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Re: [ontolog-forum] [STI-community] FINAL CALL: charting the futureof se

To: "Richard H. McCullough" <rhm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 07 Apr 2009 14:54:01 -0400
Message-id: <49DBA149.90006@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dick,    (01)

That's the point we have been trying to get across:  Some parts
of the problem are impossible to specify, and other parts are
very easy.  What we recommend is that you should ignore the
impossible parts, and do the easy parts.    (02)

RHM> You can get me started in the right direction by explaining
 > how a computer programmer can map "John F. Sowa" to reality.
 > Next, how a computer programmer can map "human" to reality.
 > Next, how a computer programmer can map "John F. Sowa is a human."
 > to reality.    (03)

We originally suggested that you take Tarski as an example, but he
doesn't even say anything specific about natural languages.  However,
William of Ockham goes into great detail.  And that is why I recommend
that you start with Ockham.    (04)

In my previous note, I suggested that you focus on Part II of Ockham's
book, which addresses the structure of propositions.  But I now see
that you should begin with Part I, because that is where he addresses
your questions:    (05)

    http://pvspade.com/Logic/docs/ockham.pdf    (06)

If you start at the beginning of Chapter I (page 4), you can read
Ockham's summary and commentary on Aristotle's theory about how
words are related to the world.    (07)

On page 5 line 10, Ockham summarizes Aristotle's distinction between
written terms, spoken terms, and mental terms.  (Aristotle's actual
word was 'logos', which has a very broad meaning.)    (08)

In the next couple of pages, Ockham (following Aristotle and
Augustine) notes that you can't say much about the unobservable
mental terms.  Therefore, the analysis and definitions must
relate to signs that can be seen and heard.    (09)

In short, stop wasting your time in talking about things
nobody has a clue about.  Neither Aristotle nor Ockham nor
Tarski nor you nor anybody else on earth today has a clue
about how those mental terms are processed in the brain
or the soul.  We know that there's something going on inside
the head, but whatever it is, we can't say anything useful
about it.  So don't even pretend to say anything about it.    (010)

Instead, Aristotle, Augustine, Ockham, and all modern logicians
and linguists talk about words and other signs that we can see,
hear, analyze, and relate.    (011)

If you continue reading Ockham, he'll answer your question --
but his examples are 'Socrates' and 'man' (or 'Sortes' and 'homo'
in Latin).  In Part II, he'll also show how to analyze the
interrelationships of words in various kinds of sentences and
how those relationships contribute to the truth or falsity of
the sentence.  (That is essentially Tarski's model theory
written in Latin about Latin.)    (012)

You can go to your favorite online bookstore to order Part II of
Ockham's book.  While you're waiting, you can read Paul Spade's
translation of Part I.    (013)

John    (014)

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