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Re: [ontolog-forum] Types of Formal (logical) Definitions in ontology

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Cc: swartz@xxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 12:32:35 -0400
Message-id: <53AAF9A3.20209@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Robert, Ali, and Ed,    (01)

> I did not mean artificial languages or "method[s] of reasoning
> humans invent". I did not mean artificial reasoning. I meant how
> the mind naturally reasons.    (02)

Some basic observations:    (03)

  1. Nobody knows "how the mind naturally reasons".  Neuroscientists
     are finding out a lot about what areas of the brain are active
     when people behave and talk in various ways.  But the best
     evidence of how they reason comes from what they say and do.    (04)

  2. Every artificial language is a special case of what people say
     in some natural language.  Every form of reasoning that any
     human has chosen to use for some purpose is *natural* for them
     for that purpose.  Nobody thinks in an artificial way.    (05)

  3. There is a continuum in the development from infancy to the
     the most sophisticated ways of thinking:  from a child singing
     a nursery rhyme to a Bach fugue; from counting 1-2-3 to the
     most advanced mathematics; from helping mommy bake cookies
     to the most complex cuisine; from "Mary had a little lamb"
     to Shakespeare.  At no point is there a break between natural
     reasoning and artificial reasoning.    (06)

> Admittedly, the mechanism one uses to choose (or construct) a set of
> premises for deductive reasoning may itself not be deductive reasoning
> (though you can layer multiple levels, to have a dedicated layer of
> FOL-based reasoning select the appropriate set of premises), but
> therein lies an echo to what John S and Ed B were saying - these
> reasoning systems are complementary.    (07)

Yes indeed.  I believe that Marvin Minsky's "Society of Mind" is
on the right track:  the human mind supports an open-ended variety
of ways of thinking (or language games as Wittgenstein called them).
The most *natural* aspect of the human mind is the ability to
"mix and match" multiple, complementary ways of thinking.    (08)

> AI is a very large field. OWL and FOL ontologies are a small garden patch.
> It just happens to have a few highly visible sunflowers these days.    (09)

I agree.  For a map of cognitive science with URLs for the gardeners,
see my slides on "The goal of language understanding":
http://www.jfsowa.com/talks/goal.pdf    (010)

For a good analysis of the kinds of definitions, both formal and
informal, I recommend the lecture notes "Definitions, Dictionaries,
and Meanings" by Norman Swartz:    (011)

    http://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/definitions.htm    (012)

Swartz has a BA in physics from Harvard and a PhD in philosophy
from Indiana U.  So he knows enough science to make cogent statements
about scientific issues, philosophical issues, and the relationships
among them.  I also recommend his article "Laws of Nature" in the
International Encyclopedia of Philosophy:    (013)

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/lawofnat/    (014)

You can also download three books, various articles, and lecture
notes for his students.  In particular, I recommend his notes on
knowledge, which are shorter, clearer, and closer to common usage
of the word 'knowledge' than most philosophical writing:    (015)

    http://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/contents.htm    (016)

John    (017)

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