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Re: [ontolog-forum] Truth

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2012 06:47:43 -0400
Message-id: <5020F24F.5060009@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Leo,    (01)

I mostly agree with your comments about contexts.    (02)

I also agree with Pat that the term 'context' has been used in so many
confusing ways that there is no coherent body of work that can be used
as a foundation for a solid theory of the subject.    (03)

But your summary of important work over the years shows that there have
been many insightful publications on many pieces of the puzzle.  I'll
just quote the works you cited, but taken "out of context", so to speak:    (04)

> Kaplan (1989, "Demonstratives"), Lewis (various)... Chris Menzel (1999)
> and others... Situation Semantics or Discourse Representation Theory...
> Kratzer's situation semantics article...  David Lewis and others
> (John McCarthy, Robert Stalnaker, etc.)... epistemic contextualism...
> propositional attitudes (and their presuppositions)... hybrid logics,
> in which propositions are true with respect to a state.    (05)

There's a lot more that could be cited.  If we consider them all as
theories of contexts, they support Pat's claim that they're hopelessly
inconsistent and incoherent.  But if we consider them as independent
views of a very large "elephant", they indicate several points:    (06)

The Puzzle
> Something very big exists, it's important, we deal with it informally
> whenever we read, write, talk, or think about anything, many people
> have described pieces of this puzzle, but assembling all the pieces
> in a coherent picture is a major challenge.    (07)

To use Martin Kay's term, this puzzle is an "AI complete problem."
It won't be completely solved until every problem of AI is solved.    (08)

But that doesn't mean we have to give up.  Instead of giving up,
I suggest that we add more pieces to the puzzle.  Two very large
bodies of work that I believe must be added are Peirce's semiotics
and Wittgenstein's language games.  These two are more than just
pieces of the puzzle -- they are maps that show how other pieces
fit together.    (09)

I've written and spoken about Peirce and Wittgenstein many times,
but it's hard to explain their work -- especially since they were
not completely successful in explaining it themselves.  Following
are two recent attempts, which I am trying to develop into a more
complete picture:    (010)

    The role of logic and ontology in language and reasoning    (011)

    The dynamics of language and reasoning    (012)

I don't claim that these are final answers.  But I think that some
such synthesis of CSP and LW is essential for understanding the
many diverse issues that are tossed into the context pot.    (013)

John    (014)

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