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

To: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>, Ontolog Forum <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Waclaw Kusnierczyk <Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 08 Jun 2007 10:54:19 +0200
Message-id: <4669193A.4050406@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat Hayes wrote:
>> (However, I can't see how, in the context of natural language, a
>> sentence could have a simple non-contextual meaning
> 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.    (01)

Perhaps we should distinguish talking about sentences and talking about 
propositions.  The proposition that the number two plus the number two 
equal the number four is simply true;  but the sentence "2+2=4" is not 
-- it is true, e.g., in a context where "2" denotes the number two, and 
so on.  What I was saying, is that I can't see how a *sentence* in a 
natural language would have non-contextual meaning -- how it could be 
fixed to a proposition without any context-dependence.    (02)

(But now I see that Ingvar objects to my interpreting 'sentence' as 
meaning an expression, a form.)    (03)

>> , 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.
> 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.    (04)

It means something for a person that knows the language -- that has a 
mental map from expressions in the language to cognitive representations 
of the real world (for example).    (05)

>> 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.
> 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.    (06)

Obviously;  anything wrong with it?    (07)

>> 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?)
> All the people under discussion, I guess. :-)    (08)

He?    (09)

vQ    (010)

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