I suspect there is some truth is what you say - engineers (average or
otherwise) do not take to FOL, as least in its current incarnations. (02)
But what is odd is that there are quite a few programming languages that are
'quite difficult' and require some time to learn properly (as there are
engineering problems that are difficult). As difficult as FOL? I certainly
find them more difficult, less intuitive - my guess is you might well too.
But that could be just to do with how we have been educated. (03)
I suspect, like Ian, that at least one contributing factor is that most the
commercial programming languages have had quite a lot of effort devoted to
making them easy to use to produce code. Whereas the effort in (notation
for) logic has not been in the same direction. I guess one could take your
comments to imply that no amount of effort will make CL/FOL sufficiently
easy to use. I wonder whether you are being too pessimistic - I also wonder
what arguments one could marshal for this position. (04)
Of course, the problem is that if it is not easy to use people are much less
likely to use it - unless they are given an overwhelming case for doing so. (05)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher Menzel
> Sent: 18 October 2010 21:39
> To: ian@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx; [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Oooh, FOL is too hard to learn.
> On 10/18/2010 02:23 PM, Ian Bailey wrote:
> > Hi John,
> > You wrote:
> > ... people said "Oooh, FOL is too hard to learn."
> > Which is true. CL (pick any dialect you like) is difficult to work with.
> Which (just to be clear) is to say that first-order logic is difficult to
> > If
> > it weren't so awkward, more people might use it for commercial
> > Until that day, people will work with more productive, intuitive
> > notations, that unfortunately are somewhat less formal - they still
> mind you.
> So again, just to be clear, your claim is that no notation for first-order
> can be as productive as the more intuitive notations of which you speak.
> > Maybe the CL/FOL community need to employ some HCI folks to help them
> > develop the next generation of modelling notation, because what's
> > there in CL now just isn't going to cut it with the average developer
> > or data modeller.
> But now I'm confused. Your claim is that it is first-order logic per se
> the problem. If that is true, then it would make no sense for the CL/FOL
> work with HCI folks to develop another notation, since it would be yet
> another FOL notation -- and hence yet another CL dialect and, hence, a
> notation that (according to you) no average developer or data modeler is
> ever going to work in.
> Perhaps first-order logic isn't for the "average developer or data
> the way that a lot of useful higher mathematics isn't for the "average
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