Concept Learning: An Information Processing Problem

Concept Learning: An Information Processing Problem

Concept Learning: An Information Processing Problem

Concept Learning: An Information Processing Problem

Excerpt

This book attempts to treat its topic, concept learning, from a "problem oriented" point of view. Concept learning is an important part of the organization of knowledge. Therefore it is worth treating in its own right; not solely as a topic in logic, a type of behavior to be derived from psychological theory, or a possible area of application for electronic computers. An attempt has been made to bring together some of the relevant material from all these fields.

To keep the book within a reasonable size, it was necessary to exercise considerable selection in including theoretical points of view and reports of particular research. Inevitably I had to use my own judgment. Therefore I had best state my own biases. I originally became interested in concept learning as a topic in psychology, somewhat later I became interested in the application of digital computer programs to inductive reasoning problems. My knowledge of symbolic logic is largely self-acquired, I can only hope that I have made an adequate presentation of the role of concepts, as conceived by some philosophers, in formal logic. With these limitations in mind, I hope that this report will be useful in correlating the efforts of many researchers who have approached the same topic in diverse ways.

This work was originally planned as a joint project with the late Sterling Professor Carl I. Hovland of Yale University. I was privileged to work with Professor Hovland, first as a student and later as a junior associate, from 1957 until his untimely death in April of 1961. He first introduced me to the study of concept learning and greatly influenced my approach to the problem. I have no doubt that, had he been able to work with me, his contribution would have been very valuable. Unfortunately, this was not to be. But my first acknowledgment must be to Carl Hovland, who, by example and direction, encouraged me to attempt a contribution of this nature.

I have been fortunate in having direct and indirect assistance from many colleagues and friends. Professor Donald Taylor of Yale University has continually supported and challenged my ideas. His support, criticisms, and encouragement have all been of great help to me.

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