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Re: [ontolog-forum] mKR (was Thing and Class)

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2008 02:54:10 -0400
Message-id: <48CB6392.1050209@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Rick,    (01)

About 800 years ago, the scholastics divided the "language arts"
in three parts:  Grammar, logic, and rhetoric.  Peirce elaborated
that subdivision with further explanation, and he made the point
that the role of logic is to determine "the formal conditions
of the truth of propositions."  That is essentially the scope of
a Tarski-style model theory.    (02)

But note that rhetoric is also an important part of meaning, and
it addresses the all-important question of *why* anyone would
say something.  Wittgenstein made a related point about two
philosophers sitting on a park bench, and one of them says
"I know that is a tree."  Whereupon the other apologizes to
a passer-by, "He's not crazy.  We are just philosophers."    (03)

In the 1930s, partly under the influence of Peirce and partly
under the influence of the behaviorists, Charles Morris renamed
the three traditional subdivisions syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.
The analytic philosophers picked up those terms, interpreted the
middle term along the lines of Tarski's model theory, and didn't
have a clear idea of what to do about pragmatics.    (04)

RM> I had previously referenced this paper ...
 > and wondered whether anyone was interested in sharing their thoughts ?    (05)

My major complaint about it is that rhetoric or pragmatics is a
very important part of meaning.  In fact, I would say it is the
essential goal of any utterance, and syntax and logic are just
means to get the pragmatics across to the intended audience.
I was disappointed that the author didn't focus on pragmatics.    (06)

One could say a lot more, but I would prefer to address related
issues in a different way.  Following are some slides I presented
in July.  The last slide has pointers to further reading, including
an article by the same title:    (07)

    Pursuing the goal of language understanding    (08)

John    (09)

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