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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology based conversational interfaces

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Thomas Johnston <tmj44p@xxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 02:47:13 +0000 (UTC)
Message-id: <1997759248.1034540.1436755633149.JavaMail.yahoo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

You're absolutely right about Plato and Aristotle. As Garrison Keillor taught us to say, "Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Helluva Culpa"! (Sometimes my mind slips into neutral!)

But perhaps if I had said that Aristotle's work on formal logic was unprecedented, you'd have less reason to take me to task.


On Saturday, July 11, 2015 10:34 PM, John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

On 7/11/2015 2:17 PM, Thomas Johnston wrote:
> To return to the point I began with: useful work in any non-trivial area
> of research very seldom comes from those who know little or nothing
> about what other serious researchers have already discovered and
> formulated.

I very strongly agree.

The only point I disagree with is the following:

> Aristotle and Plato are exceptions that prove that rule.

They were certainly not exceptions.  They inherited a couple
of centuries of intense analysis and research by the Greeks,
who inherited many more centuries of research and writings
from all the ancient civilizations.

There were extensive writings, but most of it is lost.  The
fragments that remain come from quotations by Plato, Aristotle,
and others who had studied those documents.

Remember that the silk road brought merchants, soldiers,
and gurus traveling between China and Europe and all points
in between from about 1500 BC.  There were also a couple of
millennia of cultural exchanges and wars among the Sumerians,
Assyrians, Egyptians, Hittites, and Persians (with the Hebrews,
Phoenicians, Minoans, and others along the way).

It's not surprising that the great Pre-Socratics lived in the
Greek colonies where they were exposed to outside influences.
Heraclitus lived in Asia Minor around 500 BC, which was under the
control of the Persians, near the western end of the Silk Road.

Many people have remarked on similarities between Heraclitus's
remarks on the Logos, the Tao (or Dao) by Lao Tzu in China, and
Gautama Buddha in India -- who were approximate contemporaries.

Pythagoras also came from an island off Asia Minor.  By tradition
he is said to have traveled to Egypt and Babylon.  More likely,
he met gurus or wise men from those areas before settling in
the Greek colonies in Italy.

Plato spent many years learning from the Sophists and from the
debates between Socrates and the Sophists.  But no one knows
how much of Socrates survives in Plato's dialogs.  Then
Aristotle spent 18 years studying, debating, and teaching in
Plato's Academy.  Even before that, Aristotle had learned a huge
amount of biology and medicine (and the need to keep precise
records) from his father -- and from his own experiments with
his students in the Lyceum.

> Thanks for the reference to the Winograd et al work Understanding
> Computers and Cognition.  I managed to find this 60 page pdf review
> of it here:
> http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

You might also check the one-page review of Understanding Dogs
and Dognition:  http://www.tmk.com/ftp/humor/dognition

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