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Re: [ontolog-forum] Reality and semantics.

To: edbark@xxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 15:44:45 -0500
Message-id: <0E5364A1-D679-48BB-8A69-AAF07BA502A2@xxxxxxx>

On Sep 18, 2008, at 3:21 PM, Ed Barkmeyer wrote:

Chris Menzel wrote:
On Thu, 18 Sep 2008, Ed Barkmeyer wrote:
As to the rest of John's posting, I refuse to be drawn into a
discussion of the power of either mathematics or logic.  I am an

And you won't discuss it because, as an engineer, and hence as one
familiar with bridges, moon shots, computers, the web, and the like that
wouldn't exist but for the power of mathematics and logic, it isn't
worth discussing something so obvious?  Right on.

Indeed.  That power is well documented and in evidence.  But whether 
mathematics can correctly capture "reality", as distinct from how much 
of the derived and quantified property called load it will take to 
collapse the bridge, is not my concern.

In brief: omit the scare quotes.  By 'reality' I mean something very mundane. All I mean is that when an engineer does some calculations and then says "the cables aren't strong enough to support the deck", that she really is talking about the cables and the deck. That is what "reality" means in this example: the real, actual stuff that the engineer is concerned with, the stuff that will collapse into the river if mistakes are made. She is not talking about a model of the cables and the deck, or about representations of the cables and the deck. Who would care if a model or a representation fell into the river? 


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