[Top] [All Lists]

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

To: Waclaw Kusnierczyk <Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2007 18:34:36 -0500
Message-id: <p0623090ec28e4236c9a5@[]>
>Pat Hayes wrote:
>>>  b) From a natural language view, I might take "Pat is sleeping" to mean
>>>  something like, "please don't make to much noise, or you might wake him
>>>  up".
>>  That would be a mistake. It does not MEAN that.
>>  What it means is clear: that I am asleep.
>You may be making a serious mistake here.  What does "xhifsh" mean?    (01)

In English, nothing.    (02)

>  How
>do you know?    (03)

Because Im a native speaker of English.    (04)

>What does "He is doing that" mean?  How do you know?    (05)

Similar answers, though specifying the meaning in this case might take a while.    (06)

>  How
>do you know that "Pat is sleeping" means that you are sleeping?    (07)

Im assuming from the local context of this conversational thread that 
"Pat" refers to me. This can be inferred using normal Gricean rules.    (08)

>  How
>clear is that, really?  How clear is it that 'Pat' means you?    (09)

See above    (010)

>  How clear
>   is it that 'sleeping' means sleeping?    (011)

I take that as obvious, given the similarity in spelling. That is, 
assuming that we are using the same language (English) as we are 
describing, "foodle" means foodle and "sleeping" means sleeping, and 
so on for any character string substituted for 'foodle' in the above.    (012)

>Do you presume some context --
>e.g., that the sentence should be interpreted as a sentence in English    (013)

I was assuming that, yes, but I would not describe that as a 
'context' in any useful sense.    (014)

>-- or does "Pat is sleeping" simply (non-contextually) mean that you are
>sleeping?    (015)

In English, if "Pat" refers to me - which indeed may be said to be 
contextual in a sense in which a conversational common ground may be 
treated as a context - yes, that is what it means.    (016)

>Why did you not have any idea what (that (rains)) meant, but it is so
>clear what "Pat is sleeping" means?    (017)

Because the former is in IKL, which specifies only a logical meaning, 
but the second is in English, which comes with a large lexicon of 
words with more or less fixed meanings. I know there is a lot of 
slack in fixing such meanings precisely, but that does not affect 
that "rain" means rain (ie whatever we think that rain is, "rain" 
means that.)    (018)

>If I understood him well, Ingvar's distinction (whether it was his
>original one or not) between sentence meaning and used sentence meaning
>may be the right thing to mention here.  Following that distinction
>(Ingvar, please correct me if I go wrong), a sentence (not a
>proposition, though) has a simple meaning -- *the* meaning -- and a
>number of used meanings, meanings that depend on the actual context.    (019)

Fair enough for natural languages. Clearly sentences with indexicals 
have such a distinction to be made.    (020)

>(However, I can't see how, in the context of natural language, a
>sentence could have a simple non-contextual meaning    (021)

Perhaps not, for natural language; though I would argue that simple 
truths of arithmetic like 2+2=4 can best be understood in that way.    (022)

>, since every
>sentence is spoken or written by some person, and heard or read by some
>person, possibly the same, and each of those persons necessarily
>interpret the sentence in a context -- the context of their
>understanding of the elements of the language, for example.    (023)

But that is not a 'context' in any useful sense. If I hear some 
language spoken of which I know nothing - say, some Armenian or 
Gaelic - then I have no understanding of it at all, but it still 
means something in the language it is a sentence of.    (024)

>   Even if you
>claim that a sentence has a non-contextual meaning, you do it in the
>context of your thinking so.)    (025)

And that is even less useful a notion of context. My thinking 
something has a meaning is largely irrelevant to whether or not it 
actually has a meaning, seems to me. I often fail to follow perfectly 
spoken and meaningful English because I am getting rather deaf, and I 
have no ability to understand Armenian.    (026)

>Back to the point:  I would rather not say
>"From a natural language view, I might take "Pat is sleeping" to mean
>something like, "please don't make to much noise, or you might wake him.""
>because it seems problematic to explain what the view of a natural
>language is, but, for example,
>"From Pat's wife point view, "Pat is sleeping" might mean something
>like, "please don't make to much noise, or you might wake him.""
>would be reasonable, I think.    (027)

Better, for sure. But still, I would say that this is strictly false. 
That sentence never *means* that. It might be used to convey that in 
a speech act, but that is a more complex matter. If we allow such 
things as sarcasm or irony into the mix, then "yes" can mean no, and 
silence can be extraordinarily expressive.    (028)

>In natural language, most, if not all,
>terms are opaque, and their meaning is context-dependent.  ('Everybody'
>is a good example from your recent post -- what is it that "everybody
>loves my baby but my baby does not love anybody but me" *clearly* means?)    (029)

All the people under discussion, I guess. :-)    (030)

Pat    (031)

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    (032)

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    (033)

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