[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] open knowledge

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 13:37:38 -0500
Message-id: <4CF54472.9010908@xxxxxxxx>

John F. Sowa wrote:    (01)

> And the term "much darker and deeper hole" is not a bad way to
> characterize the complexity of NL semantics.  
> ...
> I believe that AI would be doing true NL understanding today
> if Quine had devoted equal time to teaching Peirce and Frege.
>       (02)

Now if software could really understand this email, just imagine the 
amount of background knowledge it would take, and the nature of the 
philosophical commitment it would take, for the software not to see a 
contradiction here.  I fully agree with the first sentence above.  In so 
many words, "true NL understanding" requires knowledge, experience, 
sensory perception, and philosophical commitment.  It must relate W's 
Satzsystem to a perceived reality -- the real semantic grounding (at 
least for most humans).  And as good a natural language interpreter as 
the human brain can become, even the best of us still regularly 
misunderstand each other, primarily because of individual differences in 
that grounding.  So I am content to say I don't understand what John is 
trying to say here.     (03)

I can imagine Asimov's robots having the ability to relate language to 
perceived reality, but I don't see our technologies being much further 
along than relating "controlled natural language" -- a near-NL 
Satzsystem for a specific discipline -- to our current capabilities in 
creating ontologies -- a Satzsystem for the same discipline in a formal 
language, supported by ever more powerful automated inferencing tools 
(an automated Beweissystem).  And I don't think John could cite C.I. 
Lewis and think of that association of abstractions as "understanding".  
So I don't know what John means.     (04)

I simply don't think the choice of academic deity of 1950 has had a 
significant impact on our current technical capabilities (others, for 
example, would see Chomsky as the villain of the piece).   Ergo, either 
I disagree with John or my NL understanding is clearly defective. ;-)    (05)

I suppose the above demonstrates that I agree with John in one way:  I 
was taught to respect Wittgenstein.  But I was given to understand that 
the principal idea here is that statements are to be interpreted in 
context, where that context is partly a corpus, and partly a speech 
community.  And the validation of the understanding (the Massstab) that 
is used by humans is the relationship of the Satzsystem (the theory) to 
the reality they perceive, whatever its relationship to actuality or the 
perceptions of others might be.  (I assume that Chris's objection is 
based on much deeper understanding of the details of W's model.)    (06)

(This whole area is rather like religion.  I survive by a certain amount 
of ecumenism and the certainty of occasional fallibility in great 
minds.  Does John really believe that "all we like sheep" have followed 
Quine uncritically?)    (07)

-Ed    (08)

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    (09)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST, 
 and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (010)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (011)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>