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Re: [ontolog-forum] Scheduling a Discussion [was: CL, CG, IKL and the re

To: Duane Nickull <dnickull@xxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2008 00:17:07 -0800
Message-id: <p0623091cc3a224c73b27@[]>
>What do you mean by your last sentence "It is always defined negatively"?    (01)

I mean, that it is defined to be whatever the 
theory of meaning does not take explicit notice 
of. So, for example, a traditional mainstream 
semantic approach to English treats the meaning 
of a sentence strictly as a function of its 
syntactic structure, ignoring such matters as the 
surrounding sentences of a text, the physical 
situation of a conversation or the psychological 
common ground of the participants. In this kind 
of a theory, all these would be called part of 
the "context" if they were mentioned at all. 
Other linguistic theories, however, focus on 
these aspects directly. For example, there are 
theories of narrative and conversational 
structure, from the perspective of which some of 
these "contexts" are not contextual, but central; 
while still other things - the dialects spoken by 
the speakers, perhaps - would be treated as 
"contextual".    (02)

>  I
>know that in UN/CEFACT CCTS    (03)

But this is a particular formal system, in which 
the word "context" has been given a special, 
technical meaning which may be only vaguely 
related to any natural meaning. One must be 
careful to distinguish cases like this (and for 
example the formal context logics) from any 
attempt to classify natural language phenomena.    (04)

>context can only further constrain a data
>element, not add more substance to it beyond its' original generic form.    (05)

That is one notion. In many context logics, in 
contrast, a context can change meanings 
arbitrarily, and there is no notion of "further 
constrain".    (06)

Pat    (07)

>On 1/2/08 6:07 PM, "Pat Hayes" <phayes@xxxxxxx> wrote:
>>  FWIW, here is the definition of "context" that I put forward at
>>  Heidelberg, and which seemed to meet with some general acceptance.
>>  -------
>>  Theories of meaning invariably focus their attention on some subset
>>  of the many factors which can possibly influence the actual meaning
>>  conveyed by a meaningful utterance or sentence or diagram, or any
>>  symbolic structure or act. The other factors or aspects which may
>>  influence meaning, but which are not explicitly examined by the
>>  theory, are often referred to as "context". Thus, the term "context"
>>  has no single meaning: it is used simply to refer to anything (or
>>  sometimes everything) which can influence meaning but which is
>>  outside the scope of the current theory. It is always defined
>>  negatively.
>>  -------
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