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Re: [ontolog-forum] Two

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Patrick Durusau <patrick@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 10:30:27 -0700
Message-id: <46796433.4010508@xxxxxxxxxxx>
John,    (01)

John F. Sowa wrote:
> Chris,
> I just wanted to comment on one point:
>  > On the whole, I suggest, it is probably better to re-do ones
>  > own logic from scratch than to try to read through the history
>  > of logic (not sure why one should need to read the history)
>  > and sort out the very small fraction that may be relevant.
> Santayana's response is appropriate:
>     "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
> With respect to logic, the same ideas have been learned and
> forgotten repeatedly throughout the past 50 years of AI and
> computer science.  Unfortunately, each reinvention has usually
> been worse than the one that was forgotten.
It may be my academic prejudices showing but I find the ahistorical 
nature of AI and CS in general (not true in every case) troubling. It is 
difficult to say where we would be if Backus would have extended and not 
re-invented the grammar rules of Panini. But while that may seem like an 
extreme case, over both time and language, consider that there are at 
least two formal mathematical models for record linkage, the second 
being developed in apparent unawareness of the earlier model. And that 
area of work dates entirely from the late 1950's. (Assuming that 
non-citation of earlier work on the same subject indicates unawareness 
and not simply sloppy writing.)    (02)

I would hesitate to say that reinvention is "usually" worse although I 
concede that there are many examples where that is the case. I suppose 
my concern is with the duplication of effort and the failure to use 
earlier work as a jumping off point for later research. Doesn't 
necessarily mean that advancement will follow but I think it gives a 
higher probability of advancement.    (03)

No, I don't have any hard figures to justify that claim. As I noted at 
the outset this may simply be an academic prejudice, but its mine. ;-)    (04)

Hope you are having a great day!    (05)

Patrick    (06)

PS: I actually find the study of the history of any field quite useful.    (07)

Patrick Durusau
Chair, V1 - US TAG to JTC 1/SC 34
Acting Convener, JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3 (Topic Maps)
Co-Editor, ISO/IEC 13250-1, 13250-5 (Topic Maps)
Co-Editor, OpenDocument Format (OASIS, ISO/IEC 26300)    (08)

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