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Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation ontology, CYC, and Mapping

To: mail@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Chris Partridge <partridge.csj@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2010 20:05:23 -0600
Message-id: <95DD7403-A45C-42B5-AFA0-231A46544B56@xxxxxxx>
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.936)    (01)

On Feb 26, 2010, at 11:16 AM, Chris Partridge wrote:    (02)

> Pat,
> Agree with a lot of what you say below, but I am having trouble  
> working out
> exactly what you mean with this.
> But I
>> was talking about computational ontologies. Computational  
>> ontologies are
>> artifacts, written in formal logical notations. They do not simply  
>> 'have'
> natural
>> meanings, meanings-in-the-wild, in the way that human natural  
>> languages
> are
>> said to have.  They do not have intended meanings. We may intend  
>> them to
> have
>> a meaning, but a computational ontology is just as artificial and  
>> "formal"
> (which
>> is to say, "mathematical" in the sense of being mathematically  
>> described)
> as any
>> other artifact. And in the case of logically expressed formalisms,  
>> like
> those used
>> in computational ontologies, the Tarskian theory of meaning applies  
>> in a
> special
>> way.
> My problem is with the claim that computational ontologies do not have
> intended meanings, as it looks like you are saying above.    (03)

OK, I spoke too quickly. Of course they have intended meanings in the  
sense that whoever wrote them probably intended them to mean  
something. What I meant was, that this is not the notion of 'meaning'  
that can be analyzed by a semantic theory and, more to the point,  
connected to formal inference. The completeness theorem cuts both  
ways. If we want some conclusion to follow (because we intend it to)  
but it does not, in fact, follow, then the completeness theorem tells  
us that our axioms, whether we like this or not, do not IN FACT mean  
what we intended them to mean. What they ACTUALLY mean allows an  
interpretation which makes them true while also rendering our intended  
conclusion false. And it is foolish, and poor methodoloy, to just  
stamp our foot and insist that the axioms REALLY DO mean what we want  
them to mean. What we should do in such a case is fix the axioms.    (04)

The situation is exactly similar to running buggy software. I write a  
program to do a task. I know exactly what it should do. My intended  
behavior is quite clear. But it does something else. Moral: I need to  
fix it. Bad strategy to insist, no, it really is doing what I intend  
it to do, because running it is just a formal theory of what it is  
supposed to do. What it is *really* doing is what I say it should be  
doing.    (05)

Pat H    (06)

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