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Re: [ontolog-forum] Wittgenstein and the pictures

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 08 Aug 2008 02:22:53 -0400
Message-id: <489BE63D.9080209@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ferenc,    (01)

Some comments:    (02)

JFS>> But the fundamental principles [of physics] are much simpler
 >> and easier to define precisely than anything that has to do with
 >> human nature, psychology, actions, intentions, purposes, goals,
 >> interactions, families, societies, businesses, governments, etc.    (03)

FK> Why? Because you do not treat them with the same disciplined mind
 > ( J. Dewey) as in case of science (of other objects)    (04)

Very intelligent and disciplined researchers have been studying those
"soft sciences" for centuries, but the subject matter is vastly more
complex.  In fact, many of the same scientists who had success with
the "hard" sciences have tried to address the human sciences.  And
there is an interesting story about two of them:    (05)

After Whitehead and Russell had published the Principia Mathematica,
some economists approached them and asked whether they could apply
their insights to establishing mathematical foundations for economics.
Their responses were almost diametrically opposed:    (06)

Russell immediately responded "That subject is too simple.  I wouldn't
be interested."    (07)

But Whitehead thought for a while and replied "That subject is too
complex.  I wouldn't know where to begin."    (08)

Russell was thinking of the kind of mathematics that had been applied
to economics in the early 20th century, and he was right that it
wasn't very interesting.  But Whitehead was thinking about the subject
matter of economics with all its interconnections to society.  And
he was right in recognizing that its complexity was so overwhelming
that he had no idea where to begin in formalizing it.    (09)

FK> ... meaning is incomplete without context, in fact, when you have
 > different meanings (senses in a dictionary) what you have is a set
 > of different contexts, and not meanings per se.    (010)

Wittgenstein's answer would be that you can't separate context and
meaning.  What he was trying to do with his notion of Satzsystem
(system of propositions) or his later notion of Sprachspiel (language
game or play) is to develop a precise notion of context.  As he said,
a word outside of any context (Satzsystem or Sprachspiel) is like a
"wheel turning idly" -- it has no meaning.  If you wanted to give
a completely precise definition of all possible meanings of a word,
you would have to define precisely every possible Satzsystem or
Sprachspiel in which it could be used.    (011)

FK> ... an ontology without the concept of time, or using events in
 > its repertory is surely not the best representation of what reality
 > is. I am not trying to outline a one fits all ontology. I am trying
 > to say that you need a genezis to be represented to see how your
 > concepts are generated/created, since the ontologenetic path in
 > learning repeats the filogenetic path, and seeing a kid to learn
 > to think is looking at pretty much the same phenomenon that humankind
 > has been going through evolution or whatever you think of it. But
 > every experience we have is then not just perceived but its
 > representation is created in your mind.    (012)

I would agree.  But first, I would point out that there has indeed
been a lot of work on representing time, processes, causality, and
related issues.  Following is a paper I wrote on that topic:    (013)

   Processes and Causality    (014)

And since this thread is about Wittgenstein, I should quote his
remarks at the Moral Sciences Club at Cambridge University:    (015)

    "I used at one time to say that, in order to get clear about how
    a certain sentence is used, it was a good idea to ask oneself the
    question:  'How would one try to verify such an assertion?'  But
    that's just one way among others of getting clear about the use of
    a word or a sentence.  For example, another question which it is
    very often useful to ask oneself is:  'How is the word learned?'
    'How would one set about teaching a child to use the word.?'"    (016)

    Quoted by D. A. T. Gashing & A. C. Jackson (1967) "Wittgenstein
    as a Teacher," in K. T. Fann, ed., _Ludwig Wittgenstein:  The Man
    and Philosophy_, Harvester Press, Sussex, p. 54.    (017)

Wittgenstein made those remarks about teaching and learning after
he had spent several years teaching children in an Austrian
mountain village.    (018)

FK> Abduction sounds euphemy to me.    (019)

Abduction is one of the three types of logical reasoning, along
with induction and deduction.  Peirce introduced that term, and
he compared it to Aristotle's related notion, 'apagoge'.  For
a summary of the types of logical reasoning and a comparison to
analogical reasoning, see    (020)

    Analogical Reasoning    (021)

John    (022)

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