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Probabilistic Logic Networks: A Comprehensive Framework for Uncertain Inference

Author: Ben Goertzel

Publisher: Springer


Publish Date: November 28, 2008

ISBN-10: 387768718

Pages: 336

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

This book presents Probabilistic Logic Networks (PLN), a systematic and pragmatic framework for computationally carrying out uncertain reasoning – reasoning about uncertain data, and/or reasoning involving uncertain conclusions.We begin with a few comments about why we believe this is such an interesting and important domain of investigation.

First of all, we hold to a philosophical perspective in which “reasoning” – properly understood – plays a central role in cognitive activity. We realize that other perspectives exist; in particular, logical reasoning is sometimes construed as a special kind of cognition that humans carry out only occasionally, as a deviation from their usual (intuitive, emotional, pragmatic, sensorimotor, etc.) modes of thought. However, we consider this alternative view to be valid only according to a very limited definition of “logic.” Construed properly, we suggest, logical reasoning may be understood as the basic framework underlying all forms of cognition, including those conventionally thought of as illogical and irrational. The key to this kind of extended understanding of logic, we argue, is the formulation of an appropriately general theory of uncertain reasoning – where what is meant by the latter phrase is: reasoning based on uncertain knowledge, and/or reasoning leading to uncertain conclusions (whether from certain or uncertain knowledge). Moving from certain to uncertain reasoning opens up a Pandora’s box of possibilities, including the ability to encompass within logic things such as induction, abduction, analogy and speculation, and reasoning about time and causality.

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