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Re: [ontolog-forum] Past, Present, and Future of Ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 11:22:08 -0500
Message-id: <E560298A-195B-469D-B39B-3B60B6AFEFAE@xxxxxxxx>
On May 28, 2009, at 1:43 AM, Richard H. McCullough wrote:
>> It is hard to imagine how anybody could say anything more
>> simple-minded that that:
> #### Is it really so simple-minded, when the next words out of
> #### your mouth are "context is certainly relevant"?    (01)

It would be *much* easier to read your responses if you didn't prepend  
every line with five completely unnecessary hash marks.  (And perhaps  
you don't see the irony in choosing the unix comment symbol, which  
tells the interpreter to ignore everything to the right?)    (02)

>> RHM> All of your "problems" can be summarized in one word: CONTEXT.
>>> The "solutions" are readily available: use a CONTEXT LANGUAGE.
>> Context is certainly relevant.  There are many well thought out
>> theories and formalisms that have addressed the subject of context.
>> But doing justice to the subject requires far more than a notation
>> that happens to be decorated with the word 'context'.
> #### If context is the central problem, then how can you deal with
> #### the problem, unless you have a language based on context?
> #### If you think that context is only a "decoration" in the mKR
> #### language, then you don't understand mKR at all.    (03)

No, actually, you don't understand the point.  You have neither a  
theory of contexts nor a semantics for your use of the word.  John'  
characterization is exactly right.  Like pretty much every primitive  
of mKR, the string "context" in mKR is nothing but a decoration whose  
meaning is fixed neither proof theoretically nor model theoretically.   
Hence, it s utterly useless for the task of representing, sharing, and  
reasoning upon information across high-speed networks.    (04)

>> Please do your homework, study the issues, and read the many volumes
>> of publications by people who have actually done their homework.
> #### Context is an essential ingredient of Cyc.
> #### Have they done their homework?    (05)

Actually, yes.  Cyc's underlying theory of context is due largely to  
Guha, who took his PhD under McCarthy and who has published fairly  
widely on the topic.  See in particular his 1991 Stanford dissertation  
"Contexts: A Formalization and Some Applications", where he defines a  
language, a model theory, and a proof theory for his account and works  
through a large number of examples and applications with exhaustive  
discussion.  You would do well to use Guha's work as a model for your  
own.    (06)

> #### I grant that you are a great scholar, John.
> #### But can't you put aside your academic bias    (07)

Be careful.  "academic bias" is a favorite epithet among cranks the  
world over, who blame their lack of acceptance within the academic  
community on prejudice (or envy, or the desire for power, or...)  
rather than any shortcomings in their work.  I'm supposing you don't  
want to be considered among their company.    (08)

> #### long enough to consider whether I am right or not?    (09)

It is *because* John is a scholar with a vast knowledge of the history  
of AI and KR that it is so obvious to him why your work does not begin  
to measure up to the standards of the field.  What *you* need to do is  
set "put aside" the idea that you have single-handedly solved the most  
vexing problems of AI and KR and follow John's advice: Do your homework.    (010)

Chris Menzel    (011)

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