[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] SME (subject matter experts) and Ontology developeme

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2015 23:40:46 -0400
Message-id: <550B96BE.8030401@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Tom,    (01)

I agree that there's a huge amount of formal machinery in that list
(and I use the word 'formal' very loosely when talking about Chomsky's
style of writing).  I also agree that there were many publications
by Noam C and his students and colleagues that carefully fit many
thorny aspects of English syntax into each of those formalisms.    (02)

> So here's Chomsky on what the Minimalist Program leaves behind:
> “D-structure; S-structure; government; the Projection Principle and the
> Theta Criterion; other conditions held to apply at D- and S-Structure;
> the Empty Category Theory; Case Theory; the Chain Condition, and so on
> ….There should be no government, no stipulated properties of chains, no
> binding relations internal to language, no interactions of other kinds …
> /no phrasal categories or bar levels, hence no X-bar theory or other
> theory of phrase structure apart from bare phrase structure/”.    (03)

But Ron Kaplan made a good characterization of all that structure
(my loose paraphrase of a comment that Ron made many years ago --
apologies to Ron, for any misquotation):    (04)

* The average computer scientist will invent half a dozen new
   formalisms before breakfast.    (05)

* But in linguistics, Chomsky is the only person who is allowed
   to invent formalisms.    (06)

* If anyone else dares to invent a formalism, Chomsky denounces
   it as a "notational variant" of one of his own.    (07)

* Then if there's anything useful in that formalism, Chomsky will
   rename it in one of his own publications and acknowledge one of
   his former students for helpful contributions.    (08)

Ron said that in a humorous way, but he was absolutely serious.
Any competent programmer who rewrites a program several times over
a period of years will rip out various data structures, revise the
algorithms, and finally produce a much simpler, more polished,
and more efficient way of achieving the same results.    (09)

Programmers call that competence. They don't call it a paradigm shift.    (010)

> I would also point out that there is an important continuity
> in Wittgenstein across his two theories, and that continuity of
> commitment is to the verificationist principle, a keystone of
> the logical atomism...    (011)

I agree that certain threads carry through.  But the issues are more
complex, and the term 'verification' is more misleading than helpful:    (012)

  1. I prefer the term 'model theoretic semantics' for the Tractatus.
     LW emphasized the mapping from atomic sentences to the world in
     a way that anticipates Tarski's model theory.  The truth value
     of a complex sentence is evaluated as a Boolean combination of
     atomic sentences.    (013)

  2. In the preface to PI, LW credits Frank Ramsey for critical insights
     that led to his later views.  Among other things, Ramsey was
     strongly influenced by Peirce, and he recommended a collection
     of writings by Peirce.  Many scholars have noted strong parallels
     between Peirce's views and some of LW's later writings.    (014)

  3. I was impressed Stuart Shanker's analysis of LW's transitional
     period (1929 to 1930), when he abandoned the one-to-one mapping
     from atomic sentences to the world for a much looser mapping:
     Shanker, Stuart G. (1987) Wittgenstein and the Turning Point
     in the Philosophy of Mathematics, SUNY Press, Albany.    (015)

  4. I hadn't read Strawson's review of PI.  But judging from his
     negative comments about Austin and Davidson, I'm dubious about
     any comments he might make on any matters related to language.    (016)

For a brief summary of my views of the transition, see the slides
http://www.jfsowa.com/talks/goal4.pdf    (017)

In those slides, I also discuss Margaret Masterman and
Michael Halliday -- two founding members of the Cambridge
Language Research Unit (CLRU).  For brief summaries of their
work, see the reviews of their books:    (018)

    Review of _Language, Cohesion and Form_    (019)

    Review of _Construing Experience through Meaning: A Language-based
    Approach to Cognition_    (020)

Masterman was one of six students in Wittgenstein’s course of 1933-34
whose notes were compiled in _The Blue Book_.  Halliday is not a
Wittgensteinian philosopher, but his views are compatible with LW's.
He has had a very strong influence on computational linguistics and
related areas of cognitive science.    (021)

For Youtube lectures on language evolution (presented in 2010), see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT-zZ0PMqgI    (022)

Deacon, Halliday, and Matthiessen address critical issues.  Chomsky
just rehashes his position from the 1950s, which nearly everybody
else in cognitive science considers dead.    (023)

By the way, Chomsky was born in 1928, and Halliday was born in 1925.    (024)

John    (025)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J    (026)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>