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Re: [ontolog-forum] new logic

To: paoladimaio10@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 02:36:35 -0500
Message-id: <4B580403.3060402@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Paola,    (01)

Let me emphasize one thing very strongly:  there is a wide range
of ways of thinking that are common to people around the world.
People in the same country may differ from one another more than
they differ from people half way around the world.    (02)

When Gautama Buddha meditated in India, he wasn't reacting against
western logic.  He was reacting against the ways of thinking that
he learned in *India*.    (03)

When Lao Tse wrote about the Tao in China, he wasn't reacting against
western ways of thinking.  He was reacting against Chinese ways of
thinking that he learned in *China*.    (04)

Furthermore, Buddha in India and Lao Tse in China lived about the
same time as Heraclitus in the Greek colonies in Anatolia.  Many
scholars have noted strong similarities in the teachings of all
three of them.  And Heraclitus had a strong influence on both
Plato and Aristotle, and through them all of Europe.    (05)

PDM> 1) Are you finally buying into the idea of 'chinese logic?'
> (or japanese as in this case) (as in non FOL, or more generalise
> as more western)    (06)

Please note what I've been saying for years:  the Zen and other
ways of thinking are *extremely* important.  But that doesn't mean
that other ways of thinking are not important.  (See the excerpt
below about the Buddhist theory of knowledge, which I wrote in
my 1984 book.)    (07)

Just look at the publications on logic and mathematics in China
and Japan.  The scientists there are very competent in using FOL,
where it is appropriate.  And for many applications, it is indeed
important.  But for other purposes, other ways of thinking may be
more important.    (08)

PDM> 2) If we can admit that certain verbiage/propositions - such
> as Haikus -  may not reflect in FOL (or may not be expressed as FOL,
> or other FOL relation as you may see) what other logic would be
> suitable for them?    (09)

The fact that Japanese mathematicians use FOL very well does not
imply that they can't write haiku.  The haiku express feelings that
they can't express in FOL.  What they are doing is expressing a way
of feeling that is different from logic.    (010)

The same person can use many different ways of thinking.    (011)

_____________________________________________________________________    (012)

The following excerpts are taken from Chapter 7, "Limits of
Conceptualization" in _Conceptual Structures_  by J. F. Sowa,
Addison-Wesley, 1984.    (013)

Different conceptual systems may be internally consistent, but
incompatible with one another. In Either/Or, Kierkegaard presented the
world views of two men: the first man had an esthetic view of the world,
and the second an ethical view. Each view contained a comprehensive set
of mutually compatible concepts. In terms of them, each man could give a
coherent interpretation of his experience. Yet communication between the
two broke down because their concepts were incompatible. Even when they
used the same words, their concepts were oriented in conflicting directions.    (014)

Compatible concepts form self-contained systems, and knowing one leads
to the discovery of others. Every concept is compatible with its
opposite: good and evil, beauty and ugliness, justice and injustice. In
the Book of the Tao, Lao Tzu said, “When everyone recognizes the good as
good, there is beginning of evil. When everyone recognizes the beautiful
as beautiful, there is the beginning of ugliness.” This seemingly
paradoxical statement refers to the interdependence of all the concepts
in a compatible set. When smooth, tender skin is classified as
beautiful, then coarse, wrinkled skin becomes ugly. In such terms, an
elephant may become ugly, even though an elephant, on its own terms, is
a very beautiful animal.    (015)

Conceptual relativity sets limitations on the generality of conceptual
analysis. The concept types and schemata discovered by the analysis hold
only for a single culture, language, or domain of discourse. Leibniz's
dream of a universal lexicon of concepts that would be fixed for all
time is doomed to failure. For a special application or range of
applications, it is still possible to have restricted lexicons that are
adequate to support knowledge-based systems. A universal expert system,
however, would require a method for freely inventing new concepts for
any possible domain. Such a system would require learning and discovery
techniques that are far beyond present capabilities.    (016)

Discrete concepts divide the world into discrete things. The
arbitrariness of this division is a common theme of Oriental
philosophers. Lao Tzu said, “The Nameless is the origin of heaven and
earth, the Named is the mother of all things.” The world flows according
to the unnamed Tao, but the differentiation of the world into discrete
objects is a consequence of the discreteness of the conceptual
mechanisms and the words that reflect them.    (017)

By meditation on paradoxical sayings or koans, Zen Buddhism seeks to
undermine a person's conceptual system and promote a direct experience
of conceptual relativity. The process cuts through many years of
cherished beliefs and automatic ways of thinking and acting. It requires
a painful letting go of familiar habits. But the result is a blissful
state of Enlightenment where the anxieties based on the old system of
concepts melt into insignificance. The most detailed statement of the
Buddhist theory of knowledge comes from the Lankavatara Sutra (Goddard
1938):    (018)

  * Appearance knowledge gives names to things. It “belongs to the word
    mongers who revel in discriminations, assertions, and negations.”    (019)

  * Relative knowledge does more than classifying. “It rises from the
    mind's ability to arrange, combine, and analyze these relations by
    its powers of discursive logic and imagination, by reason of which
    it is able to peer into the meanings and significance of things.”    (020)

  * Perfect knowledge “is the pathway and the entrance into the exalted
    state of self-realization of Noble Wisdom.” Perfect knowledge does
    not rule out the use of words and concepts, but it goes beyond them
    to a state of nonattachment to any particular conceptual system.    (021)

Concepts are useful fictions that are not absolute. There is a Buddhist
saying that words are like a finger pointing to the moon: one who
focuses only on the words and the concepts they symbolize will miss the
reality they express, just as one who looks only at the finger will not
see the moon it points to. Nonattachment to any system does not mean
ignorance of all systems; appearance knowledge and relative knowledge
are important for everyday life. The enlightened one is free to use
concepts, but is not bound to them as absolute. Yet the path to
enlightenment requires a painful abandonment of the comfortable old ways
of thinking before any assurance is offered that the new way is better.    (022)

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