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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology and methodology

To: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 14:40:17 -0500
Message-id: <p06230903c225e790dfc1@[]>
>Natural languages are important, but tiny compared to the
>enormous amount of information organisms receive from all other
>kinds of signs.
>PH> A bacterium can respond to signs? What language do they speak?
>Bacteria ... have a rich
>system of responses to a wide range of signs, which include chemicals
>of various kinds, physical contact, temperature, etc.    (01)

Wait. Why do you call these 'signs'? What makes a physical attribute 
into a 'sign'? If anything at all can be a sign, the category is 
meaningless. If it is a sign if it produces a reaction in some living 
thing, why do you exclude viruses? They react to their environment in 
various ways. You describe the interaction between a cell and a virus 
in terms that make the cell be the agent, but this is merely 
word-play. You could just as easily say that the virus (cleverly) 
tricks the (dumb, mindless) cell into ingesting it. But none of this 
intentional talk is appropriate at this scale.    (02)

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