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

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 17:02:36 -0600
Message-id: <E069CE76-839A-4B96-A108-E85E2F24A49D@xxxxxxxx>
On Jan 23, 2010, at 9:46 PM, Rob Freeman wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 24, 2010 at 11:01 AM, Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On Jan 22, 2010, at 7:43 PM, Rob Freeman wrote:
>>> So what is important is this idea that there are "predictive limitations of 
>> A fact as well known (in its own manifestations) in physics as it is in 
>computer science. A factobvious 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 onto 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.
> Your affection for the mundane is too strong, Chris.     (01)

My affection for the...huh?  Whatever.  You miss the point:  The only 
substantive claim you have made, once decoded, is a well known and mundane fact 
about scientific theories.    (02)

> John Sowa's advocacy of Wittgenstein's language games hints at this idea of 
>process which does not admit of abstraction, but he doesn't see a theoretical 
>link.    (03)

Ah, and you do.    (04)

> It is actually very interesting for me to see the issue through your eyes,    (05)

There is no "issue" here to be seen "through my eyes", i.e., no issue in which 
context and perspective play any essential role.  I am simply reporting basic, 
objective facts of computer science.    (06)

> when you stop simply hrmphing and disputing words.    (07)

I've disputed nothing.  I have objected to your use of nonstandard, 
idiosyncratic jargon to express well-known facts.  This leads to unnecessary 
confusion.    (08)

> For instance you characterized undecidability as "...about the limits of 
>computation."    (09)

That is a common and widespread characterization of an array of theorems 
(commonly called "limitative theorems") that includes the halting problem, 
Gödel's incompleteness theorems, Church's theorem, etc.  That you don't know 
this suggests you know neither the literature nor the subject matter.    (010)

> This reminds me of a quasi-religious interpretation along the lines of Goedel 
>himself,    (011)

There are certain problems that no digital computer could solve, in any finite 
amount of time and with any finite amount of memory.  This is a rather 
elementary fact of computer science, the existence of which is as religious as 
the existence of prime numbers greater than a million.    (012)

> Why anyone would characterize undecidability as a "limit of computation", I 
>don't know.    (013)

That's quite clear.  Let me help:  A problem is undecidable if it cannot be 
solved by any computer, even in theory.  So the existence of undecidable 
problems (like the halting problem) shows that there are limits to the problems 
that computers can solve; you know, limits to computation or, better, to 
computability.    (014)

> I guess it means your faith in an absolute, decidable, world is so great, 
>that when computation fails to deliver, it is computation which has failed, 
>not the perfect, decidable world.  The world must be decidable, so if 
>computation is not, then computation must not be adequate to model the world...    (015)

Wow.  Well, the train's clearly left for Crazytown here.    (016)

See ya.  I'm done trying to help.    (017)

-chris    (018)

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