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Natural Recursion Doesn’t Work That Way: Automata in Planning and Syntax

  • Cem BozşahinEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 376)

Abstract

Natural recursion in syntax is recursion by linguistic value, which is not syntactic in nature but semantic. Syntax-specific recursion is not recursion by name as the term is understood in theoretical computer science. Recursion by name is probably not natural because of its infinite typeability. Natural recursion, or recursion by value, is not species-specific. Human recursion is not syntax-specific. The values on which it operates are most likely domain-specific, including those for syntax. Syntax seems to require no more (and no less) than the resource management mechanisms of an embedded push-down automaton (EPDA). We can conceive EPDA as a common automata-theoretic substrate for syntax, collaborative planning, i-intentions, and we-intentions. They manifest the same kind of dependencies. Therefore, syntactic uniqueness arguments for human behavior can be better explained if we conceive automata-constrained recursion as the most unique human capacity for cognitive processes.

Keywords

Recursion Syntax Planning Mind and computation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to PT-AI reviewers and the audience at Oxford, İstanbul, and Ankara, and to Julian Bradfield, Aravind Joshi, Simon Kirby, Vincent Müller, Umut Özge, Geoffrey Pullum, Aaron Sloman, Mark Steedman, and Language Evolution and Computation Research Unit (LEC) at Edinburgh University, for comments and advice. I am to blame for all errors and for not heeding good advice. This research is supported by the GRAMPLUS project granted to Edinburgh University, EU FP7 Grant #249520.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cognitive Science DepartmentThe Informatics Institute, Middle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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