Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Description: A. Characterization of singular objects or events instead of giving a name. As opposed to names descriptions are not rigid, i.e. they may refer to different objects in different worlds. - B. Linguistic form for attributing predicates according to the perceptions of objects. See also rigidity, theory of descriptions.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

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Marvin Minsky on Descriptions - Dictionary of Arguments

I 133
Description/planning/Minsky: How could we capture what's common to so many things with just one single uniframe? Impossible - if we were forced to think of them in terms of [e.g.] blocks and how they're placed.
Solution: reformulation: We started by using a language that was based on expressing the precise shapes of individual blocks. We replaced this by another language in which we can speak of shapes and outlines that are not confined to those of the blocks themselves. How do people find new styles of description that make their problems seem easier? >Creativity/Minsky, >Definitions/Minsky.
I 142
What can we do when we can't solve a problem? We can try to find a new way to look at it, to describe it in different terms. Reformulation is the most powerful way to attempt to escape from what seems to be a hopeless situation.
How do we reformulate? Each new technique presumably begins by exploiting methods already learned in other, older agencies. So new ideas often have roots in older ones, adapted for new purposes.
[E.g.] (…) the body-support idea seems so universal. It is not merely a matter of physical support: the more profound idea is that of building a mental bridge between a thing and a purpose. This is why bridge-definitions are so useful: they help us connect structural descriptions to psychological goals. But the point is that it is not enough just to link together descriptions from two different worlds (…).
Solution: This is where the body-support representation helps us to classify our knowledge. The body represents those parts of a structure that serve as the direct instrument for reaching the goals and the support represents all the other features that merely serve that instrument.
Function: To understand how something works, it helps to know how it can fail.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Minsky I
Marvin Minsky
The Society of Mind New York 1985

Minsky II
Marvin Minsky
Semantic Information Processing Cambridge, MA 2003

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-06-17
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