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Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantic Systems

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2009 18:30:55 +0200
Message-id: <C6485434-7D6A-40F9-AFBB-993B428396CA@xxxxxxxx>
On Jun 30, 2009, at 2:43 PM, Ronald Stamper wrote:
> Perhaps I have misunderstood the discussion but it appears to  
> concern the use of languages, especially forms of logic, to solve  
> problems of meaning.
> You can do that with FOL provided that you are prepared to deal only  
> with the self-contained world to which it gives access.
I have no idea what you mean by a "self-contained world", but there  
are no restrictions whatsoever on the subject matter that can be  
represented in FOL (though it may not be the most appropriate logic  
for certain domains, e.g., quantum mechanics).
> 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.
I suspect you are grossly misinterpreting the remark.  I don't have  
the book in question, but one natural, and fairly innocuous,  
interpretation is simply that the meaning of a sentence (in a given  
theory) is characterized by the set of sentences it logically  
implies.  This is more or less the axiomatic approach to ontologies.
> So: no semantics without ontology
Well, that depends on the kind of semantics you have in mind.  If your  
purpose is simply to provide a semantics for the basic operators of  
FOL — which is all the basic model theory of FOL purports to do — then  
you don't really need any specific ontology at all.
> and no semantics without responsible agents.
Simply false for the semantics of first-order logic.  Perhaps true if  
you have a different notion of semantics in mind.
> For work on semantics, do we not need a kind of logic that keeps the  
> agents in the picture?
Again, it depends on what you mean by "semantics".  There is so much  
that falls under that term that the question as it stands is simply  
ill-formed.  This literature on logic-based approaches to agency is  
absolutely huge.
> 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.
Maybe.  Show us a theory.    (01)

-chris    (02)

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