Observations on Cognitive Judgments

David McAllester

It is obvious to anyone familiar with the rules of the game of chess that a king on an empty board can reach every square. It is true, but not obvious, that a knight can reach every square. Why is the first fact obvious but the second fact not? This paper presents an analytic theory of a class of obviousness judgments of this type. Whether or not the specifics of this analysis are correct, it seems that the study of obviousness judgments can be used to construct integrated theories of linguistics, knowledge representation, and inference.


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