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Re: [ontolog-forum] {Disarmed} Reality and Truth

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 12:54:58 -0400
Message-id: <4651CEE2.1080405@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ingvar,    (01)

In that short paper, I only defined the notion of proposition in
terms of formal languages, but I certainly would extend it to
natural languages.  However, it is not possible to state a formal
definition that would apply to languages that are not formally
definable.    (02)

 > Why do you write "prefer" without any further qualifications?
 > Your definition fits only formal languages, but a notion of
 > 'proposition' is just as needed in relation to natural languages.    (03)

The extension to NLs is certainly desirable, and I would use
an informal extension of that approach.    (04)

I believe that anything that can be stated in any formal language
can also be stated with equal precision in a natural language.
The converse, however, does not hold.    (05)

Contrary to some people who are loathe to admit abstract entities
in their ontology, I have no qualms about doing so.  In fact,
every set is, in my opinion, an abstract entity.  Therefore, any
theory that admits sets has already opened the door to an infinite
number of abstract entities.  Once that step has been taken, I
see no valid reason for excluding other abstract entities as well.    (06)

Therefore, I would adopt a Peircean ontology of propositions
as abstract entities, which for formal languages, could be placed
in a one-to-one isomorphism with the equivalence classes defined
in my proposit.htm paper.    (07)

For natural languages, I would say that many clearly stated
declarative sentences express propositions, which could be
identified with the equivalence classes definable for formal
languages.  But there are many sentences of NLs for which the
propositional contents, if any, are definitely not clear.    (08)

The question of where to draw the boundary between clear and
unclear sentences is not clear, and I'd rather not get into
that issue in this forum.    (09)

John    (010)

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