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Re: [ontolog-forum] What words mean

To: "Pat Hayes" <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rob Freeman" <lists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2008 11:14:50 +0800
Message-id: <7616afbc0802111914u30a79e00q3afd2cc2373d6038@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Feb 12, 2008 12:45 AM, Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> At 6:49 PM +0800 2/11/08, Rob Freeman wrote:
> > I agree technical terms have their applications. More commonly as a
> > convenience among peers who broadly agree. But I reserve the right to
> > use words more generally if I feel it will communicate my meaning more
> > effectively (or if no such community of broadly agreeing peers yet
> > exists.)
> But in all these cases, such a community does exist, and indeed has co-opted
> the English word (chaos, catastrophe, continuous, random, compute) to its own
> purposes, or invented an entirely new word (hologram) with a precise meaning.
> In either case, to ignore such usage in a technical forum such as this, and
> especially when referring to the technical usage itself, is almost certain to 
>cause misunderstanding.    (01)

I was talking about a community of peers which broadly agrees on a
_new_ theory, Pat.    (02)

At a certain level misunderstanding can't be helped. The only way to
stick to a strict "technical" meaning is to adhere closely to the
theory in which it is stated. That's great if you're trying to
calibrate a galvanometer. But if you want to say anything new you have
to abandon technical meanings. (By definition, because they are names
for a particular technique or formalization of a problem.)    (03)

Is the "technical" meaning of Newton's word "gravity" the same as
Galileo's, or Einstein's?    (04)

One might say that Newton should have abandoned the word "gravity" and
used something new to refer to his new concept. (You can imagine the
Royal Society: "Yo, Newton, you're confusing us with your non-standard
use of the word gravity. We're all scientists here and know that
technically this refers to rings in the sky...")    (05)

But that would be a greater disservice to knowledge. It ignores the
fact that theories are all partial attempts to capture broader
concepts.    (06)

> ...If there are underlying patterns uniting such various topics, they will be 
>found by
> understanding these intuitions and relating them    (07)

I don't understand what you mean by understand.    (08)

> ...not by making vague analogies based on word usage.    (09)

"Vague analogies based on word usage" sums up my understanding of
understanding rather well.    (010)

-Rob    (011)

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