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[ontolog-forum] "Concept" by Dr. W.A.Woods (arvard)

To: Phil Murray <pcmurray2000@xxxxxxxxx>, ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John Bottoms <john@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 05 Jun 2010 08:50:17 -0400
Message-id: <4C0A4809.1040208@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Principles of Semantic Networks, 1991, edited by JohnS.
Dr. Woods is at Harvard and Sun and he worked on KL-ONE.    (01)

This discussion arose as a byproduct of trying to tease apart
the notions of "meaning", "idea" and "concept".    (02)

Woods describes a concept as (pg 46...):
1. "Some say it is a predicate".    (03)

2. "I argue that it is a data structure".    (04)

3. The data structure describes intensional abstract
    descriptions.    (05)

4. The description can be satisfied by its components
    (he uses the Tarski definition of an arch as consisting
     of 2 upright blocks with a cross block resting on the
     top of the 2 blocks, i.e. relations et al).    (06)

5. The description can be satisfied in a situation and can
     be used to characterize the entity.    (07)

6. The description can be used as a structured plan.    (08)

7. The structure of a description can entail properties in
    a formal way that does not necessarily require the
    description to be satisfied (maybe the supporting ability
    of the arch).    (09)

8. Conceptual descriptions may be atomic or composite
    constructed of other conceptual descriptions.    (010)

What he presents is a noble effort. However I think he has
confounded his work with that of "meaning". It seems that he
does not appreciate the fact that meanings entail consequences.    (011)

And meaning must already provide for composite definitions, but
he does not recognize that. Likewise meanings must accommodate
abstract entities.    (012)

His example of arch examines the case of an inactive actor. It
might have been better to use an active actor as the strawman.    (013)

Further still, if his definition of "meaning" requires a concpt
then it must at some point be fetched or linked-to in the same way
one would perform that function for a meaning.    (014)

Between these arguments I don't see that his definition adds to
that of "meaning".    (015)

-John    (016)

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