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Inference Engine


Gnosiogenesis is the attempt to generate a pioneering model of a Philosophical base with re-usable Knowledge. Such a system consists in the creation of a Knowledge-Base containing philosophical theses, and Logic-Rules which manipulate these theses in order to generate logical consequences from them.

In Gnosiogenesis the knowledge base will itself create the paths of reasoning for deriving conclusions from the philosophical theses stored in the knowledge base. By means of this information the user will be able to detect new interrelations between the philosophical arguments (that is, to see connections between the arguments which have not been noticed even by the philosophers who have created the knowledge base). The computer would also be able to construct new arguments in response to specific questions of the individual user, and to select and present the information about European philosophy in an unpredictable and hopefully stimulating way. The arguments of a philosophical theory in the knowledge base will be represented in first-order logic, with the possibility of using a syntax to that of the programming language Prolog.

Gnosiogenesis will bring together two independently developing techniques: the argument analysis being developed by Project Archelogos and Elenchos (The University of Edinburgh), and artificial intelligence techniques such as the knowledge base system (KBS) developed by King's College London. The collaboration of the Centre des Recherches Philologiques (France) will ensure the innovative developments in the philosophical analysis and the artificial intelligence techniques do not distort the spirit of the European cultural heritage but remain faithful to the texts.

The pioneering reasoning system of management of the European philosophical heritage to be developed by Gnosiogenesis can be used for the presentation of any philosophy. Users will be able to create annotated arguments in first-order logic an organise them in personal knowledge bases - creating personal projects. This system will be able to answer queries, carry out analyses of arguments, and support reasoning about arguments such as hypothesis testing, and exploration of alternative interpretations. King's College London will be responsible for developing the knowledge base system (KBS), its integration with a database system and the remote availability of a theorem prover where conclusions can be checked from the knowledge base.

Arguments can optionally be encoded in a language with syntax similar to Prolog, thus being also accessible to users with little knowledge of first-order logic. The addition of labels to the arguments will allow for easier structuring of the knowledge, a natural language description of their content and for multiple versions (interpretations) of arguments to co-exist. The same language will also serve as the metalanguage in which philosophers will be able to formulate queries and analyses of arguments. In its first application this knowledge base system will be used for the presentation of Plato's theory of Forms. Scholars from Project Archelogos and the Philosophy Department of Edinburgh University, will be responsible for the analysis of Plato's philosophical arguments about moral virtue, and the Idea of the Good, which will be stored in the knowledge base system.

The system will be fully accessible over the Internet. Users can register with the system and create their own personal knowledge bases or use the pre-defined ones.

Gnosiogenesis is the natural complement of Project Elenchos. For the first time the computer will be used in such broad scale to determine the conceptual links of the stored philosophical information from the European heritage.

Further, it will enable users to structure the presentation of the information, responding to individual preferences and interests of both expert and the non-specialists. Project Elenchos has educational advantages, insofar as it gives the designer of the database the control in the interactive exchange between user and computer.

In Gnosiogenesis the designer loses this control, passing it over to the computer (!), in exchange for a multiplicity of ways of presenting information suited to their interests.



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