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Re: [ontolog-forum] Axiomatic ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2008 02:04:04 -0500
Message-id: <47AEA1E4.6070603@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Rob,    (01)

This is not an argument about words.    (02)

 > You know what I think of arguments about the meaning of words.    (03)

There is a technical notion for which the word 'random' is used
in mathematics, science, and engineering.  If you prefer to use
the word 'random' for other purposes, you are free to do so, but
it will just lead to unnecessary confusion.  I would recommend
nontechnical, everyday English to say what you mean.    (04)

 > My point just is to turn around our usual attitude to this
 > unpredictability and argue it is not the bad thing we have
 > always thought it is. Rather it is the sign of a system which
 > is storing more information using the same elements.    (05)

I'm not sure what you mean, but I'll state my opinions:    (06)

  1. The vagueness and ambiguity of natural languages are inevitable
     in any robust, flexible system of communication among any large
     group of people with different goals and backgrounds who are
     faced with a complex and changing environment.    (07)

  2. The precise, formally defined languages of mathematics, logic,
     and computer science are also useful for stating and solving
     many complex problems in science, engineering, and business.    (08)

  3. The enormous expressive power and flexibility of NLs enable
     them to bridge the gap between #1 and #2.  But doing so
     requires a great deal of care and effort by the people who
     use NLs as an intermediate between the everyday uses and
     the highly disciplined methods of #2.    (09)

  4. However, the casual, undisciplined uses of NLs as found in
     ordinary conversation, literature, and web sites are extremely
     valuable resources.  With suitable tools, it would be possible
     to derive a great deal of information automatically.    (010)

  5. I believe it is possible and desirable to develop good tools
     and resources that can facilitate #3 and #4.  That is why I
     participate in the efforts discussed in this forum.    (011)

  6. But as we have seen, there is no consensus about what kinds
     of tools and resources would be best.  I suggest that people
     who think they have good ideas should implement them in
     promising systems and demonstrate what they can do.    (012)

 > The disc has more than 60 times the storage capacity of a
 > standard DVD, while the drive writes about 10 times faster
 > than a conventional DVD burner...    (013)

That's nice.  Maybe it will become part of the promising systems
suggested in #6.    (014)

John    (015)

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