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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontologies as social mediators (was:Ontologydevelopm

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 12:45:32 -0600
Message-id: <C7F385E3-A385-4103-B5FC-256E71D32BC6@xxxxxxxx>
On Dec 3, 2009, at 10:50 AM, Burkett, William [USA] wrote:
> Chris -- see [wcb] below.
>> Burkett, William [USA] wrote:
>>> I guess I live in Ferenc's world, Chris.  Setting aside some sentence 
>construction problems, I understand what he's saying and agree with it - and I 
>don't understand your perspective that his assertions are false/meaningless.
>> Hey, I said my lights are dim. But I'd certainly be impressed if you could 
>convincingly render the first statement in the following paragraph in a way 
>that makes it true (and recall that this came in the context of an expression 
>of doubt about the logical validity of the principles of identity -- so a 
>translation that takes "identical" to mean something other than identity 
>doesn't count):
>>> A proposal in a natural language may not be identical withn itself.
>>> E.g.  No one likes to be contradicted =/ No one likes to be
>>> contradicted Or: Everyone loves finding another one in contradiction
>>> with him/herself Subject to the emphasis you may vary when reading
>>> it out, you will have diferent meanings exposed.  Or in simple
>>> English: I want to pay you for your contribution.
> [wcb] The explanation of my interpretation may not be convincing, but I 
>simply took it to mean that two statements that have identical 
>physical/lexical forms (to use Ferenc's linguist term) may not have identical 
>meaning - which, of course, is conflate identities of two different things.    (01)

But of course no one has a problem with THAT obvious point, Bill.  But note 
that you need a clear a notion of identity even to express it: Two physical 
tokens of the SAME type might have DIFFERENT meanings.  What I find exquisitely 
frustrating is for Ferenc to take this perfectly innocuous observation and make 
grand and sweeping dismissals of logic: "the basic laws of logic, i. e. the law 
of identity, etc. are not endorsed by reason."  That is simply abject nonsense 
that, when trumpeted in a public forum, deserves to loudly and openly labeled 
and dismissed as such to prevent it from replicating.  There are enough 
challenges to reason these days from the political and religious extremists 
that are flooding the airways and the internet, not to "post-modernist" 
extremists within academia, without giving them fodder from an allegedly 
scientific community.    (02)

>> And I'd be happy simply with a *coherent* rendering of the sentences after 
>the first. I just don't understand what's going on there at all. My *hunch* is 
>that he is trying to illustrate that written English is ambiguous (which, of 
>course, we already knew full well) and that this somehow throws the concept of 
>identity into doubt. I think that is a very confused idea. But maybe that's 
>not what he has in mind; all I can do is guess. Is it just me?
> [wcb] Not sure -- now I'm getting confused, too.
>>> Ferenc's statement that he's a linguist is important to understanding his 
>(and my) perspective.  I think linguistics has a LOT more to contribute to the 
>field of ontology development than logic does.
>> Well, of course, that depends on what aspect of ontology development you are 
>talking about but if you have in mind the creation of ontologies from 
>documents and domain experts (as opposed to the development of reasoning and 
>integration mechanisms) I'd probably agree. But obviously both linguistics and 
>logic are central to the overall vision of ontological engineering.
> [wcb] You're right in making this distinction - I agree with you here for the 
>most part.  Logic is essential to the reasoning/integration mechanisms.  
>However, don't forget that there's another facet of this: the human 
>individuals /creating/ the mechanisms still use (and can only use because 
>that's all that's available to them) their native linguistic facilities to 
>interpret the ontology as documented or explained.  This is a critical facet 
>that, IMO, is /always/ overlooked.  (My response to Ed is in this same vein.)    (03)

We seem to be in general agreement.    (04)

-chris    (05)

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