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Re: [ontolog-forum] the theory of mySpace and myTime

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 07 Mar 2009 08:53:55 -0500
Message-id: <49B27C73.9000003@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dick, Chris, Randall, and Frank,    (01)

RHM> Each myView has precisely defined terms.    (02)

The *syntax* of mKR may be precisely defined, but for mKR to
have any meaning for a human or a computer, its *semantics*
must also be precisely specified.    (03)

CM> One of the major points of ontology building is to *fix*
 > meaning; your approach, as far as I can see, simply lets it
 > float free; terms can mean whatever you want them to mean.    (04)

RHM> Thus myKnowledge will have the form
 >    at view = v1 { sentence11; sentence12; ...};
 >    at view = v2 { sentence21; sentence22; ... };
 >    ...
 > myProposition always specifies myView.  Each v1, v2, ...
 > names a list of propositions which define the terms of
 > the sentences.    (05)

That specification is purely syntactic.  It specifies certain
patterns of symbols that are considered valid in mKR and assigns
names (such as 'view' or 'sentence') to them.  As Chris said,
syntax alone is not sufficient to fix meaning.    (06)

To specify the semantics, you have to define the following:    (07)

  1. How any pattern of mKR symbols can be mapped to some
     pattern of entities in the real world or some model
     of the world.    (08)

  2. What it means for some pattern of mKR symbols to
     *refer* to something in the world or model.    (09)

  3. How it is possible to determine whether some pattern
     of mKR symbols is true or false about some part of
     the world or model.    (010)

For a discussion of this approach, I recommend the following
paper by Alfred Tarski:    (011)

    The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics    (012)

Points #1, #2, and #3 above are the ones that Tarski emphasized.
For the semantics of natural languages, many people have observed
that much more needs to be said about semantics, but everyone has
agreed that #1, #2, and #3 are the minimum that must be defined.
Unless you specify those three points, you don't have semantics.    (013)

RHM> I freely admit that my focus is (human) Real Intelligence,
 > not (machine) Artificial Intelligence.  The use of mKR may
 > eventually lead to improvements in Artificial Intelligence.    (014)

Note that the three points above and Tarski's remarks about them
are completely independent of the agent (human or computer).
The mapping rules can be stated in a way that any intelligent
human can understand and any competent programmer can translate
to a computer program.    (015)

RRS> You [RHM] appear to be taking a logicist approach, so it
 > behooves you to work with logical formalisms that have a solid
 > grounding in mathematical logic. Appealing to human intelligence
 > to bring meaning to your notations is a kind of question-begging.    (016)

I agree.  And as I suggested before, the simplest way to specify
the mappings is to map your notation to some previously defined
logic for which points #1, #2, and #3 have already been specified.    (017)

FK> You may be interested in this too
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19726391.500-is-time-an-illusion.html    (018)

I agree that is an interesting article.  However, for the issues of
defining the semantics of a notation, it is irrelevant whether the
entities in a model are real, fictitious, illusory, or whatever.    (019)

When points #1, #2, and #3 are specified precisely, people with
different philosophical positions can agree on how symbols and
patterns of symbols are mapped to observations.  After that, they
can argue whether or not the observed "entities" are illusions.    (020)

John    (021)

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