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Re: [ontolog-forum] Role of definitions (Remember the poor human)

To: "Olken, Frank" <folken@xxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2007 14:03:01 -0600
Message-id: <p0623090ac1f91a9691b5@[]>
>The problem is that in some areas (mathematics especially) one may have
>a collection of axioms which
>taken together specify the "definitions" of several "concepts",
>  but are difficult to disentangle.    (01)

Quick comment: not mathematics *especially*. This situation is almost 
universal. For example, suppose you try to define 'mountain', you 
will probably use notions like 'rock' and 'height' and so on, all of 
which have 'definitions' which involve other concepts which have 
'definitions' , etc. etc.. The result is more like a single connected 
web of axioms with clusters in some places, than a neat set of 
isolated definitions. Dictionary writers face this issue every day, 
and try to avoid ludicrously short definitional loops, but they know 
they cannot avoid all loops.    (02)

Pat    (03)

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