Re: The Frame Problem

From: Harnad, Stevan (
Date: Sat Mar 08 1997 - 19:25:03 GMT

> From: Georghiu, Christos <>
> Phin, maths is a man made phenomenon, hence if you are taught only part
> of the whole, this will be the part you will be able to deal with. It's
> like making up a game, not telling you all the rules and expecting you
> to be able to play it. Having some grasp of maths however it would
> probably be possible for you to grasp the problems and work out the
> meaning of the symbols given enough time and practice. So in a way I
> believe it is similar to the frame problem but does not indicate that
> we are cognitively bound by a "frame", just that we do not possess
> knowledge of all man made rule systems. Another example not being able
> to automatically understand all languages, you still have the ability
> to learn, so expand your "frame".

The reason it is symbol systems that have Frame Problems and not people
is NOT that people know it all; they don't. But the peculiarity of
the Frame Problem is that it keeps erupting for systems whose only form
of "knowledge" is symbols and symbol-manipulating rules (algorithms).

Such symbol systems are "brittle" in a way that we are not: How often
does it happened that you make a mistake that doesn't just amount to
getting something wrong on that occasion, but a mistake that makes
everything you have said and done up to that point wrong: a systematic
misunderstanding (or, rather NONunderstanding) to which we had
mistakenly given the benefit of the doubt (by interpreting it as

The reason is that our knowledge is not just symbolic; it's grounded
in sensorimotor interactions with the world of objects that our
knowledge is about.

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