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Naive Physics

Categories: Problem Solving


Author(s): Helen Lowe

Naive physics identifies the core knowledge underlying commonsense physical intuition and allows the modelling of Qualitative Reasoning in explaining or predicting changes in the physical world. It is a logic-based theory based on qualitative concepts of physics and the intuitive knowledge that lay people bring to bear in attempting to make sense of their physical world and in predicting significant events in the state of that world. For example, Hayes gives a theory for liquids in First-order Logic; Allen and Kautz present a model of naive temporal reasoning for natural language understanding and problem solving. Rather than descriptions of systems in terms of algebraic formulae and differential equations, naive physics seeks to expose causal relationships and to reason about changes in physical systems. For instance, consider a physical system consisting of a bath with both taps running and the plug inserted. Without building a quantitative model in terms of rate of water flow, volume of the bath, etc. naive physics can predict that the carpet will (eventually) get wet.


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