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Re: [ontolog-forum] language vs logic - ambiguity and startingwithdefini

To: doug@xxxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2010 09:20:03 -0400
Message-id: <4C975F83.4050703@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Rich,    (01)

> Is there a compelling reason to not distinguish between properties
 > and relations?    (02)

There is a very good reason:  different people have wildly different
assumptions and definitions (or no definitions at all) about the
distinction between properties, attributes, and characteristics.    (03)

Just look at any typical dictionary designed for human consumption,
even very good, usually reliable ones.  They all use circular
definitions and/or very vague synonyms for those words.    (04)

In logic, properties, attributes, and characteristics are all
specified by monadic relations.  The differences, if any,
can be specified in the axioms that specify those relations.    (05)

That is why I strongly urge people to use plain vanilla FOL
to state their definitions.  It forces them to *think* about
what they're saying -- instead of putting down some label
like 'property' or 'attribute' or 'characteristic' and feel
that they have actually said something meaningful.    (06)

In fact, I would even say that you don't need to use a formal
language.  Just say what each term means in an ordinary English
statement that *avoids* using any kind of technical terms,
such as 'property', 'attribute', or 'characteristic'.    (07)

People don't use those words when they're trying to explain
something to a child.  It's better to talk to a computer in
plain, simple words than to use high-falutin' polysyllables.    (08)

John    (09)

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