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Re: [ontolog-forum] Concepts, ontologies, and natural languages

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 19:41:24 -0800
Message-id: <8AFB43BA55A64C5685BFB87161C8C7A0@Gateway>

Comments below,




Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2

-----Original Message-----
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F Sowa
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 7:15 AM
To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Concepts, ontologies, and natural languages


On 11/29/2012 3:40 PM, Tom Knorr wrote:

> I agree fully with John's assessment (criteria) and would actually go

> further in defining a concept as nothing but a (numbered) placeholder. It is

> meaningless without relations. In my system (NeuroCollective) a relation can

> be semantic (creating semantic networks) but all concepts allow NL relations

> which go into syntactic representations.


That's a good discipline for developing ontologies.


In logical terms, the only fundamental notions are Boolean operators,

quantifiers, and relations.  Everything else can be defined in terms

of them:  properties, attributes, concepts, types, classes, etc.


But I also believe that empirical studies in psycholinguistics and

neuroscience are important for determining how symbols in general

and language in particular are related to human psychology.


In any case, practical experience in computer science and systems

is still the most important basis for developing practical systems.




Pardon my heresy, but I also believe those things are important for establishing the commonality of much of human thinking.  The heretical part is concepts.  IMHO, concepts are not as important as experiences and motivations in describing thought processes.  That is, people see the reality of this moment in terms of their experiences and motivations, not in terms of abstract concepts. 


We in the U.S. (and in most other developed countries I suppose) are taught several hundred to several thousand concepts, such as lines, points, equations, communicable categories, and others I haven’t mentioned.  But the idea that concepts are at the root of human communications neglects how humans thought before education became orthodox, widespread and relatively common in its structuring of reality, beliefs and experiences.


Those of us who, out of choice or necessity, have experience in marketing products and services to other people, find the amazing diversity of reasons for people to accept or reject offers to be far more illuminating than the logical combination of concepts we expect when we start marketing. 


People have ideas in their heads that they can’t or won’t fully communicate.  The amount of knowledge in each head is not as important as the motivations each person follows.  Until we can recognize motivations, combine them in ways that help us understand people, and develop ways to communicate along those motivational lines, we will not have a one true ontology, IMHO. 





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