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Re: [ontolog-forum] Separating Pragmatics And Semantics -- Or Not

To: Ontolog <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Jon Awbrey <jawbrey@xxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2007 10:06:06 -0400
Message-id: <46B87C4E.879CE417@xxxxxxx>
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JA = Jon Awbrey
JU = Jenny Ure
PH = Pat Hayes    (02)

Re: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/2007-08/msg00135.html    (03)

PH: Exchanging terms defined using an assertional language at least
    holds out the hope of allowing information to be separated from
    the processes which use it, which seems to be a prerequisite for
    useful information exchange.    (04)

JA: By "impractical semantics" I should have meant the notion that
    one can detach semantics from pragmatics so radically that it
    is possible to treat them as separate modules, in effect, to
    "hold out the hope of allowing information to be separated
    from the processes which use it".    (05)

JA: I think it makes sense to do this as much as possible,
    but the hope of making an absolute separation is what
    I would consider a delusive hope.    (06)

JU: Very telling then that a distinguishing characteristics of
    social systems, communities, is shared purposes and processes.    (07)

JU: (i.e., allows some separation of pragmatics and semantics, since
    one is then a shared given, and the other a negotiable variable).    (08)

JU: Has implications for designing socio-technical systems such as ontologies.    (09)

Jenny,    (010)

Rhetorical hijinks aside, further clarification of this issue will
depend on straightening out some of the kinks that have been put in
the trio of terms "syntax", "semantics, "pragmatics", not to meantion
the more inclusive Peircean term "sem(e)iotic(s)" over the last century.    (011)

This has been discussed at length before, with residues now distributed
all over the literature and still live on the web, so it's hard to know
where to begin this time around or how to say things in a different way.    (012)

In some sense I'm making a "limits on modularity" argument about the
extent to which semiotics can be partitioned into independent modules
for syntax, semantics, and pragmatics -- modulo some proper definition
of those terms yet to appear, at least, in this Forum.    (013)

We all know that modularity is nice if we can get it, and we can
often get it or fake it to some extent -- so it's just a question
of how to recognize when and if perfect modularity is breaking down.    (014)

One timely sign that we may be approachong the critical point when
baked goods and paradigms of all kinds begin to crumble is evident
in that latest semantic web layer cake.  Once upon a time we had a
quite nicely modular -- or laminar? -- layer cake, but now there's
those cross-cutting pastiches of gui icing patchworked all over it.    (015)

Whatsup with that?    (016)

Jon Awbrey    (017)

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