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Re: [ontolog-forum] ambiguity interferes with

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 20:17:45 -0500
Message-id: <45F358B9.9000902@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Debbie,    (01)

Ambiguity is inevitable.    (02)

It sometimes causes trouble.  For certain special cases,
it is possible to create artificial languages that
eliminate ambiguity -- but *only* for those special cases.    (03)

It is not possible to eliminate ambiguity, because that
would also freeze science, engineering, business, art, and
*life* in a static, unalterable toy universe that endlessly
repeats its preset moves -- like a computer program.    (04)

See the following abstract and paper.    (05)

________________________________________________    (06)

Source: http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/dynonto.htm    (07)

A Dynamic Theory of Ontology    (08)

John F. Sowa    (09)

Abstract.  Natural languages are easy to learn by infants, they can 
express any thought that any adult might ever conceive, and they 
accommodate the limitations of human breathing rates and short-term 
memory.  The first property implies a finite vocabulary, the second 
implies infinite extensibility, and the third implies a small upper 
bound on the length of phrases.  Together, they imply that most words in 
a natural language will have an open-ended number of senses  ambiguity 
is inevitable.  Peirce and Wittgenstein are two philosophers who 
understood that vagueness and ambiguity are not defects in language, but 
essential properties that enable it to accommodate anything and 
everything that people need to say.  In analyzing the ambiguities, 
Wittgenstein developed his theory of language games, which allow words 
to have different senses in different contexts, applications, or modes 
of use.  Recent developments in lexical semantics, which are remarkably 
compatible with the views of Peirce and Wittgenstein, are based on the 
recognition that words have an open-ended number of dynamically changing 
and context-dependent microsenses. The resulting flexibility enables 
natural languages to adapt to any possible subject from any perspective 
for any humanly conceivable purpose. To achieve a comparable level of 
flexibility with formal ontologies, this paper proposes an organization 
with a dynamically evolving collection of formal theories, systematic 
mappings to formal concept types and informal lexicons of natural 
language terms, and a modularity that allows independent distributed 
development and extension of all resources, formal and informal.    (010)

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