A Model for Deliberation, Action, and Introspection
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This thesis investigates the problem of controlling or directing the reasoning and actions of a computer program. The basic approach explored is to view reasoning as a species of action, so that a program might apply its reasoning powers to the task of deciding what inferences to make as well as deciding what other actions to take. A design for the architecture of reasoning programs is proposed. This architecture involves self-consciousness, intentional actions, deliberate adaptations, and a form of decision-making based on dialectical argumentation. A program based on this architecture inspects itself, describes aspects of itself, and uses this self-reference and these self-descriptions in making decisions and taking actions. The program's mental life includes awareness of its own concepts, beliefs, desires, intentions, inferences, actions, and skills. All of these are represented by self-descriptions in a single sort of language, so that the program has access to all of these aspects of itself, and can reason about them in the same terms.