The role of roles in translating across conceptual systems

Goldstone, R. L., & Rogosky, B. J. (2002). The role of roles in translating across conceptual systems, Proceedings of the Twenty-fourth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.  Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.  (pp. 369-374).

According to an “external grounding” theory of meaning, a concept’s meaning depends on its connection to the external world.  By a “conceptual web” account, a concept’s meaning depends on its relations to other concepts within the same system.  We explore one aspect of meaning, the identification of matching concepts across systems (e.g. people, theories, or cultures).  We present a computational algorithm called ABSURDIST (Aligning Between Systems Using Relations Derived Inside Systems for Translation) that uses only within-system similarity relations to find between-system translations.  While illustrating the sufficiency of a conceptual web account for translating between systems, simulations of ABSURDIST also indicate powerful synergistic interactions between intrinsic, within-system information and extrinsic information.  Applications of the algorithm to issues in object recognition, shape analysis, automatic translation, human analogy and comparison making, pattern matching, neural network interpretation, and statistical analysis are described.

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