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Re: [ontolog-forum] Data Models v. Ontologies (again)

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 02 Jun 2008 11:34:23 -0400
Message-id: <484412FF.1080601@xxxxxxxx>
Sean Barker wrote:    (01)

>       The only doubt I would raise here is that a basic textbook of
> traditional logic, as at least exemplified by the basic texts of Port
> Royale school, takes several hours to read, but can be re-written as
> statements in set theory that take only a few minutes to understand.    (02)

I think the key point here is *understand*, and not what the 
interpretation model is.  With respect to interpretation models, one 
man's meat is another's poison.    (03)

Doug's anecdote only reinforces an observation I have made over many 
years, beginning when I was teaching:  You can't teach people to 
*understand*!  You can come at the subject in a number of different 
ways, hoping they will grok it, but you can't teach insight.  And it 
seems that a number of Ph.D.s *know* a great deal, without ever 
*understanding* critical aspects of their subject -- they lack the insights.    (04)

I can't imagine one could even think to call himself a logician without 
having a thorough understanding of formal logics.  But I can imagine a 
mathematician/logician who doesn't understand the relationship of 
natural language to logic, which was John's point.  Unlike the latter 
part of the 19th century, our academic disciplines have decoupled them. 
  (I distinctly recall having difficulty with a simple proof in my first 
formal logic class, until I stopped and thought about what the theorem 
actually said, and what the intellectual proof was.  The purely formal 
presentation of the material had omitted that link.)    (05)

>       Also, in Terry Eagleton's "Literary Criticism" from the 1980's,
> a plea is made to return the focus of university courses in English to
> rhetoric. My suspicion is that in practice this pleas has been usurped
> by "Media Studies", now one of the most derided qualifications in the
> UK.    (06)

I have to say that I share the reaction.  But the fact of the matter is 
that oratory and persuasive writing are less significant in the 
manipulation of attitude in modern societies than is the effective 
projection of the message via the commonly ingested media -- broadcast, 
Internet, and perhaps newspaper articles.  So, if your objective is to 
acquire the skills to win hearts and minds, I recommend "media studies" 
over "rhetoric".  (Spoken, of course, by one who has (was taught) some 
skills in "rhetoric", and none whatever in "media".  The outside looking 
in, as it were.)    (07)

-Ed    (08)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694    (09)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (010)

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