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Re: [ontolog-forum] Legislating standards?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 00:54:37 -0500
Message-id: <47DCB61D.3020605@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Christopher,    (01)

That is a very good question:    (02)

 > ... is Ontology not the field on which all proper progress
 > towards more security-appropriate technologies should best
 > be founded?    (03)

Ontology is a proposed solution, but any question about
foundations should go back to the original problem and ask
how that proposed solution is related to the actual problem.    (04)

Following are some intervening steps:    (05)

  1. Communication standards have usually addressed low-level
     issues of syntax, formats, and protocols.    (06)

  2. But people respond to the meaning of a message.    (07)

  3. Designers have felt that computer communications would
     be enhanced if the computer systems could also recognize
     and respond in terms of the meaning of each message.    (08)

  4. Semantics is supposed to be the field that addresses meaning,
     and ontology is an important part of semantics.    (09)

  5. But there is more to semantics than ontology.  Logic, for
     example, is a prerequisite for representing ontology.  Also
     important are the reasoning methods used with the logic and
     the model theory that relates the logic to the domain.    (010)

  6. And there is more to meaning than semantics.  Pragmatics, for
     example, is at least as important as semantics, if not more so.    (011)

I think that much of the "lurching" that Jamie Clark discussed
results from people grasping at parts of a solution, such as
ontology -- or even worse, a specific notation for ontology --
without considering how all aspects are related to the meaning
and how the meaning is related to what is actually required.    (012)

At the end of this note are two slides from a recent talk in which
I discussed some of these relationships.    (013)

John Sowa
___________________________________________________________________    (014)

 From http://www.jfsowa.com/talks/semtech1.pdf    (015)

(Slide 2)    (016)

Syntax, Semantics, and Pragmatics    (017)

Syntax: the way words are put together to form a sentence.    (018)

Semantics: the information encoded by that sentence.    (019)

Pragmatics: the implications of that information in the context.    (020)

Full understanding requires the listener to    (021)

    1. relate the new information to background knowledge,
    2. determine what the speaker intended,
    3. decide how to respond to that intention,
    4. respond according to the listenerís intentions.    (022)

(Slide 7)    (023)

Task-Oriented Knowledge    (024)

A driver stops the car to ask a question:    (025)

Driver: Where is the nearest gas station?    (026)

Pedestrian: Turn right at the corner, and go about two blocks.    (027)

D: Thanks.    (028)

A short while later, the driver comes back:    (029)

D: That gas station is closed.    (030)

P: Yes. It hasn't been open for years.    (031)

D: Why didn't you tell me?    (032)

P: You didn't ask.    (033)

The pedestrian did not have or use task-dependent knowledge
about cars, drivers, and gas stations.    (034)


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