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Re: [ontolog-forum] Next steps in using ontologies as standards

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 03:16:53 -0500
Message-id: <497D7175.5090102@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Vasco and Frank,    (01)

The problem of multiple senses for nearly all words in natural languages
makes them informal.  When NL words are inserted into formal languages
(e.g., in controlled NLs such as Aristotle's syllogisms), the sense
must be specified by some declaration or stipulation.    (02)

JFS>> For example, following is the *form* of the pattern named Barbara:
 >>    Every A is a B.
 >>    Every B is a C.
 >>    Therefore, every A is a C.
 >> When the letters A, B, and C are replaced by arbitrary common nouns,
 >> the interpretation of the syllogism is uniquely determined --
 >> provided that the middle term B is required to apply to exactly
 >> the same individuals in both premises.    (03)

VCP> By saying "provided X" aren't we introducing background knowledge?
 > I.E aren't we considering background knowledge implicitly?
 > In the absurd we could say
 >  "Every lightning rod is a conductor"
 >  "Every conductor studied music"
 >  "Therefore, every lightning rod studied music"    (04)

The word 'conductor' has multiple word senses.  In one sense, it means
something that conducts electricity.  In another sense, it means a
person who conducts an orchestra.  If the word sense can vary between
premise #1 and premise #2, that introduces a fallacy called the
'nondistributed middle term' -- i.e., the word 'conductor' has
different extensions in each premise.    (05)

To solve this problem, the complete expression of the syllogism must
include a declaration of word sense for each noun in the syllogism.    (06)

VCP> Aren't we introducing the background knowledge of the word
 > 'lightning rod' in determining why this is false?    (07)

There are two aspects to meaning:  intension and extension.  The
intension of any statement is an abstract pattern.  The extension
is determined by matching that pattern to the domain (which may
be some aspect of the world, an abstract model, or some possible
world).  The intension is determined when the pattern of the
logic (in this case, the syllogism) is stated and each term of
the syllogism is mapped to a unique definition (e.g., by stating
the URI of some specification).  The extension is determined by
using the pattern and the URIs of each term to determine the
truth value.    (08)

FK> Your ontologies are a mess...    (09)

I certainly agree that many of the things that are called
"ontology" are a mess -- and they've been getting worse, not
better, in the past ten years.    (010)

John Sowa    (011)

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