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Re: [ontolog-forum] Wittgenstein and the pictures

To: rick@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 23:20:13 -0400
Message-id: <48912F6D.3040208@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Rick,    (01)

The short answer is that any language, natural or artificial,
linear or graphical, must have syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.    (02)

In Peircean terms, the syntax determines the permissible forms,
the semantics determines the reference of terms and the truth
of statements, and the pragmatics determines the purpose or
reason why an agent would use a language to communicate with
other agents to satisfy goals.  The word 'meaning' includes
both semantics and pragmatics.    (03)

 > My understanding is that Tarski presents a "Semantic Conception
 > of Truth" and that's very different than meaning.    (04)

Peirce would accept a Tarskian-style theory for determining
reference and truth.  In fact, he developed such a theory for
his existential graphs about 30 years before Tarski.  But he
also insisted that just knowing whether a statement is true
or false is insufficient for knowing how to use the language.    (05)

In fact, modern studies of language acquisition by children
show that children learn how to use language from their very
first words -- and their primary use is *not* to make true
statements.  Their earliest uses are *imperatives* like "gimme".
Questions are next in importance, and declarative statements
come much later.    (06)

For more about Peirce, Wittgenstein, and modern AI, see the
following paper, which I recently presented at ICCS 2008:    (07)

    Pursuing the Goal of Language Understanding    (08)

The paper covers more of the philosophical background, and the
slides for the accompanying talk say more about some applications
that we are implementing at VivoMind:    (09)

    Slides for the talk    (010)

And by the way, Frank Ramsey, who was a brilliant logician at
Cambridge who died at the age of 27, went to visit Wittgenstein
in the Austrian mountain village, and W. credits FR with having
a strong influence in showing him the limitations of his earlier
views.  Ramsey had read some of Peirce's writings and recommended
them to Wittgenstein.  Although W. never cited anybody in his
bibliography, W. did write a letter to his sister, in which he
recommended a book of papers by Peirce.  So there is evidence
of a Peircean influence on Wittgenstein's later philosophy.    (011)

John    (012)

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