On Jul 25, 2012, at 5:07 PM, John F Sowa wrote: (01)
> Pat, Chris, and Doug,
> In the strictest sense of the words involved, I acknowledge that
> Pat is correct about the following points:
> 1. The 'that' operator in IKL relates a sentence to a proposition
> (niladic relation). It enables assertions to be made about
> the proposition, but it is not a kind of quotation.
> 2. Quotation enables assertions about an expression (which could
> be a sentence). But assertions about a sentence are not the
> same as assertions about the proposition expressed by the
> 3. The backquote in LISP, like the 'that' operator in IKL, allows
> variables in the nested sentence to be bound to the places
> outside the backquote or the 'that' operator where the scope
> of those variables is defined. That is a syntactic similarity,
> but it is insufficient to explain the semantic similarity.
> 4. Since LISP is not a logic, it is impossible to "implement"
> an IKL 'that' operator by any kind of translation to LISP.
> 5. Talk about 'that' as a kind of quasi-quotation is wrong,
> because the literal meaning of 'quasi' is 'as if'. But the
> proposition specified by 'that' cannot be used *as if* it
> were a quoted sentence.
> Given all these qualifications, I agree that the loose analogies
> used in the earlier notes are false.
> But with a sufficient amount of caveats, they might be used to
> get certain points across. (02)
I guess this is a profound difference between us, John. I have a deep-seated
aversion to using false analogies because they "get a point across". IMO, they
often get the wrong point across, by virtue of being false. But I acknowledge
that you get a larger audience that I do with your expository work, so maybe
the world needs both of us :-) (03)
> For example, if somebody knows LISP,
> it can be helpful to explain that the scope of bound variables
> in a 'that' clause has similarities to the scope of variables
> in LISP expressions enclosed in backquote.
>> Just because someone does something poorly ignoring prior art, doesn't
>> mean that someone knowledgeable in prior art could not do better.
> I agree. It is common practice in all branches of science to take
> common terms (possibly with modifying adjectives) and define them as
> technical terms. Nobody complains that the groups of group theory,
> the sets of set theory, or the fields in electromagnetism are very
> highly specialized uses of common words. (04)
Of course, but suppose you went to a technical workshop on group theory, with
talks by group theorists, supposedly reporting on the state of the art and new
results in the technical field of group theory, and discovered that *they* were
all talking about different notions, and all they had in common was the use of
the word "group". That is like what happened to me at the MIT meeting. (05)
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