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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: Sun, 02 Sep 2007 16:17:08 -0400
Message-id: <46DB1A44.2070206@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Leo,    (01)

I am all in favor of recognizing continuous ranges and
gradations where appropriate.    (02)

 > I think it's useful to consider semantics-pragmatics as
 > a spectrum, at least from the viewpoint of theoretical/formal
 > linguistics.    (03)

On the other hand, I also believe in making clear distinctions
where such distinctions are appropriate.    (04)

As a guideline for deciding where to draw the line between
the continuous spectrum and discrete distinctions, I observe
the following distinction:    (05)

  1. Naturally occurring concepts grow by accretion, and there is
     rarely a sharp dividing line between the many, many word
     senses in typical dictionaries.  Alan Cruse coined the term
     'microsense' for the arbitrarily fine variations in meanings
     of most words.    (06)

  2. But the technical terms in science, especially mathematics,
     can be made precise by an agreed convention.  An example is
     the word 'number', which is a naturally occurring word with
     an open-ended range of meanings.  But mathematicians have
     taken that word and given it a discrete set of precise senses,
     usually by adding qualifiers, such as 'natural number',
     'rational number', 'imaginary number', 'complex number', etc.    (07)

As for 'semantics-pragmatics', I would agree that different authors
draw the boundary in different places.  But if I were developing
any kind of formal theory, I would follow the practice in math
of drawing a sharp distinction (and probably adding a suitable
adjective in front of the words 'semantics' and 'pragmatics' --
or coining a new term, such as 'methodeutic').    (08)

John    (09)

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