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Re: [ontolog-forum] Guo's word senses and Foundational Ontologies

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2009 01:48:34 -0400
Message-id: <4A24BD32.2040603@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Mitch,    (01)

Yes, I certainly agree that the word 'thought' is extremely vague,
and any statement one way or another is theory laden.    (02)

 > It depends on what one means by 'think'.    (03)

I was just irritated by comments by one person who thought that
the discussions on this list seemed to be denying the obvious.
I was using his terminology in my response.    (04)

 > I (ahem) think that it was new in the 20th century to even
 > consider that thought might have nonlinguistic (non-symbolic)
 > components...    (05)

Again, that all depends on what you mean by thought.  Aristotle
certainly had a much more sophisticated theory of the mind that
that.  In fact, his book _On the Psyche_ is considered by many
philosophers (among them Hilary Putnam) as being quite sophisticated
even by today's standards.  One of Putnam's comments was "Whenever
I become clearer about a subject, I find that Aristotle has become
clearer about it as well."    (06)

William James' _Principles of Psychology_ of 1890 was also much
more sophisticated than the long dark night of behaviorism of
the early 20th century.  In fact, the issues that James addressed
in that book are continuous with the issues addressed by cognitive
psychology 70 years later.    (07)

 > In another direction, if one takes ontological studies to be a
 > way to encode, rather, a basis for encoding thought....    (08)

Although I believe that the work on formal ontologies is useful,
I certainly don't believe that anything that anyone has yet
encoded in those ontologies captures more than a tiny fragment
of what people have in their heads.    (09)

Again, I would avoid the word 'thought' because it's too vague
and ill defined to be useful in technical discussions.    (010)

John Sowa    (011)

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