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Re: [ontolog-forum] Truth

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Chris Menzel <chris.menzel@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 16:39:34 -0500
Message-id: <CAO_JD6OVYQ5OVsZz+MVtgMY_YcaFZHqsGMin6nbtih7L6HzUhA@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 4:26 PM, John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 7/11/2012 4:39 PM, Chris Menzel wrote:
> So it seems to me that if the idea in question is to have any purchase,
> then what you need is a predicate like "NameOf" in the language that
> holds between persons, names, and (perhaps) contexts.

Yes, of course.  That is what I have been doing with conceptual graphs
since 1976.  I admit that for little examples, I have been sloppy
in using names like 'Tom' and 'Sue' in CGIF and CLIF illustrations.

But those names are so hopelessly ambiguous that I assumed nobody
would take them seriously as a way of handling named entities in
actual documents.  You have too many issues about ambiguities, aliases,
nicknames, etc., to make that identification of any value whatsoever.

> But now you've got names in the language as well as a semantic relation
> NameOf, and such relations are notoriously prone to paradox and 
> notoriously  difficult to axiomatize consistently. Your suggestion is not
> nearly as simple as you seem to think.

Gimme a break.  Programmers have been processing names in computer
systems since the 1950s and in punched card systems since 1890.
And they *never* use names in their programming languages or their
database languages to represent the external names that appear
in the real world.

Then they don't have a naming relation in their language. At best they have some shadow thereof whose meaning is not encoded in the formalism but which is interpreted pragmatically by the users, much the way box and arrow diagrams can be useful to a select group of modelers who understand the unstated semantic conventions of their diagrams. But that's not a logical solution to the problem.
In database systems, it is standard practice to use "surrogates" to
represent individuals.  Then the name assigned to that individual is
just one field in the DB that is treated in the same way as any other
attribute of that individual.

Perfect example of what I'm talking about. There is nothing in the logic of the DB to ensure that the intended semantic relation holds. It is simply understood by the users.
I discussed these issues in my 1984 book, my 2000 book, and numerous
papers about how to map language to and from logic.  And the answer
about paradoxes is that you fix them.  Database administrators have
probably faced more such examples than philosophers have dreamed of.

I highly doubt it.
They sometimes make mistakes -- called bugs.  And they fix them.

This is just tough talk and anecdotes, John. It is one thing to kludge up a "fix" to a problematic database. It is quite another to develop a systematic semantics+logic for a language containing semantic predicates in which paradoxes do not arise. But please, don't start citing your books as if you've solved these problems and don't start citing journal papers as if I don't know this literature or understand these issues. I don't think you want to go there.


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