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Re: [ontolog-forum] Lost conceptions in decomposition. Thirds, Triadic r

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: edward.barkmeyer@xxxxxxxx
From: Steven Ericsson-Zenith <steven@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2013 15:48:43 -0700
Message-id: <FA8582FA-558C-487B-BEAA-68ED33BFBF64@xxxxxxx>

Dear Ed,    (01)

One further point of clarification. I assume that you refer to Donald Davidson 
when you say "Daniel Davidson." As in:    (02)

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/davidson/    (03)

This will explain some differences in our approaches.    (04)

Steven    (05)

On Mar 27, 2013, at 3:42 PM, Steven Ericsson-Zenith <steven@xxxxxxx> wrote:    (06)

> {ppy: I have changed the subject line - though I may be the wrong person to 
>do this :-)}
> Dear Ed,
> Before you go ...
> What is your definition of the term "semantics?" The formal definition of the 
>term (derived from Carnap) is the set of rules by which a language may be 
> I find that there is a great deal of ambiguity in the usage of this term in 
>computer and software engineering, both in academia and industry. It appears 
>to often incorrectly associated with the equally ambiguous term "meaning." 
> For completeness then, for me, the term "meaning" is the pragmatic one (due 
>to Peirce). It is the behavior that is the conceivable consequence of 
>apprehending the sign, it is the difference that a term/phrase/sentence may 
>conceivably make in the world. Although, in fact, in my work I go further than 
>Peirce by arguing that it is more exact to say that the meaning of a sign is 
>the actual behavior that is the product of its apprehension.
> I just want to clarify that I have understood you correctly.
> Best regards,
> Steven
> --
> Dr. Steven Ericsson-Zenith
> Institute for Advanced Science & Engineering
> http://iase.info
> On Mar 27, 2013, at 10:05 AM, "Barkmeyer, Edward J" 
><edward.barkmeyer@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Steven,
>> You wrote:
>>> Dear John,
>>> As is often the case in dyadic thinking you and the others that have
>>> responded find the third in yourself (the apprehender) and not objectively 
>>> the syntax. In other words in a triadic statement decomposed to dyads
>>> something is lost.
>>> You knowing that lost thing, that lost conception, and you find it 
>>> when reviewing the dyadic statement but cannot see that it is lost (it's a
>>> mental act not, in fact, present in the syntax/representation). Another
>>> human - from a similar background - might also have the same experience
>>> (indeed, we rely upon it) but a computing machine will certainly not. 
>> On what evidence do you base this assertion?  A computing machine has no 
>conception of anything.  A particular software product creates a machine with 
>the concepts that are built into the software.  If the software 'understands' 
>ternary relations, then it is not necessary that there be a dyadic rewrite of 
>the statement.  If the software accepts dyadic syntax and converts it 
>internally to the ternary relation, then the unit triadic concept is 
>maintained, not lost.  The software model, of course, is not the world it 
>represents, but neither is the human conceptual model.  The human conceptual 
>model is doubtless richer, but whether that richness is either valid or 
>relevant to the communication at hand is 'quite another thing entirely'.  The 
>software may also have some additional richness in the form of axioms and 
>facts about the verb and the nouns involved.
>>> This is
>>> what Peirce was talking about in my earlier quote when he says to Victoria
>>> Welby that Russell's dyadic logic relies upon the very thing that it omits.
>> This may well be, but it is not clear to me that semanticists in the last 
>100 years generally agree with Peirce on the subject of the relationship 
>between conceptual content and syntax, or on the idea that relationships 
>beyond binary are necessarily unitary in concept.  I fully agree that there 
>are ternary relations that are conceptually unitary, but there are also 
>ternary (and quaternary, etc.) relations that have a meaningful factorization, 
>or perhaps multiple meaningful factorizations.  I agree that "John gives the 
>book to Mary" is conceptually a unit.
>>> So, for example, in the case of the statement "A gives B to C," - that I 
>>> Peirce shows is impossible to decompose as you have been suggesting
>>> (certainly "conventional means," I accept). However, to be exact Peirce says
>>> (CP 1.474): "Thus, A gives B to C becomes A makes the covenant D with C and
>>> the covenant D gives B to C." 
>> That may be what Peirce suggests, but Daniel Davidson suggested an 
>alternative, to wit, that one describes a unitary 'event' -- a 'giving', and 
>then describes roles that are played in that event.  The unitary concept is 
>maintained as the event object -- what happens -- not some strange 
>factorization (covenant D) that has no real meaning.  The nature of a giving 
