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Knowledge Representation by Arthur B. Markman

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Chapter 3

Featural Representations

WHAT IS A FEATURE?

In the discussion of spatial representations in chapter 2, I pointed out that spatial representations are continuous. Points can lie arbitrarily close to each other in a representational space, and a distance between points can be calculated. That distance is then used to represent a psychological quantity like similarity or preference. A different approach to representation assumes that the elements in mental representations have discrete components often called features.

Features are a form of symbolic representation. Semiotic theorists (going back to Peirce; Buchler, 1940) have distinguished among iconic, indexical, and symbolic representations. Icons are signs (or representations) that ...

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