On the foundations of perceptial symbol systems: Specifying embodied representations via connectionism

D.W Joyce, L.V Richards, A Cangelosi, K.R Coventry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Embodied theories of cognition propose that symbol systems are analogue (e.g. Barsalou, 1999; Glenberg, 1997), as opposed to the classicist view that they are
amodal e.g. Newell and Simon (1976), Fodor (1998). The fundamental problem of symbol grounding (Harnad, 1990) is resolved in embodied theories by admitting only theories of symbolic representation that are grounded in
the perceptual system’s representation (rather than by reference or mapping of amodal symbols through the sensory systems of the agent). These are often called analogical representations (Mandler, 1998). Barsalou’s (1999) proposal for perceptual symbol systems (PSS) provides just such a framework for how analogue symbols might come into being, but remains agnostic on the implementation of these PSSs. In this paper, we advance an implementation of PSSs which might fill this explanatory gap. We provide descriptions, an
implementation and results from a model and its consequences for Barsalou’s theory and embodied representations generally. We constrain our model to the
visual modality, but without loss of generality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Logic of Cognitive Systems. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Cognitive Modelling
EditorsF Dretje, D Dorner, H Schaub
Place of PublicationBamberg, Germany
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Cite this