The pentatonic scale, dividing the octave into five notes, is a recognizable
pattern in the folk music of many cultures. Pretty much any sequence of notes
in this scale sounds melodic, and many well-known melodies fit into it.
However, it has no semitones and is incapable of handling sophisticated musical
composition. After a while it gets kind of monotonous. (01)
I would like to propose that we re-name ontolog forum as the Ontologist's
Pentatonic Scale, or OPS. The same arguments and points get made and re-made
over and over again, always at about the same philosophical depth. It is
entertaining at first, and like folk music it has a kind of reassuring
simplicity, but it gets boring after a while, as one tends to hear the same
melodies repeated for the hundreth time. (02)
Anyone else agree? (03)
Pat Hayes (04)
On Oct 4, 2014, at 7:49 PM, John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: (05)
> Pat C, Ed, Leo, Steven, Rich, and Mark,
> I'd like to quote Anna Wierzbicka's remark about her "primitives".
> Her point is also true of Longman's list of 2000 defining terms,
> which Pat has emphasized:
> AW, _Lexicography and Conceptual Analysis_
>> An adequate definition of a vague concept must aim not at precision,
>> but at vagueness: it must aim at precisely that level of vagueness
>> which characterizes the concept itself.
> Anna W's list, Longman's list, and the synsets of WordNet are vague.
> That vagueness is *useful* for enabling incompatible predicates
> from inconsistent ontologies to be mapped to the same synsets.
> Those mappings are valuable for NLP, but not for detailed reasoning.
> Immanuel Kant summarized the issues:
> IK, _Logic_, Dover reprint.
>> Since the synthesis of empirical concepts is not arbitrary but based
>> on experience, and as such can never be complete (for in experience
>> ever new characteristics of the concept can be discovered), empirical
>> concepts cannot be defined. Thus only arbitrarily made concepts can
>> be defined synthetically. Such definitions... could also be called
>> declarations, since in them one declares one’s thoughts or renders
>> account of what one understands by a word. This is the case with
> In short, you can have complete formal definitions in mathematics.
> Since every computer is formally specified, every program does
> something very precise -- but what it does so precisely might not
> be what the programmer had intended.
>> Thorough simplification leads to convergence in underlying features
>> of language design, such as the structure of information building
>> blocks that are well designed to be easily arranged.
> I assume that you're talking about the design of computer systems
> and languages. I agree that those designs should be clean, simple,
> and formally defined.
> To draw an analogy, the difference between what a programmer says
> and what the program actually does is similar to the difference
> between WordNet and formal ontologies.
>> One exception may be the foundations of mathematics (and logic)
>> such as Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory (ZFC) or variants...
> Kant would say that any mathematical system can be specified
> precisely. But the question whether a single foundation can
> be adequate for every possible mathematical system has been
> hotly debated since it was first proposed in the 19th century.
>> Then of course for science, to gauge/adjudicate scientific
>> theories, one gets into philosophy of science issues such
>> as theory succinctness...
>> Not the case Leo ... There is no bridge constructed between
>> Pure Mathematics the Physical Sciences...
> I'll let Leo and Steven clarify what they mean. But I'd emphasize
> that mathematics is not part of physics. Those precise mathematical
> specifications of physical concepts are *fallible* and *changeable*.
> English words such as 'mass', 'force', 'energy'... are mapped
> to incompatible theories in the same way as as WordNet synsets.
> In fact, engineers frequently and *knowingly* use incompatible
> definitions of those terms for different components of the same
> physical system -- car, airplane, computer...
>> the infant Kernel of the agent, prior to learning, should include
>> a vocabulary of each and every perception, and each and every action,
>> plus a pool of constants, variables and constraints among them, as
>> imposed by the agent on the environment, and by the environment
>> on the agent.
>> it seems unlikely that there can be a fundamental ontology of
>> perception or of action.
> The vague primitives by Anna W. are an example of a vague starting
> set that is common to infants around the world. But AW would agree
> with Mark (and Kant) that no formal definition is possible *or*
> desirable. Any such definition would destroy their flexibility.
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