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Thinking as ComputationA First Course$
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Hector J. Levesque

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016995

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016995.001.0001

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A Procedure for Thinking

A Procedure for Thinking

(p.23) 2 A Procedure for Thinking
Thinking as Computation

Levesque Hector J.

The MIT Press

Chapter 1 showed that simple forms of thinking could be profitably understood as drawing conclusions from a large collection of sentences called a knowledge base. Leibniz's idea was that the rules of logic would tell how to manipulate these symbolic structures representing propositions the same way that the rules of arithmetic tell how to manipulate symbolic structures representing numbers. This chapter examines this symbolic manipulation as a computational procedure known as back-chaining. Section 2.1 looks at the types of sentences included in the knowledge base and introduces a small example. Section 2.2 examines the notion of logical entailment in a bit more detail. Section 2.3 presents the back-chaining procedure. Section 2.4 looks at some complex behavior of back-chaining involving variables. Section 2.5 summarizes very briefly what is good and less good about this procedure for thinking.

Keywords:   back-chaining, knowledge base, thinking, computational procedure

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