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Re: [ontolog-forum] Oooh, FOL is too hard to learn.

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, edbark@xxxxxxxx
From: Pavithra <pavithra_kenjige@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2010 17:28:17 -0700 (PDT)
Message-id: <509822.98676.qm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

One may develop an intuition based on education and experience,  and one may just have a hunch.   If the intuition is based on the appropriate knowledge base,( ie education and training ) the mind would be working like a computer to project the appropriate information as intuition to help make decisions.

When people learn multiple languages with grammar,  they learn different kind of logic and rules.   So there many be a little off with linguistic _expression_ in another language. 

For example,  Kannada language ( the language people use in Bangalore India) has well developed grammar, with logic with sentence formation.   There are well documented  rules to  concatenate two words to form a more meaningful new word.  These rules have names too.   There are sing along songs to remember each one of the rules ( called Sandi among the other things)    Raining king of the 13the century provided funding to revise the language with new grammar and to document it.   And this is just one example.  There are 22 such well developed languages there.   Students are required to learn at least three languages from early on in school.   English is one of them.   Depending on the schools and European influence on the institution, some have more emphasis on languages and to teach English well.   Some teach other languages .  But when students graduate with math and science and engineering. medicine and other subjects,  there is little emphasis on literature and languages.   So many people do not dwell too much into languages because of that..   People who study languages and literature dwell more into those areas.

So  their left brain or right brain gets developed during the course of education.
When you learn Languages and literature as major in collage, taking additional courses in logic would help with language usage in a group like this.   But that does not mean, they can be good computer scientists or develop good models or subject matter experts...  But I am sure they can communicate well and write descriptive language well.  

But with careful further learning may help to develop skills in both the areas and balance the brain.

Many people do not catch a chemist and bother him about language and grammer,  But they do this to computer science or engineers all the time.   One do not expect a physicists to manage chemists either.   But they do this to computer scientists all the time.

My point is, the brilliant engineer you spoke of may not have stated your classification vs instantiation well.. but that does not mean is not a good engineer.  

--- On Mon, 10/18/10, Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Oooh, FOL is too hard to learn.
To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Monday, October 18, 2010, 7:05 PM

John F. Sowa wrote:

> EB>
>> First-order logic is therefore only for the top 20% of data modelers,
>> not the average...
> I suspect that Ian and Ed are mistakenly equating FOL with a concrete
> notation like predicate calculus or CLIF.  I keep telling people that
> they've been speaking FOL all their lives.  Every sentence that uses
> the words 'and', 'or', 'not', 'if', 'some', or 'every' is using full
> FOL or some subset of it.

I think, John, that you are here exemplifiying the top 20%, who think
that every other competent engineer can do more or less what they do.

My experience has been quite the opposite.  All these professionals
understand logic in a casual, intuitive way.   Many people use modeling
languages in the same way, to state unclear thoughts clearly and often
incorrectly.  They don't use the language to mean exactly what the
formal semantics of the language says is meant by the syntax they used.

Many people have no problem with simple syllogisms, but are seriously
confused about quantification.
A very intelligent engineer I recently worked with could not tell the
difference between:

Bank Manager:  a person who manages a bank
Bank Manager:  the person who manages a given bank.

The first is a relation -- a classifier; it contains an existential
quantification of bank.  The second is a function -- it maps banks to
persons.  We know that; but he merged the concepts, by using the first
definition to mean both, not realizing that the English phraseology is

And I can tell you first hand that the first encounter between
electrical engineering students and boolean algebra is a filter -- the
ones who will work in electronics understand quickly, the ones who don't
understand quickly will become radar technicians or something.  It is
not just the notation; it is the abstraction.  Many of the
simplifications of gating logic are counter-intuitive.

FOL is not casual logic; it is a mathematical discipline.  Many
intelligent people can use logic correctly in their work, but they don't
have the discipline, and most of them don't understand that there is a
discipline.  Logic for them is fine until it contradicts their
intuition, and then they discount it, and they will argue erroneously
against it.  Everybody can use if, and, and or correctly some of the
time.  The discipline is in using them correctly _all_ of the time.

Conversely, the most astonishing use of FOL I have ever seen was a
3-year-old, who was looking out the office window of a colleague at a
blossoming cherry tree.  She said to him, "you have to be up here to see
that tree.  I guess you've never been up on the 3rd floor before."  And
he replied, "No.  Well, I don't think so.  But my Dad's office is on the
3rd floor, and I was in my Dad's office.  So I must have been on the 3rd
floor."  !!!  Modus ponens at age 3, in contradiction of intuition!   
Not your average engineer. :-)


Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."

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