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One approach to AI, the so-called logicist or symbolicist approach, represents the knowledge, belief and reasoning of sophisticated agents (including human agents) in a logic. Often, the logic used is a particularly well-understood one, namely first-order logic (FOL) [5], [2], [4]. For our dialectic it's not necessary that we discuss the technical details of FOL. (Renear himself, as his own AP-2 indicates, is familiar with FOL. In the Appendix I provide a rapid overview of FOL.) The important thing is to note that in the logicist approach to AI, a document in natural language (say a story involving betrayal, written in English) is ``compressed" to a set of formulas. In other words, the document is captured by certain jottings (though here the jottings aren't, as was the case with --, expressions in natural language). Given certain algorithms, the jottings, or formulas, can be used to reproduce the story. (For a look at some of the algorithms in question, see the chapter on language processing in [5]. For research which employs FOL jottings and these algorithms in order to construct artificial storytelling systems, see [1].) Accordingly, suppose that, in accordance with the JoPP thesis, our essay E from above is captured by a set of formulas from FOL, from which, by some algorithm A, E can be recovered. How does this view of E, and, in the general case, this view of any document, gain support from the arguments Renear cites? Let's consider the arguments in turn.

Selmer Bringsjord
Tue Apr 2 13:34:44 EST 1996