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Re: [ontolog-forum] intangibles (was RE: Why most classifications are fu

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 20:50:14 -0400
Message-id: <4E1CEBC6.7000303@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 7/12/2011 12:03 PM, Chris Partridge wrote:
> I quite like my virus, it's your virus that I am worried about :-).    (01)

You can justify your virus by citing a number of highly regarded
philosophers from whom you downloaded it.    (02)

But there are three fundamental problems, for which those philosophers
have no answers -- and no prospect of finding an answer:    (03)

  1. Any value judgments in ethics or aesthetics.  The philosophers
     who have the disease will admit the principle that "You can't
     derive 'ought' from 'is'."  -- i.e., no objective observation
     of what exists can produce any evidence for or against any value
     judgment.  Carnap was one of them.  His worst denunciation for
     anybody who talked about such issues was "That's poetry!"    (04)

  2. Hume correctly observed that no observation, by itself, can
     justify causality. Ernst Mach emphasized that point. He claimed
     that scientific theories are merely "summaries of observations".
     Unfortunately, Carnap agreed with him.    (05)

  3. And the third point is intentionality.  As you may have noticed,
     this thread (and others in this forum) have generated endless
     confusion about this and many related issues.    (06)

For the moment, I'll ignore ethics and aesthetics.  But scientific
laws are essential to everything in science and engineering, and
intentionality is fundamental to business, finance, and life.    (07)

For scientific laws, Mach fought against the hypothesis of unobservable
atoms. He made life miserable for his fellow Viennese Ludwig Boltzmann,
who used the atomic hypothesis as the foundation for his brilliant
statistical mechanics.  In 1905, Boltzmann and his family took a
summer vacation in Italy, after which Boltzmann committed suicide
rather than return to Vienna to face Mach and his followers.    (08)

Mach also infected the Vienna Circlers, including Carnap, and through
them the behaviorists.  They destroyed psychology in the first half
of the 20th century.  Einstein's three  brilliant papers of 1905
violated every one of Mach's principles -- and thereby saved physics.    (09)

Einstein called Mach "a good experimental physicist" but "a miserable
philosopher".  He also deplored the "Angst vor der Metaphysik" by
Russell and the Vienna circle, which he correctly called a sickness
(Krankheit) of the 20th century.    (010)

Peirce and Popper had the answer to Mach:  observation alone cannot
demonstrate causality.  Instead, any hypothesis formed on the basis
of "post hoc" observations (i.e. data mining) must be tested by its
ability to make predictions.  The power to make correct predictions
is the criterion that distinguishes a law from a mere coincidence.    (011)

Popper had visited the Vienna Circlers a few times, but Carnap refused
to let him join the group -- because Popper was rightly critical of
their claim that a scientific law is nothing but a summary of
observations.    (012)

If you want to see the ultimate poverty of Carnap's method, just look
at his _Logische Aufbau der Welt_.  I'll quote from the English
translation of the second edition (1967).  Part IV, chapters A, B,
and C are the central developments.  Carnap begins in chapter A
with lots of logical formulas for relating sense data.  In chapter B,
he gets to the construction of physical objects, and he has much
less detail as things get harder.  Chapter C on "heteropsychological
and cultural objects" is pure hand waving with no attempt to use logic.    (013)

On p. 217 Carnap admits that "The construction of the [sign relation]
is more difficult than any of the constructions which we have hitherto
undertaken." On page 218, he says "We can barely hint at the rules..."
In other words, he gave up.    (014)

If somebody as brilliant as Carnap failed to provide an extensional
definition of signs, contracts, etc., that means it's really hard.
Quine's student Nelson Goodman also tried and failed.    (015)

One of our friends, Barry Smith, attempted to do that.  Following
is an excerpt from a note I sent to Ontolog Forum in January about
a debate between Smith and Searle.    (016)

Short summary:  Smith wasn't any more successful than Carnap.
Searle, however, used triadic relations similar to Peirce's.
He wasn't applying Peirce's semiotics, but he had an approach
that could be mapped to CSP's methods.  In my opinion, Searle
was far more successful than Carnap or Smith or many other
people who attempted to develop purely extensional theories
of intensionality and related issues.    (017)

Note that Smith's criticism of Searle is that he needed to
state his arguments more precisely.  I agree.  If Searle had
studied Peirce, he would have had a solid foundation for
presenting his arguments more clearly and precisely.    (018)

______________________________________________________________    (019)

Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Modeling a money transferring scenario
From: John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Jan 11 2011 - 1:35pm    (020)

...    (021)

