[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Can Syntax become Semantic ?

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2010 16:01:59 -0600
Message-id: <E3F5DBA8-B490-4C59-8D45-5B3FAEBD12DE@xxxxxxxx>
On Jan 22, 2010, at 7:43 PM, Rob Freeman wrote:
> Chris
> On Sat, Jan 23, 2010 at 1:35 PM, Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> So it appears that the content of your claim that "there are many 
>> processes which cannot be completely summarized" is nothing more than the
>> fact that there are undecidable computational problems.  What I don't 
>> is why you are using your own idiosyncratic terminology for expressing this
>> exceedingly well known and rather elementary fact about the limits of
>> computation.  Surely the only effect of doing so is to obfuscate what
>> is otherwise entirely clear.
> It makes you think about it, yes. It is entirely normal that those who are 
>most familiar with this old result will have the most difficulty seeing it in 
>a new light.    (01)

Nonsense.  We're talking about a straightforward, entirely unambiguous theorem 
of mathematics no different in kind than, say, the fundamental theorem of 
arithmetic.  One doesn't see it in "different lights".  One either understands 
it or one doesn't.    (02)

>>> Or you could look at Stephen Wolfram's idea of "computational 
>irreducibility". It
>>> appears to me to be saying the same thing:
>> Yes, although he appears to be citing undecidability to illustrate a more 
>> claim about the predictive limitations of theories.
> I'm glad you are able to see this.    (03)

Oh, ok.  Though I'm puzzled that you think there is something to be glad about, 
as if I'd had some sort of insight.  I'm just reporting what Wolfram said 
(well, what I thought he'd said -- as John has noted, I'd mistakenly assumed 
you were quoting Wolfram, not a Wikipedia article).      (04)

> So what is important is this idea that there are "predictive limitations of 
>theories."    (05)

A fact as well known (in its own manifestations) in physics as it is in 
computer science.  A fact obvious to anyone who has taken a basic physics lab, 
let alone studied a bit of nonlinear dynamics or quantum mechanics.  I'm not 
sure why you seem to be suggesting you're on to something particularly deep 
here.  In computer science there are inherent limits to computation.  In 
physics there are inherent limitations to observation, calculation, and 
measurement.  These rather mundane facts immediately entail that our theories 
have predictive limitations.    (06)

> My comment to Ali was that the "predictive limitations of theories" might 
>explain why our "theories" of language (grammars) have failed to usefully 
>disambiguate natural language, and that we might be able to do better by 
>treating syntactic predictions purely as a process, distinct from theories 
>about that process.    (07)

I have no idea what that means.    (08)

Chris Menzel    (09)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (010)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>