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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 02:41:40 -0500
Message-id: <478F06B4.4060009@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat,    (01)

As I keep saying, I don't think we disagree.  I have no quarrel
with your summary of the kinds of things that have been discussed
when people use the word 'context'.    (02)

PH> A few:
 > 1. The surrounding or preceding text of an occurrence of a word
 > or phrase, which disambiguates its intended meaning. Usually
 > restricted to the immediate sentence.
 > 2. Similarly, but applied to a conversation, and meaning the
 > 'common ground' (mutually agreed beliefs, topics, etc.) of
 > the participants at that point; usually extends well beyond
 > one sentence or utterance.
 > 3. Similar to 2., but rather than common ground, the actual
 > physical setting of the conversation, the 'situation' in which
 > it is taking place
 > 4. A set of assumptions or beliefs providing a temporary focus
 > of reasoning and used to select particular axioms or theories
 > applied to a concept or concepts (aka "microtheory")
 > 5. A linguistic or cultural tradition providing the origin of
 > a text, and which must be taken into account in order to fully
 > extract the intended meaning of the text.
 > 6. Anything which satisfies the axioms of some 'theory of contexts'.
 > This of course depends on the theory: they tend to be very weak
 > theories.    (03)

When you list it in that way, it certainly looks like a disorganized
mess of miscellaneous stuff.  It is hard to see any commonality in
such a list.    (04)

But what I have been suggesting is that there is something common to
all of the above:    (05)

  1. Syntax:  There is some text -- in a broad sense, which could
     include NL printed stuff, spoken snippets of conversation,
     or some formal set of statements.    (06)

  2. Semantics:  That text is relevant to something, such as a
     situation, in terms of which the pronouns and incompletely
     specified references are resolved.    (07)

  3. Pragmatics:  There is some reason or purpose for selecting
     that piece of text and relating it to the situation (or
     whatever else it is being related to).   That reason might be
     stated in formal axioms, informal natural language, or left
     unstated in some kind of "common knowledge".    (08)

I claim that a framework of this kind is common to all the ways in
which the word 'context' is normally used.    (09)

Since the semantics and pragmatics, as in #2 and #3 above, can
vary so widely, I agree that it's hard to see any commonalities.
But I would claim that a framework of this kind is common to
all the ways in which the word 'context' is used.    (010)

And that is what I would use it for:  a syntactic package of
text t, that is relevant to something x for some purpose that
may be stated in some other text (formal or informal).    (011)

John    (012)

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