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Re: [ontolog-forum] Run, put, and set

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2011 13:31:55 -0700
Message-id: <20110610203157.395DE138CC6@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Hi John and Chris,


I found this posting on the PsyArt list, and brought it here since it addresses the subjectivity of interpretation.  It sheds some light on the issue of how people interpret situations in a deeply subjective and experiential way, yet relates it to normal conversational material:


Naive liberalism, like paranoid conservatism, is pathology, intolerance of difference, which has sought a political disguise.  The possible responses to the challenge to absorb and reconcile divergent points of view are the issues.  The narcissism rubric is a good one for this purpose, as it encompasses both stereotyped poles - to what extent do we guard against the intrusive idea by means of evoking gods, self-evident principles, presumed authorities, and by demonizing the other?  Passion and argumentativeness have their place, but in carefully reading or hearing the response of the pious or indignant Other, it can be easy to hear defenses against thoughts that seem to threaten to undermine something the fabric of the self is tightly woven upon.


Hands can get dirty, black eyes and wounded self-esteem can result from righteous and even enjoyable conflict - but the substance of the Other's point of view is often completely defended against, either by rejecting everything passionate or polemical (can't we just all get along, without raising our voices?), or by people who should know better simply hurling flaming dogma at one another.  Many of those in both camps are still reeling from the absence of god, and can't yet have a decent debate in which they hear something alien without freaking out or invoking some substitute higher authority.


The religious impulse and the narcissistic need to align oneself - identify, even - with the deities of master narratives and reductive principles, are closely related, and epidemic, even among well-educated and well-analyzed analysts. 


Dan Sapen, Ph.D.



Dan's viewpoint is psychological in origin, in his background and construal of normal existence.  For NLP purposes, we should be able to state that each individual perceives reality in a uniquely subjective way, whether it is the religious, political, scientific or technological orientation that is being used in a discussion.  


With this kind of evidence from dedicated practitioners, mustn't we conclude that Run, Put and Set are also interpreted subjectively, and situationally, rather than lexically?


It is well known that there is a common, rather small vocabulary that people use for most utterances, writings, and research.  Why assume that Run, Put and Set have different DEFINITIONS for each interpretation? 


It seems more likely that each language user interprets each language sample based on life experience at least as much, if not more, than the usual simplistic statement of an abstract meaning for those frequent words.  






Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2

-----Original Message-----
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F. Sowa
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:59 AM
To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Run, put, and set


On 5/30/2011 10:35 PM, Rich Cooper wrote:

> What interesting diversity of meanings for such a small kernel of English

> verbs!  But as a set of primitives, those would relate to basic concepts

> only so distinguishable as to separate the classes of words to include,

> from the example, run, put and set.


I agree that the 645 senses of 'run' have some vague central core that

is different from whatever central core is common to the 400+ senses

of 'put' or the 200+ senses of 'set'.


However, that commonality is not something that anyone has been

able to express in any kind of definition, either in a natural

language or some artificial language.


I would pose that as a challenge to anybody who claims that such

definitions would be suitable primitives.  For starters, just take

any reasonable dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster Collegiate.  For

the verb 'run' as an intransitive verb, M-W has 15 major senses,

each with 1 to 4 subsenses; as a transitive verb, it has another

15 major senses, each with 1 to 5 subsenses; and it has more senses

with various prepositions.


That's much less than 645 senses, but it's enough to pose a challenge:

state what is common to all those senses in English.  Check whether

other English speakers can guess what word your proposed definition

is supposed to define.  Then do the same for 'put' and 'set'.


> So perhaps the actual conclusion you could have reached is that the

> primitive set is very, very small and there are lots of elaborations

> and refinements of each kernel concept.


To demonstrate that such words could be considered useful primitives

that are suitable for defining other terms, you would have to


  1. Start by stating a definition of each so-called primitive,

     as in the above challenge.


  2. Then go to Longman's dictionary and select some definitions

     that use those words to define other words.


  3. Substitute the definitions you stated for step #1 into the

     definitions for step #2.  Make whatever syntactic adjustments

     may be needed to make the definitions readable.


  4. Give the definitions derived by the above steps to somebody

     else and ask whether they can guess what word is being defined.


If you can demonstrate success with just English definitions and

human interpreters, then try to formalize the definitions in logic

and check whether the result can be used for computer reasoning.


Good luck,





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