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See detailInteractively converging on context-sensitive representations: a solution to the frame problem
French, Robert M; Anselme, Patrick ULg

in Revue Internationale de Philosophie (1999), 209(3), 365-385

While we agree that the frame problem, as initially stated by McCarthy and Hayes (1969), is a problem that arises because of the use of representations, we do not accept the anti-representationalist ... [more ▼]

While we agree that the frame problem, as initially stated by McCarthy and Hayes (1969), is a problem that arises because of the use of representations, we do not accept the anti-representationalist position that the way around the problem is to eliminate representations. We believe that internal representations of the external world are a necessary, perhaps even a defining feature, of higher cognition. We explore the notion of dynamically created context-dependent representations that emerge from a continual interaction between working memory, external input, and long-term memory. We claim that only this kind of representation, necessary for higher cognitive abilities such as counterfactualization, will allow the combinatorial explosion inherent in the frame problem to be avoided. Introduction You live in a tidy little suburb of America. You call up a friend and invite him to have a drink. He agrees to meet you at seven. But then, just before you hang up, he adds, 'Unless my wife has scheduled something else for this evening.' You think: that's reasonable. Then he adds, 'Unless the bar doesn't exist anymore.' You think: that's a bit strange since the bar was there three months before. Then he adds, 'Unless I'm killed on the way there.' You begin to wonder if you really want to have a drink with him. And finally, he adds, 'Unless a meteorite destroys the earth' and you suddenly remember a prior engagement. But what, exactly, makes some of these conditions perfectly reasonable, others crazy? The philosophical problem is that we cannot exclude any of them a priori because contexts do exist in which they would be perfectly appropriate remarks. For example, if the bar in question was a theme bar devoted to punk rock music, or if the conversation had occurred in London in 1942 or in Sarajevo fifty years later, or if on that day the earth happened to be passing through a dense band of meteorites the size of Madagascar.... [less ▲]

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