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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology, Information Models and the 'Real World': C

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 02 Jun 2007 10:43:56 -0400
Message-id: <4661822C.3050009@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ingvar,    (01)

That's an important point:    (02)

> As it happens, I think the answer to my question is of practical 
> philosophical-pedagogical interest. I believe that the way introductory 
> courses in logic are usually taught - with their problems of how to 
> formalize ordinary English in propositional logic and FOL - they give 
> many students the impression that there is a hidden formal-logical 
> essence in ordinary language. If Pat is right, efforts should be made 
> in order to take such possible impressions away.    (03)

I agree with Pat that it's important to recognize that formal
languages are not natural languages, but anything expressed in
any formal language can always be paraphrased in a natural language
(but the converse is definitely not true).    (04)

But the extreme emphasis on mathematical logic in the 20th
century destroyed a valuable tradition of teaching logic and
conceptual analysis using an Aristotelian approach.    (05)

As an example, I often cite the following textbook as a useful
introduction to conceptual analysis for knowledge engineers:    (06)

    Joseph, Sister Miriam (1937) _The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of
    Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric_, Third edition 1948, reprinted
    by Paul Dry Books, 2002.    (07)

Sister Miriam Joseph taught this to freshman at St. Mary's College
for many years, and it would still be an excellent introduction
for anyone who is trying to learn RDF and OWL.    (08)

Bertrand Russell considered the traditional logic courses to be
competitors to symbolic logic, and he tried to get universities
to stop teaching them.  Unfortunately, he succeeded.  But instead
of teaching symbolic logic, they don't teach any required courses
on logic.    (09)

For 600 years, every university graduate took a course on logic
at the level of Sister Miriam Joseph's (or Peter of Spain's).
Now, a tiny minority of students have gone much farther with
symbolic logic, but the overwhelming majority of students take
no courses on logic of any kind.  And it shows.    (010)

John    (011)

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