The Computational Metaphor and Artificial Intelligence: A Reflective Examination of a Theoretical Falsework

David M. West, Larry E. Travis


Advocates and critics of AI have long engaged in a debate that has generated a great deal of heat but little light. Whatever the merits of specific contributions to this ongoing debate, the fact that it continues points to the need for a reflective examination of the foundations of AI by its active practitioners. Following the lead of Earl MacCormac, we hope to advance such a reflective examination by considering questions of metaphor in science and the computational metaphor in AI. Specifically, we address three issues: the role of metaphor in science and AI, an examination of the computational metaphor, and an introduction to the possibility and potential value of using alternative metaphors as a foundation for AI theory.

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