|To:||<doug@xxxxxxxxxx>, "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>|
|From:||"Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Mon, 14 Nov 2011 14:35:48 -0800|
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2
On Mon, November 14, 2011 3:37, Matthew West said:
> When I hit a nail with a hammer 100 times and notice that it this makes
> it enter the piece of wood, this is not a matter merely of statistics,
> which we can interpret as we wish.
> There is an underlying mechanism that we can observe.
We observe events which are the results of the mechanism plus the whole
context of the situation. How we generalize from the observations to
a set of induced rules is not given by the statistics, but by our
understanding of the situation and what types of generalizations are
valid or not.
Agreed, and clearly stated.
Induction, not deduction, allows us to determine rules from our
observations. Depending upon the variation in our observations,
the induced rules could be more strongly or more weakly supported.
If i hit a single nail 100 times with the same hammer into the same
spot in the same piece of wood, that does not guarantee if i hit the
nail the 101st time it won't bend and/or break from the repeated
The situation provides evidence as to what might happen in a similar
situation, but does not define what is similar. No statistical
evidence provides support for concluding that the use of another nail,
hammer, spot, piece of wood, or person wielding the hammer would cause
that nail to enter that piece of wood if given a blow by that person
and hammer. Generalization may lead to correct or incorrect rules.
Correct in what sense? I can write a program that will only generate logically valid rules, but which rules are better supported (or supported at all) by the history of example data is a different question. So the term "correct" can refer to logical correctness, which is relatively easy to constrain through careful use of FOL algebra, or "correct" can refer to whether it matches the actually observed data.
The second type is what cannot be guaranteed until after the newly generated rule is run past the history of data.
For an example that might clarify this point, consider a truth table in N variables showing squares for all possible 2^N cases. I forget the name of that kind of diagram which I used a lot in designing electronic gear many long years ago, but you probably can remember the name of the guy who came up with that version of truth tables and minimization methods. Add one more case, making N+1, and suddenly the truth table is doubled in size to 2^(N+1) entries. Many of the previously chosen sums of products (or product of sums) form _expression_ may no longer be correct, given the modification of the truth table size.
Do you remember the name of that kind of truth table? A memory jog might be useful if you do.
A baby's foam rubber toy hammer, a pin that is shaped like a nail, a
knotted spot on the same piece of wood, a piece of ironwoood, or a baby
using the same hammer might not yield the same result.
And even hitting it the next time in the "same" kind of situation could bring about different results.
> This is true generally. The statistics can help us to consider
> what we should be trying to observe as a mechanism,
> and we may establish theories which we can prove, or disprove,
> but it is not "purely subjective".
What Rich called subjective :
>> the concept of WHICH "situation at hand" is actually at hand
>> is a purely subjective observation and is dependent on the
>> observer and her experiences.
Since different people would come up with different classifications of
which situation is at hand, the exact concept of WHICH situation is at
hand seems to be quite subjective to me.
Thanks for confirming my thought. I have noticed in this forum that we NEVER seem to have wide agreement (much less consensus) on how to represent ontological knowledge because each of us has a different (i.e. subjective) view of how to represent the knowledge. Furthermore, we each associated DIFFERENT knowledge to the same terms.
-- doug foxvog
> Matthew West
Thanks for the inputs,
> Information Junction
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> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Rich Cooper
> Sent: 13 November 2011 19:44
> To: '[ontolog-forum] '; 'Len Yabloko'
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Science, Statistics and Ontology
> Dear Simon,
> Thanks for the Hume quotes. The antiquities of his language usage
> notwithstanding, his conclusions seem inescapable. We simply cannot know
> cause and effect; statistical knowledge is all that is available to us, if
> even that. When we can statistically predict a future event with
> reliability, we are exercising our experience, as categorized by the
> situation at hand. But the concept of WHICH "situation at hand" is
> at hand is a purely subjective observation and is dependent on the
> observer and her experiences.
> Rich Cooper
> Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
> 9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Simon Spero
> Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2011 10:50 AM
> To: Len Yabloko; [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Science, Statistics and Ontology
> On Sun, Nov 13, 2011 at 12:02 PM, Len Yabloko <lenyabloko@xxxxxxxxx>
> Never mind that David Hume thought there was not any cause and effect to
> begin with.
> Hume thought no such thing.
> What he showed in section IV was that the relations between cause and
> could not be "attained by reasonings a priori; but arises entirely from
> experience" (Enquiries, \s 23
> <http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext06/8echu10h.htm#mnum23> ), and that
> these relations would not be known with certainty.
