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Re: Thing and Class

From: Richard H. McCullough <rhm@pioneerca.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 09:56:51 -0700
Message-ID: <E2241DE53C2543B6B759CC64BE43F94E@rhm8200>
To: "Joshua Tauberer" <jt@occams.info>
Cc: "David Price" <david.price@eurostep.com>, "James Leigh" <james-nospam@leighnet.ca>, "Semantic Web at W3C" <semantic-web@w3.org>, "KR-language" <KR-language@YahooGroups.com>, "cyclify austin" <cyclify-austin@YahooGroups.com>

Hi again Josh

Thanks for your input.

I will take on those two books as a homework assignment.

But, with respect to formal semantics, I already know
enough to be dangerous.
RDF/OWL starts by divorcing itself from reality --
using "meaningless" formal symbols.
Then RDF/OWL formal semantics uses "interpretations",
which map the "meaningless" symbols of RDF/OWL
back to the "meaningful" English words of reality.

I, with my language mKR, take the opposite approach.
mKR starts with "meaningful" symbols -- English words and phrases.
mKR doesn't need any formal semantics "interpretations",
because mKR is already connected to reality.

RDF/OWL has divorced syntax and semantics.
mKR has integrated syntax and semantics into "symantax".

To sum up, I would say I understand the syntax+semantics
used in the Semantic Web, and I don't like it very much.
And I am trying to make sure that reality is not
irretrievably lost in the syntactic stage of processing.

Dick McCullough
Ayn Rand do speak od mKR done;
mKE do enhance od Real Intelligence done;
knowledge := man do identify od existent done;
knowledge haspart proposition list;

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joshua Tauberer" <jt@occams.info>
To: "Richard H. McCullough" <rhm@pioneerca.com>
Cc: "David Price" <david.price@eurostep.com>; "James Leigh" 
<james-nospam@leighnet.ca>; "Semantic Web at W3C" <semantic-web@w3.org>; 
"KR-language" <KR-language@YahooGroups.com>; "cyclify austin" 
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2008 8:08 AM
Subject: Re: Thing and Class

> I hate to get involved, but here we go-
> Richard H. McCullough wrote:
>> RE: Thing and ClassDavid
>> I don't know much about the OWL DL and nothing about ISO 15926.
>> Perhaps you could explain a little of them to me/us?
>> I don't think your statements 1) and 2) are correct.
>> 1) A "Class" is not a set of things.  It is a strange sort
>> of group.  If it is a "plural" class, e.g. "dogs", then
>> it may be considered to be a set.  But if it is a "single"
>> class, e.g. "dog", then it may be considered to be an
>> enumeration (OneOf).
> This has been going on for a while. Let's just be frank. Dick, this is 
> wrong because you don't understand what's going on fundamentally in the 
> world of semantics in the Semantic Web.
> The type of semantics going on on this list is a type of formal semantics. 
> In formal semantics (much like the SW in general), the names of things 
> don't matter because they aren't meant to correspond to the real world 
> notions. The fact that OWL uses the word "class" shouldn't be taken to 
> mean that we can do some introspection about how we feel about the notion 
> of classes philosophically, how we feel about the English word "class", or 
> about how we use the English word "class" in everyday life to draw any 
> conclusions about OWL. It's just irrelevant. It's not the point of OWL.
> But besides, if you actually did any linguistic research into how people 
> use plurals, since you brought it up, you would find that it is orders of 
> magnitude murkier than OWL. There is little to gain from looking at 
> English plurals like "dogs" in order to understand OWL "class". You'll 
> just get more confused.
> *The bottom line here is that if you are justifying things by talking 
> about your intuitions about these notions or by referencing facts 
> contingent on human language, like plurals, then you are not on the same 
> page as everyone else.* This isn't about being right or wrong per se, it's 
> about being relevant to the people you're writing to on this list.
> As was suggested, learning some formal semantics will help. The best I can 
> suggest are the two books I learned from:
>   Language, Proof, and Logic by Barwise and Etchemendy
>   Semantics in Generative Grammar by Heim and Kratzer
> They were quite good books, though I credit my professors more than the 
> books for what I got out of them. The second one is specific to 
> linguistics. I don't know how other ways of learning formal semantics 
> works, but doing it from a linguistic semantics perspective seems like it 
> would be useful even if you aren't interested in linguistics because it 
> gives it a nice purpose.
>> 2) Classes are not members of Thing (Class type Thing).
>> They are subclasses of Thing (Class subClassOf Thing).
> Dick, for reasons that would be clear if you understood formal semantics 
> well, what I've quoted above from you is incoherent to the rest of us. 
> (The bits outside of the parens don't agree with the bits inside.) It may 
> make sense in the way you interpret these things, but it doesn't make 
> sense to us --- and since you're writing *to us*, I think it would be good 
> to choose a language we can understand. That is, learn formal semantics.
> While I'm taking the pedantic tone that I've adopted for this email 
> (shudder), I might as well continue in the spirit: I think you should take 
> a break from the semantics in the semantic web to read the books above 
> carefully and open-mindedly, and treat as a homework assignment figuring 
> out why what I quoted above is incoherent to the rest of us. The books 
> won't agree with any intuitive notions you have about class, individual, 
> etc., but you can rest assured that the rest of us think that the notions 
> in the books *are* still very important.
> (Okay, no more pedantic tone for a while.)
> -- 
> - Josh Tauberer
> http://razor.occams.info
> "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation!  Yields
> falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
> Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
Received on Thursday, 28 August 2008 17:00:02 UTC

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