On Jan 25, 2009, at 11:40 PM, Vasco Calais Pedro wrote: (01)
>> a complete expression in L is uniquely determined by its *form*
>> (i.e., syntax) without any consideration of any background
>> In this sense, Aristotle's syllogisms are formal, even though they
>> use a subset of the words and syntax of a natural language. 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.
>> John Sowa
> By saying "provided X" aren't we introducing background knowledge? I.E
> aren't we considering background knowledge implicitly? (02)
No. What we are doing by saying this is establishing a condition (for
the syllogism to be valid) by stipulation. Background knowledge (not a
very useful term) may be necessary to determine, in any particular
case, whether this stipulated condition does in fact hold, just as it
might be relevant in any question of meaning in natural language. But
to repeat, calling everything "background" isn't a very helpful or
strategy. For example, in your case:
> In the absurd we could say
> "Every lightning rod is a conductor"
> "Every conductor studied music"
> "Therefore, every lightning rod studied music"
> Aren't we introducing the background knowledge of the word
> 'lightning rod'
> in determining why this is false? (03)
knowing the meaning of words isn't usually referred to as "background
knowledge"; more like foreground knowledge. Lexical disambiguation has
a special role even in psycholinguistics: its performed by an
autonomous 'module' in the brain, takes approximately 250
milliseconds, and is not under conscious control or even conscious
> Vasco Calais Pedro
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