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Re: [ontolog-forum] Reality and semantics.

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Len Yabloko" <lenya@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2008 18:19:44 +0000
Message-id: <W579222721158491222107584@webmail16>
>On Sep 22, 2008, at 1:00 AM, Len Yabloko wrote:
>> Pat,
>> First - I want to thank you for the exposition
>> ....
>> I think the argument arisen from interpretation of 'possible world'  
>> as abstraction that has no existence outside particular ontology or  
>> Tarskian model (seemingly equated by John?). Again forgive my  
>> interpretation! That claim somehow (I can't understand fully how)  
>> follows from John's 'metalevel reasoning' thesis. You on the other  
>> hand seem to say that all these possible worlds do exist, but only  
>> one of them is described by particular FOL ontology. That claim can  
>> be interpreted in two different ways:
>> 1) All possible worlds exist side by side occupying the same  
>> physical universe, but exposing it from different prospectives given  
>> by semantic meta-theory (call it 'dark matter' theory because we  
>> have enough of it for few more worlds).
>> 2) All possible worlds exist only in our imagination, but that is  
>> the only way we can reason about reality without being completely  
>> overwhelmed by it, so each world as real as it gets for all intents  
>> and purposes- just can't reason about all of it/them at once (call  
>> it 'multiple personality' theory because multiplicity originates  
>> when we begin to think).
>>>> The truth of any statement depends on initial assumptions and inputs
>>>> obtained from some representation.
>>> No, really. The TRUTH depends on how well the representation
>>> corresponds to reality. That is pretty much what truth means, in  
>>> fact.
>>> What you are talking about, I think, is how we come to know things,
>>> which indeed does have to do with interfaces and transduction.
>> If I understood you correctly - you are telling me that statement  
>> about reality is truthful when semantics of language (used to make  
>> it) is fathefull to possible world.
>Right, though better to say, faithful to the actual world.    (01)

All you are saying is that semantics given by model of reality (software 
engineers call it meta-model) disambiguates language, so true statement is 
always true. This comes at expense of few assumptions about actual world stated 
in meta-theory.    (02)

>words are a bit of a red herring. They are only needed to give a  
>semantics for modal sentences, like saying something is necessarily  
>true which is supposed to mean more than just plain true. If we only  
>use plain language without any modalities in it, then nobody needs to  
>consider possible worlds.    (03)

In other words possible worlds are needed to see what if assumptions are 
retracted or new ones are made. But without possible worlds we can never reason 
about assumptions, which is what meta-level reasoning is about. Is that right?     (04)

>> So if I make false statement about that world it will be provably  
>> and obviously (due to 'truth function') false. Thus we can't hide  
>> the truth anymore (from computers :-).
>No, being true doesn't mean being provably true, or obviously true. It  
>just means being true. Truth can be hidden, don't worry.
>    (05)

I am not worried now because partial truth is even more deceptive. Isn't it 
kind of 'small print'?    (06)

>> But that is not what I meant by 'truth of statement' - I meant its  
>> meaning (if something said about world true or false).
>So did I mean that.    (07)

But to reason productively (I am not using 'meaninfuly' on purpose) we need to 
be able to 'play' with our assumptions. By the way legal reasoning in 
particular can not be done based on fixed assumptions (ie. semantics)    (08)

>>>> The role of semantics is to make a sound connection from later to
>>>> former. Moreover, semantics can not be fixed, but must allow for
>>>> cycles of expansion and compression to accommodate growth and
>>>> physical limits. Isn't that what you call two-stage semantics?
>>> No, thats not what I mean. In fact I cannot follow this stuff about
>>> expansion and compression.
>> The stuff about expansion and compression is (IMHO) what makes one  
>> and only one real world to look like multiple worlds (ie.  
>> expansion), but allow interaction with one of your choice  
>> (compression).
>Hmm, I still don't understand this, sorry. What makes one actual world  
>look like multiple worlds is our ignorance. We don't have all the  
>information about it, so many possible worlds (or if you prefer,  
>possible ways the actual world might be) are consistent with what we  
>know. As it says in the old song: For all we know, this may only be a  
>    (09)

I would say it is not ignorance, but recognition of limited comprehension and 
the need to make decisions based on possibilities - that is what requires 
multiple possible worlds. How else do you propose to deal with assumptions.
I realize that you will refer me to your expositions where you explain how 
these assumptions are minimal and non-contradictory to subsequent inferences. 
But the assumptions we engineers must make are often much more extensive. One 
ontology is not sufficient to resolve all possible assumptions, even in simple 
software application.    (010)

>    (011)

-Len    (012)

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