John Sowa suggested:
[JFS} > > There is no point in continuing this discussion. (01)
I tend to agree, since we seem to have expressed our thoughts on the FO
issue several times. I will refrain from commenting on John's postings if
he refrains from commenting on mine. (02)
If others have questions about the things I have said, please feel free to
comment or ask, on the list or directly. (03)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F. Sowa
> Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2010 11:29 PM
> To: [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation ontology, CYC, and Mapping
> Some fundamental principles:
> 1. A computer cannot do anything with "intended meanings" in the
> head of some programmer or some human being who runs the program.
> 2. The only meanings that are relevant to the computer are the ones
> that are embodied in the programs that the computer runs.
> 3. Those meanings must be derived from some kind of specifications,
> which are translated into executable machine code either by a
> human programmer or by some compiler that automatically translates
> a formal specification into executable code.
> 4. If we want to use an ontology to ensure interoperability those
> specifications must be so precisely defined that any two coders
> (human or machine) will generate equivalent machine code.
> 5. Words like 'primitive' are so vaguely defined that they provide
> little or no guidance to programmers. Pat H. and I have been
> trying to explain the formal relationships between specifications
> and machine code. Arguments over the meanings of words like
> 'primitive' are irrelevant.
> PC> Given these two interpretations of "primitive" in a
> > theory, it seems that the "meanings" of terms (including primitive
> > terms) in a mathematical theory have little resemblance to the
> > meanings of terms in a computational ontology that is intended to
> > serve some useful purpose...
> The useful purpose we are talking about is translating a specification
> into machine code. Any "intended meanings" that aren't in the formal
> spec's aren't going to end up in the executable code.
> PC> ... the meanings of the terms in the ontology do not depend solely
> > on the total sum of all the inferences derivable from the logic, but
> > on the **intended meanings**, which do or at least should control
> > the way the elements are used in applications.
> That is sheer nonsense. If those intended meanings aren't in the
> spec's, they won't get into the machine code. And if the spec's
> aren't precise, different programmers will write incompatible codes,
> which won't be interoperable.
> PC> The intended meanings can be understood by human programmers not
> > only from the relations on the ontology elements, but also from the
> > linguistic documentation, which may reiterate in less formal terms
> > the direct assertions on each element, but may also include
> > clarification and examples of included or excluded instances.
> I agree that programmers often do things like that. But the result is
> incompatible implementations that can't interoperate. The whole
> of a formal ontology is to support interoperability.
> What you're suggesting is that we should abandon all hope of ever
> using precise specifications of any kind.
> PC> It seems quite clear to me that it is a mistake to assume that
> > the interpretation of "meaning" or "primitive" in a mathematical
> > theorem is the same as the way that "meaning" and "primitive" are
> > used in practical computational ontologies.
> The standards of precision of mathematics have been adopted by
> engineers in high-tech industries for years. In fact, engineers
> and scientists have used such levels of precision since the 19th
> century. What you're suggesting is that we should abandon 150
> years of engineering practice.
> There is no point in continuing this discussion.
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