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Epistemological Adequacy


Formalisms for representing facts about the world have to be adequate for representing the information actually available. A formalism that represented the state of the world by the positions and velocities of molecules is inadequate if the system can't observe positions and velocities, although such a formalism may be the best for deriving thermodynamic laws.

The common sense world needs a language to describe objects, their relations and their changes quite different from that used in physics and engineering. The key difference is that the information is less complete. It needs to express what is actually known that can permit a robot to determine the expected consequences of the actions it contemplates.

John McCarthy
Tue Apr 23 22:16:53 PDT 1996