The Co-Constructed Logic Framework for Understanding Children’s Acts and Their Intentions


  • Hongya Fan Shanxi University
  • Zeshan Ren Shanxi University



abduction, natural language understanding, coherence relation, visual question answering


With the characteristics of the nonmonotonic logic and defeasible inference, abductive reasoning has been formalized in the field of artificial intelligence, dealing with the local pragmatics (e.g., the resolution of coreference, resolving syntactic and lexical ambiguity and interpreting metonymy and metaphor), recognizing discourse structure and even the speaker’s plan and other issues for natural language understanding. However, Hobbs’ analysis of abduction in recognizing the speaker’s plan was conducted only from the point of view of the verbal information processing that the listener does. To demonstrate the collaborative way that conversational partners working together to understand the logic of human acts and their intentions, this article analyzes the two conversations about the parents questioning their children’s intention for their acts with an abductive reasoning method. The results show that children and parents co-construct segments of discourse with coherence relations across several conversational turns, by that way they build together a simplified framework for understanding the logic of human acts and their intention. For example, when the father and his children co-constructed coherent segments of discourse with the result relation between them, they completed the particular intention understanding at the same time. This research helps in enriching the logic structure of artificial intelligence applications such as visual question answering models and enhancing their reasoning abilities.

Author Biographies

Hongya Fan, Shanxi University

School of Foreign Languages

Zeshan Ren, Shanxi University

School of Foreign Languages


Davis Ernest. (2005). Knowledge and Communication: A first-order theory. Artificial Intelligence, 166 (1): 81-139.

Gordon Andrew S. (2004). The representation of planning strategies. Artificial Intelligence, 153(1):287-305.

Hobbs, Jerry R. (2008). “Abduction in natural language understanding.” In L. R. Horn and Gregory Ward, The Handbook of Pragmatics. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 724-741.

Hobbs Jerry R, Sagae Alicia, and Wertheim Suzanne. (2012). Toward a commonsense theory of microsociology: Interpersonal relationships. In Proceeding of the Seventh International Conference (FOIS 2012), Graz, Austria. Amsterdam: IOS Press. 249-262

Hobbs Jerry R. and Mulker-Mehta Rutu. (2013). Toward as formal theory of information structure. In Bernd-Olaf Kuppers, Udo Hahn, and Stefan Artmann (eds.), Evolution of Semantic Systems. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 101-126

Hobbs, Jerry R and Gordon Andrew S. (2014) Axiomatizing complex concepts from fundamentals (invited paper). In Conference on Intelligent Text Processing and Computational Linguistics (CICLing 2014), Kathmandu, Nepal. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.341-365

Hobbs, Jerry R. (2017). A Formal Theory of Commonsense Psychology—how people think people think. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kehler Andrew. (2008). “Discourse Coherence.” In L. R. Horn and Gregory Ward, The Handbook of Pragmatics. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 241-265.

Kehler Andrew. (2002). Coherence, Reference, and Theory of Grammar. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

Ronen I. Brafman and Carmel Domshlak. (2009). Preference handling—an introductory tutorial. AI Magazine, 30 (1): 58—86.

Scherer Klaus R. (2010). Emotion and emotional competence: Conceptual and theoretical issues for modeling agents. In A Blueprint for Affective Computing: A Sourcebook and Manual, Affective Sciences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wilkes-Gibbs, Deanna. (1986). “Collaborative Processes of Language Use in Conversation.” PhD diss., Department of Psychology, Stanford University.

Wiebe Janyce, Wilson Theresa, and Cardie Claire. (2005). Annotating expressions of opinions and emotions in language. Language Resources and Evaluation. 39 (2-3): 165-210.

William Croft and D.A. Cruse. (2004). Cognitive Linguistics (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Yang Rui, Liu Ruijun, Shi Yuqian, Li Shanxi. (2019). “A Survey of Research on Visual Question Answering Oriented to Intelligent Interaction.” Journal of Electronic Measurement and Instrumentation. 33, no. 2(Feb):117-124