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Re: [ontolog-forum] mKR programming language

To: "Godfrey Rust" <godfrey.rust@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Richard H. McCullough" <rhm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 07:12:08 -0700
Message-id: <61540E995D634761B61DC925D1BA3CE9@rhm8200>
Thank you for responding.  You are doing exactly what I expected in
the human "interaction" known as a "conversation".  You are asking
for clarification of my context.  All of your questions/remarks are
quite reasonable, and I generally agree with what you have said.
The answers to all your questions are part of the "Ontolog Forum"
context   The context is a list of mKR propositions.  My answers,
in mKR and/or English, are shown below, prefixed by >>>>.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 3:49 AM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] mKR programming language

While I have a general idea, as a reader, of what you mean by:
at view = Ontolog Forum {
        I do say to you od {
                at time = 10 am yesterday {
                        I do walk from my house to Raley's done;
        } done;
I can get that more easily, in an informal sense, if you just say "Yesterday I walked from my house to Raley's at 10am" in English.
My difficulty with using your MKr _expression_ for any computing (which I assume is the point, otherwise I prefer to stick to English) is not just that it lacks formal
>>>> mKR is a "Simple English", which is easier for a computer to process, and would be easier for a human to learn, because things like
>>>> number and tense are specified in a simpler way.
axioms but also any mechanism for establishing agreement over the intended contextual meaning or identity of the parts. How does my computer determine, for example:
- when was "yesterday"? (for example, the email sending date is not in your _expression_, but even if I include it, can I assume that the date of sending of the message is the time at which the statement contained in the message was made by you?)
>>>> the email sending date is part of "view = Ontolog Forum".  I actually made the statement a few minutes earlier.
>>>> I could have said "at time = 3/17/2009 2:00 AM { I do say to you od {...} done; };"
- who is "I"?
>>>> In a conversation, the meaning of "I" and "you" changes whenever a different person speaks.
>>>> In this case "I is Dick McCullough;"
- who is "you"?
>>>> "you is Chris Menzel;"
>>>> but it would be reasonable for you to consider that "you is  all Ontology Forum member;"
- did you leave your house at 10am, or arrive at Raley's then? Is that time approximate or exact? In which time zone?
>>>> I left my house at 10 AM, which is part of the meaning of "walk".
>>>> 10 AM is approximate, in the sense that I could have said 10:03 AM. The time unit depends on context.
>>>> time zone is PDT (UTC - 7) because I live in California
- where and what is your house? do you have only one?
>>>> that's all part of my context
- what do you mean by "walk"? Are you using this merely to differentiate from going on some vehicle, or from some other means of perambulation such as running, limping or crawling? If the latter, what criteria do you use for establishing the distinction between them?
>>>> that's part of our common human context.  You can specify the distinctions with genus-differentia definitions.
>>>> walk is perambulation with ...;  run is perambulation with ...;  limp is perambulation with ...;  crawl is perambulation with ...;
>>>> which is part of the context hierarchy
>>>> begin hierarchy movement;
>>>> perambulate;
>>>> /   walk;
>>>> /   run;
>>>> /   limp;
>>>> /   crawl;
>>>> end hierarchy movement;
- who or what is Raley?
- is it Raley's house you went to, or some other possession of Raley? Or is "Raley's" just the name of a place?
>>>> "Raley's" is the name of a local store, which is franchised by a large corporation
I'm OK with "from" and "to", though I suspect others in this forum may have problems with those. I won't venture into considering what it means for Ontolog Forum to be a "view".
>>>> I should have used terms like "Ontolog Forum view" and "Ontolog Forum member".
>>>> "Ontolog Forum view" is the name of a list of mKR propositions.
Almost no-one in this forum knows what you really mean by that sentence because we are not familiar with your personal context(s). Following John Sowa's remarks on another thread, an _expression_ such as this one could be meaningful within a defined message structure where the work has been done either by the receiving party or by a standards body to agree upon the specific semantics and the identities being referenced within the domain of interest. In the "river" definition thread, we have seen that any term which on the face of it has a generally understandable meaning can be infinitely contextualized, and so axioms and formal agreement mechanisms (standards or otherwise) are essential for successful interoperability. 
>>>> I agree 100%.
>>>> But note that you were able to understand the "general idea" without knowing those details.
>>>> And I was able to express all those details using the mKR language.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 9:00 AM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] mKR programming language

On Mar 16, 2009, at 9:46 PM, Christopher Menzel wrote:
> On Mar 16, 2009, at 5:13 PM, Richard H. McCullough wrote:
>> mKR does describe actions, and reasoning about actions.
> Actually, no, it does not.  That is what you *intend* the relevant 
> expressions of mKR to mean, but mKR has no semantics (the intentions 
> locked in your own head don't count), so there is nothing that makes 
> it objectively the case for all users that mKR's expressions mean what 
> you intend.  Compare the semantics for OWL.  There is a document that 
> everyone can read to find out precisely the semantics of each of OWL's 
> constructs.  Similarly, google around for "semantics of programming 
> languages" for the same point vis-a-vis programming languages.  See, 
> e.g., the book by Winskel (
> Chris Menzel
I have already said that I have not presented a
formal semantic theory for mKR.
When you continue to harp on that subject
in every email, the only effect is to suppress
communication between us, and other members
of this forum.
I think you totally underestimate the context
which members of this forum share, as fellow
human beings.  Consider this mKR proposition.
at view = Ontolog Forum {
        I do say to you od {
                at time = 10 am yesterday {
                        I do walk from my house to Raley's done;
        } done;
I think every member of this forum will understand
the meaning of this proposition.  They will know
the meaning of "I", "you", "walk", "my house", etc.
They may not know exactly where "my house"
is located, but if that is important to them, they
can ask me to make my context more explicit.
You seem to imply that mKR is of no value without
a formal semantic theory.  I totally disagree.  Further,
I assert that there are many meaningful exchanges
taking place in this forum, even though we have
no formal semantics for English.
Dick McCullough

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