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Re: Nunciation

From: Seth Russell <seth@robustai.net>
Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2001 12:58:21 -0800
Message-ID: <3A7B1F6C.91811135@robustai.net>
To: pat hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
CC: Jon Awbrey <jawbrey@oakland.edu>, standard-upper-ontology@ieee.org, www-rdf-logic@w3.org
pat hayes wrote the passage below which I have included:

I thank you for one of the clearest explanations of signs that I have ever read.
I would like to emphasize a train that I perceive running through your
discussion:  We (humans) use signs .. or to put that another way:  if signs do not
affect our behavior, then we are "getting nothing done", rather we are just in a
process of continual reflection, with the sinage we recycle being meaningless.
So this is the human predicament.  What of the computer's predicament?  Is it any
different?   I think not.  Which leads me to the opinion that if we wish to put
meaning in our computer's signs, we must needs encourage them (program them) to
communicate with us and among each other using signs.

A simple idea, too simple perhaps, but how many projects have we seen (even
lately) where the discussion of computer meaning (or models) is totally lacking
the premise that this meaning can only come from the models communicating signs
externally and behaving accordingly ?


---- in response to the below, which deserves another posting ----

> >Arisbeans, RDF Lodgers, SemioComrades, Stand Up Ontologists,
> >
> >| Why is it necessary to reflect on signs?
> On the whole, it isn't, most of the time. One tends to get more
> things done by using signs than reflecting about them. At times, of
> course, one needs to pay attention to the signs themselves, but one
> can get rather, shall I say, obsessive about this topic, since
> everything that is said about anything is (of course) said with a
> sign, and so if one always pays  attention to the signs and not
> enough to their content, then one is in a constant state of
> sign-tripping, like someone with OCD who can't go outside without
> checking a dozen times to see if his tie is straight. As well as
> getting on everyone else's nerves, the result is a kind of paralysis
> where nothing substantive ever actually gets said or done.
> For the SUO there is a deeper reason, however. "Signs", in your
> terminology, refers to a topic in semiology. But - and please forgive
> me for emphasising this point, but it deserves a little emphasis -
> ONTOLOGY IS NOT A SEMIOLOGICAL TOPIC. That is, 'ontology' refers to
> what there IS, not to how people talk about it. It is, right at its
> very heart, fundamentally, about the world, not about signs; and
> still less about human *use* of signs.
> >| Why not just talk about the objects alone?
> Indeed, why not? In fact, that is almost certainly what language
> evolved to do, viz. to talk about objects; and since the objects (and
> the stuffs and events and all that other material of the World) are
> our Ontological subject matter, why not talk about them, indeed?
> >| Why not just use signs without mentioning them?
> Every time your finger hits a key, you use a sign. Even to mention a
> sign, you must use another sign. Without using signs, you can only be
> mute. So the force of your question might be better put as : why
> mention signs? Indeed. Allow me to suggest a pragmatic rule: it is
> usually best to use a sign first to see what it does, and to resort
> to mentioning it only as a last resort, if it doesnt do what one
> intended.
> Pat Hayes
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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> 40 South Alcaniz St.                    (850)202 4416   office
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> phayes@ai.uwf.edu
> http://www.coginst.uwf.edu/~phayes

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Received on Friday, 2 February 2001 15:51:20 UTC

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