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Re: [ontolog-forum] FW: A different approach to ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 09 May 2008 22:24:27 -0400
Message-id: <4825075B.6030000@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Chris,    (01)

JFS>> A formal ontology is a prerequisite for a formal language
 >> of any kind.  Many controlled NLs are just versions of logic
 >> that use the vocabulary and syntax of some natural language.    (02)

CM> This I do not understand, unless perhaps you are building
 > more into the notion of a formal language than I do.    (03)

It is true that one can define an uninterpreted language by
grammar rules that have no associated semantics of any kind,
as in your example {ab, aabb, aaabbb, aaaabbbb, ...}.    (04)

Such a language would have a syntax, but no semantics associated
with any sentence, no sentence would make any claims about what
does or does not exist, and no sentence would have any truth
value in any domain.    (05)

But since the discussion was about controlled natural languages,
all of which are designed to talk about some domain, I was not
thinking of the option of uninterpreted languages.    (06)

Therefore, I should qualify my first sentence as follows:    (07)

    A formal ontology is a prerequisite for a formal language
    that says anything meaningful about any subject domain.    (08)

I apologize for unintentionally slighting an infinite family
of meaningless languages.    (09)

John    (010)

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