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

To: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 16:14:01 -0600
Message-id: <p06230905c3b570291e12@[]>
At 2:41 AM -0500 1/17/08, John F. Sowa wrote:

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'.

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

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

Hmm. This is interesting. There seem to be two distinct (and opposite?) senses used here. This 'something' might be what the text is, in some sense, 'about', the thing or part of the world which defines its topic, what the text is focused on; or it may be the overall 'background' in which the text is situated. In the latter case, it isn't necessarily what the text is actually about in any sense. So for example, in the case of a time-interval, the text which is "in" such a context might make no reference to times at all, and yet still require that the reader know what time it is 'set' in, in order to know that "the President" refers, say, to Jimmy Carter. Maybe you mean to cover both of these by speaking of 'relevance' but I wonder if its worth distinguishing them more exactly, as they really do seem different, and maybe need different syntactic treatment.

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