>event involves three roles, and those roles can be represented by three dyadic 
>relationships that assign role players to those roles.  This is a useful 
>general model for the description of conceptual events, whether or not they 
>can be described as instances of a single natural language verb.   
>> The problem with this approach is the need to support truly meaningful 
>binary verbs with a different model, and the value decisions in factoring 
>larger conceptual situations into interconnected subordinate situations.  "The 
>airship industry declined because the Hindenburg disaster demonstrated the 
>danger of using hydrogen for buoyancy, and the substitute -- helium -- was too 
>expensive."  Humans must decompose that thought in order to conceptualize it, 
>but we also impose viewpoint in determining how to organize the interrelations 
>of the subordinate concepts.
>>> It is necessary to introduce D in the
>>> decomposition to a necessary "triadic tetrad" - which none of the proposals
>>> made here so far have done - and so information was lost in the naive 
>>> syntax and dyadic forms you have both proposed.
>> It not necessary, nor even semantically appropriate, to introduce the 
>nonsense 'covenant D', as the Davidsonian model that John and I have described 
>shows.  And when you describe the triadic relation as 'na´ve', I wonder on 
>what basis you think the natural language syntax: A gives B to C is any less 
>>> In short you cannot take language naively as evidence but must be aware of
>>> the nature of apprehension and the semeiotic process (semeiosis) that is
>>> active across what Peirce called "the living mind." It is for this reason 
>>> Peirce and Ladd-Franklin objected to the "Russellization of logic" - which
>>> sanitized all 20th Century logic of such broader consideration.
>>> The resulting formal logic is a pure mathematics that is not suitable to be
>>> mapped to natural language.
>> That is probably a fair assessment of Russell's approach, yes.  But  I think 
>the record will show that logic in the latter half of the 20th century, and 
>its relationship to semantics, departed significantly from Russell.  
>>> I am confident that any modern logician must
>>> accept the inverse to be true. For modern practical needs it is more 
>>> and no doubt cheaper, for humans to simply adopt formal logic as natural
>>> language.
>> I disagree completely.  The function of language is to communicate.  The 
>language must be chosen with attention to the content being communicated and 
>the nature of the audience.  Formal logics have their place in the spectrum of 
>languages, along with English, classical Sanskrit, and road signs.
>>> Peirce's view of logic, indeed much of logic before Russell, is logic as
>>> semeiotic theory - it deals with logic both as the natural science of
>>> conceivable consequences and as a pure mathematics (the science of
>>> necessary conclusions).
>>> If you wish to understand natural language and the behaviors of the
>>> individuals using it (i.e., complex biophysical structures) then it is this 
>>> conception of logic that you must consider.
>> I doubt you will find much disagreement with this in the ontology community. 
> We know that we are making models, and those models are necessarily 
>inaccurate in whatever ways they (intentionally) fail to represent the whole 
>of the domain they describe.  That is the nature of models.
>>> I imagine some software smarty-pants will think this question can be
>>> resolved quickly by writing clever software and taxonomies. But they will be
>>> wasting their time because no matter how exhaustive you try to be in
>>> implementing what I have described above the problem is combinatorial.
>> It is more than "combinatorial".  In general, models made from different 
>perspectives may present conflicting assertions, precisely because they ignore 
>aspects that are important differentiators in other perspectives.
>>> Binary relations are not your friend when dealing with the real bindings
>>> across these complex conceptual manifolds the ghost of which is merely
>>> reflected by natural language.
>> And yet, European languages have only unary (intransitive) and binary 
>(transitive) verbs.  All of the rest of the conceptual environment is made up 
>by what our Latin educational heritage calls "adverbial phrases" that are said 
>to "modify" the verb, or to assert "general roles" of noun phrases (agent, 
>patient, instrument, purpose, location, etc.).  The problem of conveying 
>"complex conceptual manifolds" did not originate with logic languages.
>>> You cannot compete in modern computing machines with the low power
>>> dynamics in biophysical structure that has no need to store results or move
>>> input data from its natural path.
>> I have no idea what this means.
>>> There is an important distinction in what I have said before that has been
>>> missed by most responders. When I speak of "the third" I am referring to
>>> Peirce's "thirdness" and not to the syntax of triadic forms.
