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Re: [ontolog-forum] Current Semantic Web Layer pizza (was ckae)

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 18:48:09 -0400
Message-id: <46D89AA9.9090407@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Fabian,    (01)

These issues were very clearly specified over a century
ago by CSP.  (I didn't spell out the last name in full
because I wanted to bypass Pat's filter.)    (02)

And, by the way, CSP explained them in the way that Pat
would approve, because it was CSP's three-way distinction
that Charles Morris renamed syntax, semantics, and
pragmatics.  CSP's original names for that triad were
grammar, logic, and rhetoric -- and those terms would
have avoided an enormous amount of confusion.  However,
CSP later broadened the term 'rhetoric' to what he called
'methodeutic', which Morris replaced by the term 'pragmatics'.    (03)

 > I should say that the boundary between pragmatics and
 > semantics is notoriously fuzzy. As a student I attended
 > a seminar where we studied different definitions of
 > "semantics" and "pragmatics". Its a long time ago and
 > I forgot almost everything except there was no consensus
 > among linguists and that all proposals had their weaknesses.    (04)

Blame Morris for that confusion because CSP's terms are
very clear -- what Tarski called model theory is what
CSP included in "logic".   CSP's term for Tarski's
evaluation function was 'endoporeutic' (outside-in
evaluation), but that term never caught on.    (05)

 > An example for a not so clear cut case is if one wants to
 > study the truth-conditions of the sentence "I want to buy
 > a cleat". This is not within the realm of semantics, because
 > the term "I" refers to the speaker.    (06)

For CSP, the issue of indexicals is orthogonal to the division
of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.  Indexicals can have a grammar,
they determine a reference (which is part of logic), and the
resolution of that reference often depends on rhetoric or
methodeutic.    (07)

 > The only people who made up their mind are logicians: according
 > to them whatever aspect of 'meaning' they can analyze with the
 > help of a model theory is semantics, everything else is pragmatics.
 > This is the garbage can definition of "pragmatics".    (08)

CSP definitely used a positive term for the third branch (either
'rhetoric' or 'methodeutic') -- the third always involves purpose
or intention.  Following are three positive ways of looking at
the distinction:    (09)

  1. Grammar or syntax studies the forms of sentences without
     considering anything else, such as what the words refer to
     or whether the sentences are true or false.    (010)

  2. Logic (or what Morris called semantics) studies the reference
     conditions and truth conditions for the symbols and sentences
     in terms of some domain of interest.    (011)

  3. Rhetoric, methodeutic, or pragmatics always depends on the purpose
     or intention of what is sometimes called the "speech act".    (012)

The third branch is not a leftover from the other two, because the
first two have nothing to say about purpose or intention, and that
is the central issue for the third branch.    (013)

If you find any linguists who are confused about these issues,
send them this note, and I'll straighten them out.    (014)

John    (015)

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