Logical foundations for belief representation

Cognitive Science 10 (4):371-422 (1986)
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Abstract
This essay presents a philosophical and computational theory of the representation of de re, de dicto, nested, and quasi-indexical belief reports expressed in natural language. The propositional Semantic Network Processing System (SNePS) is used for representing and reasoning about these reports. In particular, quasi-indicators (indexical expressions occurring in intentional contexts and representing uses of indicators by another speaker) pose problems for natural-language representation and reasoning systems, because--unlike pure indicators--they cannot be replaced by coreferential NPs without changing the meaning of the embedding sentence. Therefore, the referent of the quasi-indicator must be represented in such a way that no invalid coreferential claims are entailed. The importance of quasi-indicators is discussed, and it is shown that all four of the above categories of belief reports can be handled by a single representational technique using belief spaces containing intensional entities. Inference rules and belief-revision techniques for the system are also examined.
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