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Re: [ontolog-forum] Conjunction and Disjunction

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 03 Jul 2009 18:12:34 -0400
Message-id: <4A4E8252.6040205@xxxxxxxxxxx>
John,    (01)

There are multiple issues about the background knowledge necessary
for interpreting natural language in context and about the logical
operators for combining various sentences.    (02)

JB> I'm confused by the sentences and by John's combination.
 > The use of "the" as the declarative indicates to me that
 > there is one water fountain. I assume (abduction) that they
 > are going to drink or that Wanda is going to hold the faucet
 > while Paul drinks, or vice versa.    (03)

Given just those two sentences, deduction alone cannot add
new information about which if any of them actually drink
water or hold the faucet or anything else:    (04)

RC>    1.    Paul goes to the water fountain;
 >>     2.    Wanda goes to the water fountain;    (05)

The only combination that can be derived by strict deduction
is the conjunction of #1 and #2.  Other sentences can be
derived by generalizing (i.e., throwing away some information):    (06)

    Someone goes to the water fountain.    (07)

    Someone goes to a water fountain.    (08)

    Someone goes somewhere.    (09)

    There is a person.    (010)

    There is a water fountain.    (011)

You can't even derive the sentence "Two people went to the
water fountain" unless you have additional information that
Paul and Wanda are names of two distinct individuals.    (012)

By abduction, you might assume that Paul is male and Wanda
is female, and males are usually distinct from females.
But deduction alone won't allow you to make that assumption.
It's quite possible, for example, that Paul sometimes goes
in drag and takes the name Wanda.    (013)

That is why natural language understanding requires much
more than just deduction.    (014)

John Sowa    (015)

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