[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] {Disarmed} Re: OWL and lack of identifiers

To: Steve Newcomb <srn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 19:08:04 -0400
Message-id: <p06230902c252e420d210@[]>
>Waclaw Kusnierczyk <Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk@xxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
>>  Even the basic elements of logic are may not be invariants.  Take the
>>  case of FOL; various logics other than FOL extend it rather than try to
>>  modify not necessarily because FOL is invariantly correct, but because
>>  it is so firmly established.
>This is my feeling, too.  It's an awful lot to swallow, I know, but I
>think, in general, it's deeply correct to recognize, always and
>everywhere, that everything we think and do is rooted in culture.    (01)

This is either vacuous or wrong, depending on how one construes the 
meaning of 'culture'.    (02)

>  In
>our own culture, FOL is a fixture, no doubt about it.  (And I'm not
>interested in replacing it.  I just don't want to close off
>alternatives about which I currently know nothing.)    (03)

Nor do I, I assure you. But the way to advance things is to 
understand them thoroughly first, rather than burbling on in a vague 
way about how there might be other things.    (04)

>[ John Sowa:]
>>  >> Logic is the discipline that has been searching for those
>>  >> underlying invariants.  But those invariants are often
>>  >> obscured by variations in the notations and terminologies.
>[ Steve Newcomb:]
>>  > I agree that the search is vitally important, now more than ever, and
>>  > I admire your contributions to that search.  The only thing I object
>>  > to about your position is its apparent implication that there is some
>>  > higher Truth or Absoluteness (note capital letters indicating numinous
>>  > significance) in any logic or logical system -- even if it's Logic.
>I would add to my above remark that, while it's true that "variations
>in the notations and terminologies" could obscure the hoped-for
>invariants, these same cultural variations could just as easily
>obscure the fact that there are *no* invariants.    (05)

It seems however to be the case that the logic of conjunction and 
negation *is* pretty much invariant across almost all literate human 
cultures.    (06)

>  When it comes to a
>question that cannot have an objective answer    (07)

But it can, both as a question in cultural sociology and as a 
question in semiotics. Believe it or not, people have thought about 
questions like this rather carefully, in many cultures.    (08)

>, we must fall back on
>other things.  I think habits are what we fall back on, most of the
>Waclaw Kusnierczyk <Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk@xxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
>>  It is hard for us to imagine what happens within the dark holes, how
>>  there could be no time (before time 'began'), and it may just be too
>>  hard for us to imagine a world in which Logic would not be an invariant.
>>  That humans cannot imagine something is only an empirical proof of its
>>  unimaginability by humans, not of its inexistence.
>I would go even farther, adding the following emphasized words:
>    > That *some* humans cannot imagine something is only an empirical
>    > proof of its unimaginability by *those* humans, not of its
>    > inexistence.
>...or even of its unimaginability by *other* humans.    (09)

Imagination really isn't the issue here. We do not decide that (say) 
the rule of and-introduction is correct because we cannot imagine a 
world in which it is false. It is not a failure of imagination at 
work here. Rather, it is the opposite: we *can* imagine what it is to 
be a world, in a very abstract sense of 'world', and we then 
*discover* that this rule is satisfied in all of them. And in fact we 
can imagine several different notions of what it is to be a world, 
and we find that this rule is satisfied in all of them. And then we 
can see exactly what it is about a world that makes it be the case 
that this rule comes out true in all of them; a theory of 
world-satisfaction. And this theory gives us insight into *why* this 
logical rule is always satisfied; basically, it is because of the 
very meaning of 'and'.    (010)

What I just sketched above is logical semantics (followed by a brief 
observation about English semantics.) It - this theory - is a mature 
mathematical theory applied to semiotics and language analysis, a 
general account of how language relates to the world(s) it describes. 
It is not a failure of imagination. I don't even think it is 
culturally relative (unless you would claim that mathematics is 
culturally relative?)    (011)

>BTW, as happens with increasing frequency these days, my mind was just
>blown (in a happy way) by the news in the April 12 issue of _Nature_
>that there is now experimental evidence in support of an explanation
>as to how photosynthesis is 90% efficient in its capture of energy
>from photons, when the best man-made technology currently tops out at
>30%.  Evidently, a long (over 600-femtosecond) interval of quantum
>state superposition exists in a photosynthetic system during the
>capture of a photon.  During that time, the system "tries many paths
>at once", ultimately directing the photon to precisely the right place
>to exploit its energy most efficiently.  The photon doesn't stumble
>around; the system *guides* it.  Wow.
>I have a lot of trouble imagining quantum mechanical stuff, but I'm
>surely glad that some people can.    (012)

Are you referring to English QM, Japanese QM, or Indian QM? They are 
presumably rooted in different cultures.    (013)

>  I frequently benefit from what
>others *can* imagine, that I *can't* imagine.  (The invention of the
>transistor springs to mind.)  The very last thing I want to do is to
>shackle anybody's imagination, or to fail to guide imagination-energy
>toward wherever its usefulness can best be exploited.
>Humanity can best serve its own interests by supporting multiple
>cultures simultaneously, so that imagination-photons can "try many
>paths at once."  Fear of what presently-unknowable things might happen
>then must be overcome by Faith.  We need to achieve consensus that,
>whatever those presently-unknowable things might turn out to be, it
>will be much better to know them than to remain ignorant of them.  Am
>I talking about Faith in, uh, Truth?  Yes, if you like.  I think so.
>We cannot master Truth.    (014)

Im not sure what the capital letter is supposed to imply, but we 
certainly can master ordinary truth. Semantics is a (now fairly 
mature) theory of truth, in fact.    (015)

>  The smartest thing we can do is to help Truth
>master *us*.
>I think many people are deeply afraid of knowing things.  And that's
>understandable: having to adapt to some previously hidden or
>unrecognized fact can be extremely inconvenient and emotionally
>The current U.S. government will say anything that it thinks the
>voters want to hear, even if it's a complete lie.  It is constantly
>appealing to the Fears of the voters; it never asks them for Faith.
>This approach has worked spectacularly well, from the perspective of
>gaining and holding power for an 8-year period.  Extrapolating from
>the size of the Bush voter base, and the size of the Christian Right's
>radio audience, I regret to guess that at least 30% of the American
>population is deeply afraid of learning things.  (I speak about
>Americans because I know them, and not in order to single them out for
>special praise or opprobrium.  Is 30% low, or is it high, in
>comparison with other populations?  Honestly, I have no idea.  All I
>know is, I'd be a lot happier, and I'd feel *much* safer, with a
>number like 1% or 2%.)
>Peter Yim, I'm sure you're horrified that I'm saying these things in
>this forum.  Sorry.  They're 100% relevant to what we face in our
>arena.    (016)

I completely fail to see how. In fact, they don't seem to be relevant 
to anything.    (017)

>Our work cannot be ungrounded    (018)

Can you elicidate what this is supposed to mean? What constitutes 
'grounding' in this sense?    (019)

Pat Hayes
IHMC            (850)434 8903 or (650)494 3973   home
40 South Alcaniz St.    (850)202 4416   office
Pensacola                       (850)202 4440   fax
FL 32502                        (850)291 0667    cell
phayesAT-SIGNihmc.us       http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes    (020)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Subscribe/Config: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (021)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>