>>> As Peirce says in the following a third always deals with the general, and 
>>> an individual, the general was lost in the earlier example. It's difficult 
>>> quoting Peirce, so forgive me - I know that his 19th century language can
>>> seem cryptic at times - the following is taken from CP 1.475 - CP 1.480 on 
>>> subject of TRIADS:
>>> == Peirce quote ==
>>> "It may be said that it is a psychical fact. This is in so far true, that a 
>>> fact is involved; but there is no intent unless something be intended; and
>>> that which is intended cannot be covered by any facts; it goes beyond
>>> anything that can ever be done or have happened, because it extends over
>>> the whole breadth of a general condition; and a complete list of the 
>>> cases is absurd. From its very nature, no matter how far specification has
>>> gone, it can be carried further; and the general condition covers all that
>>> incompletable possibility.
>>> There, then, we have an example of a genuine triad and of a triadic
>>> conception. But what is the general description of a genuine triad? I am
>>> satisfied that no triad which does not involve generality, that is, the 
>>> of which does not imply something concerning every possible object of some
>>> description can be a genuine triad. The mere addition of one to two makes a
>>> triad; and therein is contained an idea entirely indecomposable into the 
>>> of one and two. For addition implies two subjects added, and something else
>>> as the result of the addition. Hence, it is wrong to define two as the sum 
>>> one and one; for according to such a definition, two would involve the idea 
>>> three. The idea characteristic of two is other. The corresponding idea
>>> characteristic of three is third. ...
>>> The genuine triad contains no idea essentially different from those of 
>>> other, third. But it involves the idea of a third not resoluble into a 
>>> aggregation. In other words, it involves the idea of something more than all
>>> that can result from the successive addition of one to one. This "all that 
>>> involves the idea of every possible.
>>> The world of fact contains only what is, and not everything that is 
>possible of
>>> any description. Hence, the world of fact cannot contain a genuine triad. 
>>> though it cannot contain a genuine triad, it may be governed by genuine
>>> triads. So much for the division of triads into the monadic, dyadic, and 
>>> or genuine triads.
>>> Dyadic triads are obviously of two kinds, first, those which have two 
>>> subjects, as a high perfume and a burning taste are united in many essential
>>> oils, and secondly, those which have [for] all their subjects individuals.
>>> Genuine triads are of three kinds. For while a triad if genuine cannot be in
>>> the world of quality nor in that of fact, yet it may be a mere law, or 
>>> of quality or of fact. But a thoroughly genuine triad is separated entirely 
>>> those worlds and exists in the universe of representations. Indeed,
>>> representation necessarily involves a genuine triad. For it involves a 
>sign, or
>>> representamen, of some kind, outward or inward, mediating between an
>>> object and an interpreting thought. Now this is neither a matter of fact, 
>>> thought is general, nor is it a matter of law, since thought is living."
>>> == End Peirce quote ==
>> I must here confess my ignorance.  I have no idea what the subject of the 
>above excerpt is -- the "genuine triad" that seems to elude clear definition 
>or description by Peirce, if the excerpt is any indication.  And I cannot 
>imagine how it might relate to the development of ontologies.  So, Steven, you 
>have convinced me to stop reading this thread.
>> -Ed
>>> Best regards,
>>> Steven
>>> --
>>> Dr. Steven Ericsson-Zenith
>>> Institute for Advanced Science & Engineering http://iase.info
>>> On Mar 26, 2013, at 3:28 AM, sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>>>> Steven,
>>>>> I'm not sure that I Peirce would accept the functional notation as
>>>>> triadic, but - as you say - he would prefer a a diagram/graph...
>>>> The basic arithmetic operators -- add, subtract, and multiply -- take two
>>> inputs and generate one output.  That is certainly triadic.
>>>> You can reduce the triads to dyads by Currying, but those dyads only
>>> represent intermediate results.  You still get triadic connections in the
>>> complete diagrams.
>>>> Divide taks two inputs (dividend and divisor) and generates two outputs
>>> (quotient and remainder).  But it can be represented by two triads -- one
>>> that takes the two inputs and generates the quotient, and the other that
>>> takes the same inputs and generates the remainder.
>>>> If you use a purely relational notation (as Peirce did for his algebra of 
>>> or his existential graphs of 1897), all those functions must be represented 
>>> triadic relations.
>>>> As another example, look at Prolog.  It represents the basic arithmetic
>>> operators by triadic relations.
>>>> John
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