> Quoting 32 <http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext06/8echu10h.htm#mnum32> :
> Should it be said that, from a number of uniform experiments, we
> infer a connexion between the sensible qualities and the secret powers;
> this, I must confess, seems the same difficulty, couched in different
> The question still recurs, on what process of argument this inference is
> founded? Where is the medium, the interposing ideas, which join
> so very wide of each other? It is confessed that the colour, consistence,
> and other sensible qualities of bread appear not, of themselves, to have
> connexion with the secret powers of nourishment and support. For otherwise
> we could infer these secret powers from the first appearance of these
> sensible qualities, without the aid of experience; contrary to the
> of all philosophers, and contrary to plain matter of fact. Here, then, is
> our natural state of ignorance with regard to the powers and influence of
> all objects. How is this remedied by experience? It only shows us a number
> of uniform effects, resulting from certain objects, and teaches us that
> those particular objects, at that particular time, were endowed with such
> powers and forces. When a new object, endowed with similar sensible
> qualities, is produced, we expect similar powers and forces, and look for
> like effect. From a body of like colour and consistence with bread we
> like nourishment and support. But this surely is a step or progress of the
> mind, which wants to be explained. When a man says, I have found, in all
> past instances, such sensible qualities conjoined with such secret powers:
> And when he says, Similar sensible qualities will always be conjoined with
> similar secret powers, he is not guilty of a tautology, nor are these
> propositions in any respect the same. You say that the one proposition is
> inference from the other. But you must confess that the inference is not
> intuitive; neither is it demonstrative: Of what nature is it, then? To say
> it is experimental, is begging the question. For all inferences from
> experience suppose, as their foundation, that the future will resemble the
> past, and that similar powers will be conjoined with similar sensible
> qualities. If there be any suspicion that the course of nature may change,
> and that the past may be no rule for the future, all experience becomes
> useless, and can give rise to no inference or conclusion. It is
> therefore, that any arguments from experience can prove this resemblance
> the past to the future; since all these arguments are founded on the
> supposition of that resemblance. Let the course of things be allowed
> hitherto ever so regular; that alone, without some new argument or
> inference, proves not that, for the future, it will continue so. In vain
> you pretend to have learned the nature of bodies from your past
> Their secret nature, and consequently all their effects and influence, may
> change, without any change in their sensible qualities. This happens
> sometimes, and with regard to some objects: Why may it not happen always,
> and with regard to all objects? What logic, what process of argument
> you against this supposition? My practice, you say, refutes my doubts. But
> you mistake the purport of my question. As an agent, I am quite satisfied
> the point; but as a philosopher, who has some share of curiosity, I will
> say scepticism, I want to learn the foundation of this inference. No
> reading, no enquiry has yet been able to remove my difficulty, or give me
> satisfaction in a matter of such importance. Can I do better than propose
> the difficulty to the public, even though, perhaps, I have small hopes of
> obtaining a solution? We shall at least, by this means, be sensible of our
> ignorance, if we do not augment our knowledge
> In Section V
> , he proposes some "Sceptical Solutions Of These Doubts"; quoting 44
> <http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext06/8echu10h.htm#mnum44> at length:
> We may observe, that, in these phaenomena, the belief of the correlative
> object is always presupposed; without which the relation could have no
> effect. The influence of the picture supposes, that we believe our friend
> have once existed. Contiguity to home can never excite our ideas of home,
> unless webelieve that it really exists. Now I assert, that this belief,
> where it reaches beyond the memory or senses, is of a similar nature, and
> arises from similar causes, with the transition of thought and vivacity of
> conception here explained. When I throw a piece of dry wood into a fire,
> mind is immediately carried to conceive, that it augments, not
> the flame. This transition of thought from the cause to the effect
> not from reason. It derives its origin altogether from custom and
> experience. And as it first begins from an object, present to the senses,
> renders the idea or conception of flame more strong and lively than any
> loose, floating reverie of the imagination. That idea arises immediately.
> The thought moves instantly towards it, and conveys to it all that force
> conception, which is derived from the impression present to the senses.
> a sword is levelled at my breast, does not the idea of wound and pain
> me more strongly, than when a glass of wine is presented to me, even
> by accident this idea should occur after the appearance of the latter
> object? But what is there in this whole matter to cause such a strong
> conception, except only a present object and a customary transition to the
> idea of another object, which we have been accustomed to conjoin with the
> former? This is the whole operation of the mind, in all our conclusions
> concerning matter of fact and existence; and it is a satisfaction to find
> some analogies, by which it may be explained. The transition from a
> object does in all cases give strength and solidity to the related idea.
> Here, then, is a kind of pre-established harmony between the course of
> nature and the succession of our ideas; and though the powers and forces,
> which the former is governed, be wholly unknown to us; yet our thoughts
> conceptions have still, we find, gone on in the same train with the other
> works of nature. Custom is that principle, by which this correspondence
> been effected; so necessary to the subsistence of our species, and the
> regulation of our conduct, in every circumstance and occurrence of human
> life. Had not the presence of an object, instantly excited the idea of
> objects, commonly conjoined with it, all our knowledge must have been
> limited to the narrow sphere of our memory and senses; and we should never
> have been able to adjust means to ends, or employ our natural powers,
> to the producing of good, or avoiding of evil. Those, who delight in the
> discovery and contemplation of
> final causes, have here ample subject to employ their wonder and
> [An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is available in a variety of
> formats from Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/9662 ]
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