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Re: [ontolog-forum] CL, CG, IKL and the relationship between symbols in

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 15:41:57 -0500
Message-id: <47716B15.7080108@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat, Christopher, and Azamat,    (01)

As I said in my note about Tarski's model theory, I believe it is
only one part, but an important part of the semantic puzzle.    (02)

To relate it to the other parts, I'd like to mention the 'meaning
triangle', which is the term that Ogden and Richards (1923) used
for their diagram that relates a symbol, a concept, and an object.    (03)

However, the triangle (without the diagram) is as old as Aristotle,
whose terms for the three nodes were symbolon (symbol), pathema
tes psyches (affection of the psyche), and pragma (object).    (04)

The medieval Scholastics used the terms signum (sign),
significatio (signification), and suppositio (supposition).    (05)

Frege's terms were Zeichen (sign), Sinn (sense), and Bedeutung
(reference).    (06)

Peirce's terms were sign, interpretant, and object.    (07)

Instead of recognizing the full triangle, Tarski's model theory
relates the sign directly to the object, while ignoring the
concept, pathema, significatio, Sinn, or interpretant.    (08)

Most linguists are unhappy with model-theoretic semantics
(AKA formal semantics) as the primary or even only version
of semantics, and they have developed two other, sometimes
competing branches:  lexical semantics and cognitive semantics.    (09)

1. Lexical semantics, according to Cruse (1986), is a “contextual 
approach,” which derives “information about a word’s meaning from its 
relations with actual and potential linguistic contexts.” That 
definition corresponds to the left side of the meaning triangle, which 
omits the connection between words and the objects they refer to. It is 
compatible with Saussure’s definition of language (langue) as “the whole 
set of linguistic habits, which allow an individual to understand and be 
understood” (1916). Lexicographers analyze a corpus of contextual 
citations and catalog the linguistic habits in lexicons, thesauri, and 
terminologies.    (010)

2. Formal semantics studies the logical properties of words and 
sentences and relates them to objects and configurations of objects. The 
first logic-based systems were designed as computer implementations 
(Bohnert & Backer 1967; Woods 1968; Winograd 1972), but Montague’s 
theories were more influential among philosophers and logicians. Other 
formalisms include discourse representation theory (Kamp & Reyle 1993) 
and situation semantics (Barwise & Perry 1983). Yet despite 40 years of 
sustained research, none of the implementations can translate one page 
from an ordinary textbook to any version of logic. Lexical semantics 
covers a broader range of language than the formal versions, and it 
addresses more aspects of syntax and vocabulary that affect meaning. But 
unlike the logic-based theories, lexical semantics does not define a 
mapping from language to objects or a method of reasoning about them.    (011)

3. Cognitive semantics studies the concepts and patterns of concepts 
that relate language to perception and action. Locke’s associations 
influenced many 19th-century psychologists, but Kant’s schemata led to 
more structured theories by Selz (1913) and Bartlett (1932). Other 
versions included Gestalt theory (Wertheimer 1925), activity theory 
(Vygotsky 1928), and cognitive maps (Tolman 1948). The earliest computer 
implementations, called semantic networks, were designed for machine 
translation; among the first were the correlational nets by Ceccato 
(1961). Other highly influential computational versions include 
conceptual dependencies by Schank (1975), chunks by Newell and Simon 
(1972), who cited Selz as an inspiration, and frames by Minsky (1975), 
who cited Bartlett. Robotics applications use concepts and cognitive 
maps to relate a robot’s language interface to its sensory and motor 
mechanisms. Among linguists, Lakoff (1987), Langacker (1999), Talmy 
(2000), and Wierzbicka (1996) devoted their careers to analyzing 
cross-linguistic cognitive patterns and their relationship to 
extralinguistic objects and activities. The term conceptual structure is 
commonly used for those patterns, both in linguistics (Jackendoff 1983) 
and in artificial intelligence (Sowa 1976, 1984).    (012)

A full treatment of semantics must recognize all three sides of the
meaning triangle as essential to the meaning of 'meaning'.  But even
that does not get into all the issues of pragmatics.  That, however,
is an even more complex issue.    (013)

For references in the above note, see my combined bibliography:    (014)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/bib.htm    (015)

John Sowa    (016)

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