Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Analogical Constructivism: The emergence of reasoning through analogy and action schemas
by Licato, John, Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2015, 110; 3705618
Abstract (Summary)

The ability to reason analogically is a central marker of human-level cognition. Analogy involves mapping, reorganizing, and creating structural knowledge, a particular type of cognitive construct commonly understood as residing purely within the domain of declarative knowledge. Yet existing computational models of analogy struggle to show human-level performance on any data sets not manually constructed for the purposes of demonstration, a problem referred to as the tailorability concern. Solving the tailorability concern may require more investigation into the nature of cognitive structures, defined as those elements in mental representation which are referred to whenever contemporary literature on analogy discusses "structured" knowledge.

I propose to develop the theory of Analogical Constructivism. This theory builds on Piaget's constructivist epistemology, first refining its concepts by clarifying the modifications Piaget himself made in his later, less-discussed works. I reconcile Piaget's assertion that meaning is, first and foremost, rooted in the action schemas that the agent is both born with and develops throughout life, with an account of cognitive structure, concluding that cognitive structure is inseparable from action-centered/procedural knowledge.

After a defense of the claim that cognitive structure cannot exist apart from actions (a claim which I refer to as "No-semantically-empty-structure"), I introduce PAGI World, a simulation environment rich enough in possible actions to foster the growth of artificial agents capable of producing their own cognitive structures. I conclude with a brief demonstration of an agent in PAGI World, and discuss future work.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bringsjord, Selmer
Commitee: Bello, Paul, Hummel, John E., Nirenburg, Sergei, Sun, Ron
School: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Department: Computer Science
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cognitive psychology, Artificial intelligence, Computer science
Keywords: Action, Analogy, Cognitive architectures, Constructivism, Developmental ai, Piaget
Publication Number: 3705618
ISBN: 978-1-321-78862-4
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