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Re: [ontolog-forum] rant on pseudoscience

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 21:58:08 -0500
Message-id: <4B5D08C0.9010107@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ravi,    (01)

RS> I think Logic and math interplay in the accurate realization
 > of Models but are Model Theories described simply somewhere?    (02)

The simplest explanation is that model theory is based on the
correspondence theory of truth:  a statement is true if it
corresponds to reality, and it's false if it doesn't.  Model
theory is just a systematic way of evaluating the truth or
falsity of a statement in terms of some model of reality.    (03)

For Tarski's own explanation of the idea, see    (04)

    The Semantic Conception of Truth    (05)

But people have criticized model theory because there is more to say
about the meaning of a statement than just its truth conditions:    (06)

  1. For example, the following three statements are true in
     every possible model, but the fact that they talk about
     different subjects indicates that they are not synonymous:    (07)

      a) Every cat is a cat.    (08)

      b) Every dog is a dog.    (09)

      c) Every unicorn is a unicorn.    (010)

  2. Not all true statements are equally important, but model
     theory has nothing to say about importance or relevance.    (011)

  3. Model theory says nothing about purposes, intentions, or
     goals.  It can't distinguish why anybody would say anything,
     what the speaker intended to achieve by saying something,
     or what the listener would do upon hearing it.    (012)

  4. Model theory can't distinguish something that is partially
     or approximately true from something that is egregiously
     false.  The statement "That car weighs 2 tons" might be
     approximately true, but model theory would treat it as
     just as false as "That car weighs less than a feather"
     or "That car weighs more than a million tons."    (013)

These objections don't imply that model theory is wrong for
what it does.  But they indicate that there is more to meaning
than just the truth conditions for a statement.    (014)

John    (015)

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