Paper: How is Meaning Grounded in Dictionary Definitions?

ACL ID W08-2003
Title How is Meaning Grounded in Dictionary Definitions?
Venue Coling 2008: Proceedings of the workshop on Speech Processing for Safety Critical Translation and Pervasive Applications
Year 2008

Meaning cannot be based on dictionary defini- tions all the way down: at some point the cir- cularity of definitions must be broken in some way, by grounding the meanings of certain words in sensorimotor categories learned from experience or shaped by evolution. This is the “symbol grounding problem”. We introduce the concept of a reachable set — a larger vo- cabulary whose meanings can be learned from a smaller vocabulary through definition alone, as long as the meanings of the smaller vocabu- lary are themselves already grounded. We pro- vide simple algorithms to compute reachable sets for any given dictionary.