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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology and kantian propositions

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2011 16:39:34 -0400
Message-id: <4E541006.4050401@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 8/23/2011 3:41 PM, joel luis carbonera wrote:
> This discussion was very helpful. Especially regarding the problem of
> defining empirical concepts with necessary and sufficient conditions.
> Recently, I studied the work of Rosch (basic-level categories,
> prototypes, ...), but unfortunately I'm not familiar with
> Wittgenstein's notion of "family resemblance".    (01)

I'm glad that you found those references helpful.  The literature about
Wittgenstein is huge, and much of it is controversial.  People who use
logic prefer his first book (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus) because it
emphasizes the power of first-order logic.    (02)

My usual comment is that we would have true artificial intelligence and
natural language understanding in the 1980s if the TLP were an adequate
analysis of language, the world, and the relationship between them.
The TLP had a very strong influence on analytic philosophy in the
20th century and through that to many of the formal methods in AI.    (03)

In Wittgenstein's second book (Philosophical Investigations), he
criticized the "grave errors" of his first book and of his mentors
Frege and Russell.  People who like the TLP criticize the PI for being
too disorganized, fragmentary, and incomplete.  But LW himself wrote
"I should have liked to produce a good book.  It has not turned out
that way, but the time is past in which I could improve it."    (04)

Unfortunately, that's the nature of the subject.  In the PI, LW was
talking about all the complexities of language and the world that he
glossed over in his first book.  It's much easier to write clearly
about a simplified view than to explain all the complexities that
keep it from being simple.    (05)

Following is a discussion of the issues by George Lakoff in Chapter 2
of his book _Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things_:    (06)

    From Wittgenstein to Rosch    (07)

You can find more of Lakoff's book by replacing "lakoff_2" with other
numbers.  I agree with many of Lakoff's comments, but he also tends
to oversimplify many complex issues -- but in an opposite direction
from the logicians.    (08)

Following is an article that I wrote about some of those issues,
but from a very different point of view:    (09)

    The Role of Language and Logic in Ontology    (010)

Sections 4 and 5 of this article discuss ways of designing a system
that takes into account Wittgenstein's later philosophy.    (011)

> I take this opportunity to thank the reference of the book "Introduction
> to the Philosophy of Science". I'm reading the chapters suggested by John.
> Reading has clarified many issues that had been formulated intuitively.
> In addition, the book is thought-provoking.    (012)

Yes. That's a readable, well written overview by Rudolf Carnap.
But I would add that some people have criticized Carnap for being
too clear -- in the sense that he avoids topics that he can't
express clearly.  In any case, it's a good book to start with,
provided that you go further to read about the messy stuff
that's hard to represent.    (013)

John    (014)

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