This article focusses on knowledge goals, that is, the goals of a reasoner to acquire or reorganize knowledge. Knowledge goals, often expressed as questions, arise when the reasoner’s model of the domain is inadequate in some reasoning situation. This leads the reasoner to focus on the knowledge it needs, to formulate questions to acquire this knowledge, and to learn by pursuing its questions. I develop a theory of questions and of question-asking, motivated both by cognitive and computational considerations, and I discuss the theory in the context of the task of story understanding. I present a computer model of an active reader that learns about novel domains by reading newspaper stories.
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