Since Searle was mentioned earlier in this thread, following
is a debate between Barry Smith and John Searle about "The
Construction of Social Reality":    (022)

http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/articles/searle.PDF    (023)

And following is a passage from an article in which I discuss
both of their positions from a Peircean point of view (which
is a generalization that subsumes Searle's as a special case).    (024)

_______________________________________________________________    (025)

Source: http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/worlds.pdf (pp. 7-8)    (026)

3. Semiotic Foundations    (027)

Tarski semantics for first-order logic depends on a dyadic
correspondence between some pattern of symbols stated in a formal
language and some pattern of objects and relations that exist in a
model. Such correspondences can answer several important kinds of
questions about an object, an event, or a situation: What is it? What
are its properties? What is it made of? And how is it related to other
things?    (028)

But there's one kind of question that no amount of observation can
answer with certainty: those that begin with the word 'why'. For modal
logic, no observations can explain why some pattern in the world might
be necessary, possible, or impossible.  For the behavior of humans and
other animals, no observation can explain why they happen to perform one
action rather than another. A thoughtful observer might be able to guess
the reasons for their actions based on an analogy with his or her own
experience, but the intentions themselves are not directly observable.    (029)

Since humans can talk, the best way to determine their intentions is not
to observe and classify worlds or situations, but just to ask them. But
to take that option is an admission that Carnap's attempt to reduce
mental phenomena to observable data about behavior has failed.    (030)

Among the philosophers who believe that Carnap's approach was a dead
end, Searle (1983) claimed that the semantics of natural language, at
least for language about anything dealing with intentionality, depends
critically on the nature of the mind:    (031)

> The capacity of speech acts to represent objects and states
> of affairs in the world is an extension of the more biologically
> fundamental capacities of the mind (or brain) to relate the
> organism to the world by way of such mental states as belief
> and desire, and especially through action and perception.
> Since speech acts are a type of human action, and since the
> capacity of speech to represent objects and states of affairs
> is part of a more general capacity of the mind to relate the
> organism to the world, any complete account of speech and
> language requires an account of how the mind/brain relates
> the organism to reality. (p. vii)    (032)

In the concluding chapter, Searle claimed "there really are such things
as intrinsic mental phenomena which cannot be reduced to something else
or be eliminated by some kind of re-definition. There really are pains,
tickles, and itches, beliefs, fears, hopes, desires, perceptual
experiences, experiences of acting, thoughts, feelings, and all the
rest" (p. 262). In the middle of the book, Searle formalized some of the
discussion in formulas of the following kind, where p represents a
proposition that describes some action or state (p. 32):    (033)

Sorry(p) → Bel(p) & Des(~p).    (034)

This formula says that if some person x is sorry for the state of
affairs described by p, then x believes p and x desires that p not be
true. Since Searle claimed that mental attitudes such as sorrow, belief,
and desire actually exist, each of his monadic predicates could be
expanded to a triadic relation named Experience, which explicitly
relates the agent to the attitude and the proposition:    (035)

Sorry(p) → (∃x:Person)(∃y:Sorrow)Experience(x,y,p).    (036)

Bel(p) → (∃x:Person)(∃y:Belief)Experience(x,y,p).    (037)

Des(p) → (∃x:Person)(∃y:Desire)Experience(x,y,p).    (038)

The first formula says that the predicate Sorry about p implies the
existence of a person x and an instance of sorrow y, which x experiences
about p. Similarly, the second and third formulas relate the predicates
Bel and Des to instances of belief and desire, which x experiences about
p. In a later book, Searle (1995) was more explicit in using triadic
relations to describe social relations. All his triads had the form    (039)

X counts as Y in context C.    (040)

Searle's implicit or explicit triads for describing intentions are
incompatible with Smith's attempt to avoid any commitment to mental
phenomena. In a public debate (Smith & Searle 2001), Smith tried to
interpret Searle's constructions in terms of his own ontology, which
does not admit the existence of intentions. Searle replied    (041)

> I think in the end he makes many useful points, but I also
> believe that he misunderstands me in certain very profound ways.
> I believe his misunderstandings derive from the fact that he
> approaches this topic with a set of concerns that are fundamentally
> different from mine, and in consequence, he tends to take my views
> as attempts to answer his questions rather than attempts to answer
> my questions.    (042)

Searle recognized that relations that refer to intentions have greater
power and flexibility than Smith's partOf relation. Smith criticized
that flexibility as too loose and imprecise and noted that a context
itself is a social object that requires some independent definition.    (043)

Both authors made valid points: Searle's book demonstrates the
fundamental role of intentions in creating and sustaining social
relationships, but Smith's criticism shows the need for clear
distinctions and greater precision.    (044)

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