, University of Missouri-Columbia,Columbia, MO 65211,USA; NEC Research Institute, 4 Independence Way, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA.

Publication date: 2000-06-01

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