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

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 23:24:49 -0600
Message-id: <p06230910c3b09bad8816@[]>
At 3:28 PM -0600 1/13/08, Christopher Menzel wrote:
>On Jan 13, 2008, at 1:15 PM, Pat Hayes wrote:
>>  ...
>>  McCarthy claims that and-distribution applies to both:
>>  (ist c  (p & q)) iff ( (ist c p) & (ist c q) )
>>  but there are certainly some cases of
>>  time-context where this fails, eg there was one
>>  day last year when I was (at various times) in
>>  five states, but I have never been in five states
>>  all at once. So apparently
>>  (ist thatDay (Pat in Mississippi)) & (ist thatDay (Pat in Kentucky))
>>  but not
>>  (ist thatDay ((Pat in Mississippi) & (Pat in Kentucky)))
>Not so clear to me that this is a counterexample to and-distribution.  
>Seems to me that one _could_ do the semantics of ist vis-a-vis 
>temporal contexts so that something that is true with respect to a 
>given interval t has to be true with respect to all subintervals of 
>t.    (01)

Yes, you can. And McCarthy uses that semantics, 
and so concludes (and takes it as axiomatic) that 
ist distributes over conjunction. But examples 
from natural language seem to often obviously 
have the dual interpretation, as here. So for 
example there is a famous Italian movie, "Last 
year in Marienbad", all about something that 
happened in Marienbad the previous year. But it 
didn't happen everywhere in Marienbad, for the 
entire year. Examples of this kind of 
'contextualization' are rampant in natural 
language: so what supports the claim that the 
dual form must be correct, so correct indeed that 
it is a logical truth?    (02)

In the case of the quantifiers and the 
modalities, natural language itself has explicit 
markers for the two dual notions: every vs. some, 
necessarily vs. possibly. But for the dual 
interpretations of temporal relativity, there 
seems to be nothing to lead to one being 
preferred over the other as the fundamental 
notion. If anything, I'd say that the 'Marienbad' 
interpretation is far more common. If we take 
that as the basic idea, so that (ist t P) means 
that there is a subinterval of t with P true in 
it, then ist does not satisfy McCarthy's axiom.    (03)

>On such a semantics
>    (ist thatDay (Pat in Mississippi)) & (ist thatDay (Pat in Kentucky))
>would be false.  Granted, in ordinary language, if you travelled from 
>Mississippi to Kentucky on, say, January 5, one can say both that Pat 
>was in Mississippi on Jan 5 and that Pat was in Kentucky on Jan 5.  
>But one could capture this ordinary usage -- and preserve your 
>intuitive data above -- by _defining_ a related notion ist* such that 
>(ist* t P) just in case (ist t' P) for _some_ subinterval t' of t    (04)

Or more directly by dualization, (ist* t P) == 
(not (ist t (not P))). But my point is not that 
his cannot be done - obviously it can - but to 
question why it is considered axiomatic that ist 
should be the &-transparent case, rather than 
ist*? There is a complete logical symmetry 
between these two ideas.    (05)

>(which seems to be the semantics you are assigning to ist directly 
>above).  and-distribution then rightly fails for ist*: it is 
>unproblematically true that
>    (ist* thatDay (Pat in Mississippi)) & (ist* thatDay (Pat in 
>and just as clearly false that
>    (ist* thatDay ((Pat in Mississippi) & (Pat in Kentucky))),
>Moreover, the reason for the failure would be analyzable in simple 
>first-order terms as an instance of the general failure of
>    (exists (x) (P x) & (exists (x) (Q x))
>to imply
>    (exists (x) ((P x) & (Q x))).    (06)

Er, yes. Of course. That was the whole point (and 
the notation) of my paper on context mereology. 
But now, which of these is the correct view of a 
time-interval as a 'context'? They can't both be. 
In fact, its clear that 
time-intervals-as-contexts are not even one kind 
of context, but (at least) two. There are (at 
least) two notions of 'true in an time-interval'. 
And of course there are more than two: there are 
notions such as "true almost everywhere" or "true 
during subintervals which are normal for that 
kind of proposition" (as in "he was furious for a 
whole week"), all of which have a valid claim to 
be a notion of 'true during an interval'. Which 
was my main point: there is no axiom which is 
true for ALL of these notions.    (07)

Pat    (08)

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