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

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Chris Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2008 17:10:21 -0500 (CDT)
Message-id: <alpine.OSX.1.00.0809201633250.936@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Sat, 20 Sep 2008, Rob Freeman wrote:
> Re. "pitfalls": see earlier posts by me rejecting pointless arguments
> over the meaning of words.    (01)

Well, that's a disappointing response.  You referred, plainly and
simply, to "the pitfalls of formal logic", full stop.  I asked you what
you meant, as I could think of nothing that would count as such a
pitfall and indeed could not, and still cannot, even come up with a
sensible interpretation of the idea.  But instead of explaining,
defending, or backing away from it, you now appear to be trying to
deflect attention away from the real issue by mischaracterizing my very
clear question about your very unclear remark as a "pointless argument
over the meaning of words".  To the contrary, I have nowhere raised the
question of the meaning of your words and indeed I am taking them at
face value.  On its face, your remark simply makes no sense.  Your
response above suggests to me that it is as indefensible as I'd
suspected.    (02)

> More narrowly note my comments were in response to Rich's reference
> to:
> http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~soames/forthcoming_papers/Truth_and_Meaning.pdf
> The quote from Geoff Sampson supports a different approach to the
> interpretation of language. I give it because others may be unfamiliar
> with it.    (03)

My apologies for misreading your intention.    (04)

-chris    (05)

> On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 10:14 PM, Christopher Menzel
> <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On Sep 17, 2008, at 2:36 AM, Rob Freeman wrote:
>>> Chris Menzel and Pat Hayes: If you see no problem with formal logic
>>> as a model for "meaning", then you will have difficultly
>>> understanding a solution for those problems.
>> Hang on there.  Neither of us even mentioned the idea of using formal
>> logic as a model for meaning.  Rather, we were responded to your
>> sweeping remark about the "pitfalls of formal logic", full stop
>> (which, frankly, doesn't even make sense -- it's like talking about
>> the pitfalls of, say, algebra).  Of course, as I explicitly noted,
>> pitfalls may indeed await those who attempt to use formal logic to
>> solve problems it wasn't meant, or isn't able, to solve.
>> Understanding the nature of meaning might be one of those -- although
>> the work of, notably, Davidson and Dummett, suggests that this is by
>> no means obvious.  (My own self, I think it is pretty obvious that
>> many aspects of linguistic meaning can be very fruitfully explored
>> through the tools for formal logic, especially model theory, but I
>> think it is also pretty clear that meaning generally, esp viewed as a
>> social and evolutionary phenomenon, outstrips what we can understand
>> with formal methods alone.)
>>> However, Chris, in the spirit of providing more information, let me
>>> mention that whether or not it is true as you say that "few
>>> contemporary philosophers believe there are serious problems with
>>> analyticity", the same is less true of linguistics, in your words
>>> that "Most contemporary philosophers of language and logic do not
>>> share Quine's general skepticism about these notions." To give one
>>> recent example:
>>> http://www.grsampson.net/AGwg.html
>> Well, of course, I did say "few", not "no", and I did say
>> "philosophers", not "linguists", so I'm not sure what your sample of
>> 1 linguist is supposed to show.  But, judging from the linguists I
>> know working in the area of the semantics of natural language, I
>> would suspect the number of meaning skeptics even among linguists is
>> fairly low -- though, not being a linguist, I must admit this is
>> sheer speculation.
>> -chris    (06)

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