This question has nothing to do with the differences between natural
languages and formal languages. It is the result of trying to map a
continuously variable world to a discrete set of labels (i.e., words, terms,
symbols, concepts, signs). (01)
As a continuous fluid (at least to a degree far below human perception),
there is a continuous range of ways that water can flow across a surface.
For various purposes, people label those ways of flowing that happen to be
significant for their interests. The way they group them and label the
groupings depends on what they consider important in their environment. The
kind of language, natural or artificial, is irrelevant. (02)
FK says (03)
This is fine. At another point talking about a hut or a logcabin you have
asked how can one tell the date of birth, etc. Well, you cannot tell that,
except that you have built it. But you can tell the date of the concept that
you have created in your mind to identify that hut in Your head. But
normally you do not bother. I can assure you that the concept of the hut in
your mind will never be close enough to that one in reality, unless you have
seen it. And vice versa. This is a simple reverse proportion between the
number of properties and the number objects that meet various set membership
criteria. And you also have items that are a class of their own.
Quoting your favourite Greeks, you cannot step in the same river in twice.
What you get in Cyc is the snapshot of the authors and no more. Have a look
at a Termbank term once and see how many fields identify a record in there
(as context). (04)
I do not understand this obsession with syllogisms and reasoning based on
syllogisms in order to do, for instance, machine translation based on
statistical data. (05)
I had a life expectancy of 65 years when I was living in Budapest, may years
ago. IO moved to balatonfured, where the best life expectancy was measure
fro my age group, 67 at that time. Three years ago I came to the UK where my
life expectancy is 78. Which figure do you believe to be valid or relevant?
Obviously neither of them has anything to do with reality, with specifics.
For some people blood pressure around 160 is normal or cholesterol or
glucose out of the normal range do not do them any harm.
If you interpret a verbal sequence semantically, you cannot rely on your
axioms, this is a different bandwagon. My experience in terms of metrics is (06)
Translating in writing
two thousand words a day, ten thousand a week, around half a million a year
over 18 years, which comes to nine million words in total. All those of
various documents in three major specialism, ITC, Business and Law. But I am
familiar with many other disciplines and fields as well. The most difficult
assignments have been lists without context (Vienna, Nice and Locarno
classification of trademarks), the list of scholarships available in all
universities in Hungary (very widely varied) and the addresses of opening
ceremonies of exhibitions of fine arts (all nonsense talk except to the
Now all those text would come from over a hundred customers and probably
over a thousand originators with different mental set and level of skills in
composition and expression. I have had very prestigious customers and
charity work for people chasing their pensions due from abroad, etc. For
testimonials visit my website: www.firkasz.com But I have found that the
lady who has been asked to write up the standards for the translation trade
for ILO, and the guy who wrote the British Standards for translators
(translation agencies)that was adopted by the EU have never translated a
word in their lives as they have admitted to me. I am geetting the feeling
that ontologists do not realize that the only ontology that is useful is one
that is learnable. And to make an ontology learnable to must forget about
formal logic. Come back to common sense and observe that as children we have
no names to ideas then we get them imprinted and through education, we learn
unfortunately in subject compartments and forget that we all have the same
mental faculties, but with the obsessions of objects generated by the
millions all the time and an emphasis on lexical knowledge we are lost in a
maze. Instead, we should be seeking procedural knowledge that shows how you
arrive at a concept and how you can act, not just glare at the ideas the
frozen into "maps" that show non existing pints in 2D connected by a
straight line indicating nothing, but a hazy association. (07)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F. Sowa
> Sent: 15 February 2009 19:21
> To: [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] a skill of definition - "river"
> Mike and Mitch,
> I would like to comment on the following point:
> MB>> According to that definition the Okavango is not a river.
> MH> The Okavango surely is a strange kind of river.
> > Do you really expect to hold natural language to the same
> > strictness standards as formal ones?
> This question has nothing to do with the differences between
> natural languages and formal languages. It is the result
> of trying to map a continuously variable world to a discrete
> set of labels (i.e., words, terms, symbols, concepts, signs).
> As a continuous fluid (at least to a degree far below human
> perception), there is a continuous range of ways that water
> can flow across a surface. For various purposes, people label
> those ways of flowing that happen to be significant for their
> interests. The way they group them and label the groupings
> depends on what they consider important in their environment.
> The kind of language, natural or artificial, is irrelevant.
> This is a commonly discussed issue in philosophy:
> Immanuel Kant:
> "Since the synthesis of empirical concepts is not arbitrary
> but based on experience, and as such can never be complete
> (for in experience ever new characteristics of the concept
> can be discovered), empirical concepts cannot be defined.
> "Thus only arbitrarily made concepts can be defined synthetically.
> Such definitions... could also be called declarations, since in
> them one declares one's thoughts or renders account of what one
> understands by a word. This is the case with mathematicians."
> Wittgenstein's *family resemblances* :
> Empirical concepts cannot be defined by a fixed set of necessary
> and sufficient conditions. Instead, they can only be taught by
> giving a series of examples and saying "These things and everything
> that resembles them are instances of the concept."
> Waismann's *open texture* :
> For any proposed definition of empirical concepts, new instances
> will arise that "obviously" belong to the category but are
> excluded by the definition.
> As Kant observed, precision depends on the kind of concept, not
> on the kind the language used to define the concept.
> As Waismann observed, if you state a precise definition for an
> empirical concept (such as 'river'), you will simply exclude
> many reasonable examples, such as the Okavango River.
> John Sowa
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