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Re: [ontolog-forum] semantics of the mKR language

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 09:04:40 -0500
Message-id: <214CE03F-C697-4170-871A-C66FE9542844@xxxxxxxx>
On Mar 26, 2009, at 5:24 AM, "Richard H. McCullough" <rhm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Let me amend/expand my statement.

RHM>  I don't believe John or Pat have come to grips with the
meaning of symbols in any natural language, e.g., English.

I think your Conceptual Graph work in the 1980s was outstanding.  It was one of the few things in the AI field that I really admired.  I also like your "Knowledge Representation" book.

I'm not as familar with your work, but I applaud your efforts such as the Naive Physics essay.  I don't like your approach to Semantics.

John & Pat
Today, I think you have gone astray. Your focus on "possible worlds" has prevented you from grasping the true meaning of words, which is derived from sensory perception of things in the real world.

Neither Pat nor John adopts a possible worlds semantics. The fact that you think so demonstrates clearly that you have no idea what they have done or what possible world semantics is.  (Directing this charge at John is particularly ironic, as he has on numerous occasions expressed (in conjunction with actual arguments) his outright disdain for possible worlds and has described in detail an alternative to possible world semantics.)

Let me emphasize that this is not a personal attack.  But I think that your current approach to Semantics is just plain wrong.

As you do not know what their current approach to semantics is, this assertion is utterly groundless.

I know that your approach is considered standard practice by many people. But I do not endorse it.  I do not consider it appropriate for natural languages.

So you've asserted, repeatedly, without argument.  There are indeed a number of approaches to the semantics of natural language.  But to say model theoretic approaches are *inappropriate* is simple ignorance.  No matter one's preferred approach, it is just a fact that there is a vast and extraordinarily rich body of research in linguistics in which model theoretic methods are fruitfully brought to bear on a wide variety of semantical issues in natural language.  John mentioned three notable paradigms -- Montague Grammar, situation semantics, and discourse representation theory.  As you are oblivious to this research you have no basis for making any judgments regarding the propriety of these methods.

Be that as it may, the proper approach to the semantics of natural language has never really been at issue in these threads.

I do not consider it appropriate for mKR.

That has been the issue.  The point, once again, is that, your waffling on the issue notwithstanding, mKR is a formal language that you tout as a knowledge representation language and, presumably, by your participation in this forum, as one that can further the goal of using computers to share and integrate information across high-speed computer networks.  For reasons explained repeatedly (and for the last time by me), mKR as it stands lacks the logical and formal semantical underpinnings that are essential for it to be able to serve those purposes.

That's it from me.  It should be clear enough at this point for those who've bothered to follow these discussions what mKR has to offer this community and the KR community generally.

Chris Menzel

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