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Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantic Systems

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 11:20:29 -0700
Message-id: <20090630182129.E7C051391C6@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>






Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

(949) 525-5712

725 Center Street

Costa Mesa, CA  92627


Kowalsik put it clearly on p.9 of his book “Logic for Problem Solving”:

‘It follows that it is unnecessary to talk about meaning at all.  All talk about meaning can be reexpressed in terms of logical implication.’ 

    To us this declared their retreat into either a world of pure symbol manipulation or a rarefied Platonic reality accessible to some privileged minds.

 RC>  Kowalski is a good writer and logician, and his book is well worth reading, as I have several times.  But I can’t subscribe to the statement “it is unnecessary to talk about meaning at all”.

I like your view of meaning as a relation among signs and objects.  English QA semantic systems have to “talk” and “listen” using a circumscribed set of concepts.  Those concepts, in my imagination at least, could in principal be automated using interpretive software.  So execution of that software still has to be described in enough detail that we can build the software. 

Are you familiar with the LGP English grammar rules?  The average first grader has understood a lot of meaning by her first day in school.  Some of that came from English statements made by parents, teachers, others.  That leaves some small number of vocabulary entries that can be modeled in deep detail.  The few thousand word vocabulary of simple first grader English ought to be of workable size if the project is well organized. 


Dealing with concrete business activity and legal problems, we held the view that meanings are relationships between signs (logical or other) and the physical things and social constructs that business information and laws deal with.  A tiny fraction of our meaning relationships could be between signs (logical expressions) and other signs but the great majority would be between signs and many other things that exist in the real world, such as steel ingots or culpable behaviour.  Moreover those relationships cannot be dreamed up anonymously by whoever reads the signs; but they are supplied by the producers or interpreters of the signs / sentences / reports / evidence / etc. who will be held responsible for their imputed meanings.


So: no semantics without ontology

RC> Yes, that appears to be the case. 

and no semantics without responsible agents.

RC> A very different topic.  What makes an agent “responsible”?  Just that it shares some protocol for interacting with people?  Or does it have to actually take responsibility for some action or object in some other way. 


Of course we started with the usual objectivist view of reality.  But that does not work in a legal context, among other things, because it omits the responsible agents.

Having done a lot of work in the legal technology area, I don’t see that the law emphasizes responsibility;  the law teaches the customs and practices of a segmented society.  We “punish” legal offenders if we decide they caused bad situations to occur.  We provide incentives for people who follow the norms – e.g. intellectual property law.  But even in the law, it is very difficult to find someone who isn’t at least a little innocent as well as a little guilty in practice.  So its not a clear cut logical distinction IMHO. 


I shall not attempt to explain the form of the actualist ontology we employ but you may glean a little about it in the two papers on www.rstamper.co.uk.

For work on semantics, do we not need a kind of logic that keeps the agents in the picture? one that starts from responsibility and existence as primitives and then leads to truth and falsity as derived concepts.   I guess that it will resemble FOL with a twist. 

 Yes, agents act purposefully while nonagents are physical objects.  So I agree that the agent concept and its various applications, are needed to properly process English text. 

Ronald Stamper




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