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Re: [ontolog-forum] language ambiguity

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 09:26:23 -0500
Message-id: <47B44F8F.9010406@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ravi,    (01)

 > There is vagueness in science as well if we refine or drill deep
 > into a measurement...    (02)

I agree.  All measurements have some unavoidable error.  And in
some cases, scientists have reached the limits of quantum mechanical
uncertainty.  But it's important to recognize the difference between
the observer and what is being observed.    (03)

 > There is a scientific model or concept behind every proven theory
 > or discovery that also has some degree of vagueness.    (04)

A mismatch between a model and the system being modeled is not
the same as vagueness.  For example, I might have a very precise
mathematical model of a perfect circle.  But there is no circle in
the world that is ever perfect.  That is a simple mismatch of model
and reality.    (05)

Suppose a teacher tells a student "Go to the blackboard, and draw
a circle."  That's a vague statement because it doesn't specify
a precise point on the blackboard for the center of the circle
or a precise radius around that point.    (06)

The vagueness is in the statement, not in the world.  It is also
possible to have vagueness in thought, even without language.
An example would be a vague craving for some kind of food, but
without a clear idea of any particular food.    (07)

 > Like language, ambiguity is in the nature of things, beings, even
 > more varied in life processes as compared to chemistry or physics!    (08)

I would qualify that statement by saying that a world without any
observers could never be vague.  It doesn't matter how complex or
chaotic the world might be, vagueness can only be a property of
a thought or a statement.  If there were no conscious beings,
there couldn't be any vagueness.    (09)

Even the quantum mechanical uncertainty is only an uncertainty in
the measuring process that relates some phenomenon to some number
derived from it.  The wave equations of quantum mechanics show how
the waves develop and interact.  The uncertainty only arises when
some observer tries to take a snapshot that freezes the waves
at some instant in the development.    (010)

John    (011)

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