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Re: [ontolog-forum] language ambiguity

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 14:07:27 -0500
Message-id: <47B33FEF.3080208@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Jeffrey,    (01)

I completely agree:    (02)

 > It is rarely the case that that a design is finished, in terms
 > of reconciling divergent viewpoints about specifications.    (03)

At any large company in any technical field, a product becomes
obsolescent on the day it is announced -- because the engineers
already have a replacement or upgrade under development.  Even
products that have the same name for many years undergo constant
revisions and updates.    (04)

Everyone involved in product development at IBM was well aware
of that point, and I'm sure that you see that at Boeing.    (05)

 > Language ambiguity does lead to trade-off in design. But since
 > no one can be guaranteed to understand someone else, acceptance
 > is also trade-off. The design is a partly understood set of
 > compromises.    (06)

Yes, and I'm sure that our stone-age ancestors had to make similar
compromises every time that they set out on a hunting party or
decided where and how to build their tents or shelters.    (07)

Language started as a vague set of calls with multiple applications.
But the amazing fact is that the language developed by our stone-age
ancestors can be used in sufficiently precise ways to talk about the
most abstruse areas of mathematics, physics, and computer science.    (08)

Yet vagueness is still at the core of language.  If the precise parts
had been sufficient by themselves, the vague parts would have withered
away in disuse.  But the vague parts have not only survived, they are
the most widely used parts.    (09)

That cannot be a coincidence.    (010)

John    (011)

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