Rules vs. Lists

Rob Freeman lists at
Thu Jul 3 00:29:31 UTC 2008


You seem to be implying there is already a large body of literature
addressing this.

Do you have any references for what you describe as "list-based"
systems ("more rules than examples of their application"), in
particular with reference to language?

For the system to be non-trivial the rules should be implicit in the examples.

I particularly want to think about what such a system would look like
from the point of view of the examples (e.g. surely it would mean each
example would be subject to interpretation in more than one way, a
given interpretation dependent on context, etc.)


On Wed, Jul 2, 2008 at 9:18 PM, A. Katz <amnfn at> wrote:
> Rob,
> Here is where the concept of "functional equivalence" is very helpful. If
> two ways of describing a phenomenon give the same results, then they are
> functionally equivalent. That means that in essence, they are the same --
> at least as far as results of calculation are concerned. (Considerations
> of processing limitations might show that one works better for a given
> hardware configuration than another, but that is a somewhat different
> issue.)
> Rules and lists are functionally equivalent. Logically speaking, they are
> the same.
> When there are more rules than examples of their application, we call it a
> list-based system. When there are many more examples of the application of
> a rule than different rules, then we call it a rule-based system.
> That's just about different methods of arriving at the same result, and is
> strictly a processing issue. In terms of describing the language, rather
> than the speakers, however, there is no difference. It's all the same.
> In order to appreciate this, we have to be able to distinguish the
> structure of the language from the structure of the speaker.
> Best,
>    --Aya

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