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Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantics of Natural Languages

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 23 May 2015 16:14:38 -0400
Message-id: <5560DFAE.7020209@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Rich,    (01)

I have not had the time to respond to the long thread about fruit flies,
etc.  I'll get back to that later.  Although I have a high regard for
most of the work by Peter Gärdenfors, his three-way distinction in
that paper misses a few hundred other ways that should be considered:    (02)

> Most adherents of the symbolic paradigm are semantic realists in the
> sense that the “meaning” of a predicate or a sentence is determined
> by mapping it to the external world (or, to make it even more remote
> from a cognitive system, to a plethora of possible worlds). The world
> (and the mapping) is assumed to exist independently of any relation
> to a cognitive subject.    (03)

First of all, every language, natural or artificial, consists of
symbols.  Therefore, every theory of language must, at some level,
be symbolic.    (04)

Second, the following sentence by PG is a statement of strong AI,
which even most AI people don't believe: "The symbolic approach starts
from the assumption that cognitive systems should be modeled by Turing
machines."    (05)

Third concepts are symbolic, even when they aren't expressed in
language.  The conceptual version that PG discusses represents
concepts by vectors, which are inadequate for representing nearly
all complex language usage -- both formal and informal.    (06)

Fourth, the term 'subconceptual' includes much more than the
computational methods called 'connectionist'.    (07)

Finally, PG does make some statements that I would agree with,
but his terminology (based on the trichotomy in that article)
tends to confuse the issues.    (08)

In short, I would not recommend that paper as a step toward
clarifying the issues raised in the fruit-fly thread.    (09)

John    (010)

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