Coverage and Competency in Formal Theories: A Commonsense Theory of Memory

Andrew S. Gordon and Jerry R. Hobbs

The utility of formal theories of commonsense reasoning will depend both on their competency in solving problems and on their conceptual coverage. We argue that the problems of coverage and competency can be decoupled and solved with different methods for a given commonsense domain. We describe a methodology for identifying the coverage requirements of theories through the large-scale analysis of planning strategies, with further refinements made by collecting and categorizing instances of natural language expressions pertaining to the domain. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this methodology in identifying the representational coverage requirements of theories of the commonsense psychology of human memory. We then apply traditional methods of formalization to produce a formal first-order theory of commonsense memory with a high degree of competency and coverage.

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