Re: ontology, language, logic, and what we intend to do here in ONTAC: what DO we want to do in ONTAC?

Dear Leo

I am new to your list and I think its great resource that I might join 
at some stage

I understand your frustration about people getting sidetracked and that 
some threads maybe more relevant than others to what is at hand
But  additional information - unless totally unrelated - should not be 
seen as an obstacle to goal achievement, rather as contribute to it

Broader perspectives, a higher understanding of the top level issues, 
increased commnication flow and general improved sense of orientation
are likely to help any list ACHIEVE  any GOAL better and faster

Best wishes


. On the other hand I assure you that Obrst, Leo J. wrote:

>I would say ontology precedes language which precedes logic, but the
>latter makes our understanding of the former two much more precise and
>allows us to represent and know what we think we know.
>Also, by the way, discussion in its own right about these issues is not
>necessarily what we intend in the ONTAC forum. Instead, we would like
>Perhaps a restatement of our goals is necessary now -- and
>periodically, to keep achievement of goals foremost in our minds and
>our discussions?
>Pat and founding members: care to restate the GOALS we want to ACHIEVE?
>ps. Discussion of all the philosophical, linguistic, and logical issues
>that surround our goals is very interesting, but we tend to get
>side-tracked and the readership (and writership, if you will) is
>getting educated in these issues, but progress is nearly non-existent.
>If I'm not mistaken, this distribution list is intended to resolve and
>get things done. Admittedly it is not yet like the disciplined effort
>to achieve specific goals that other standards based (or occasionally
>non-standards based) activities are, but perhaps it should be?
>Dr. Leo Obrst       The MITRE Corporation, Information Semantics 
>    Center for Innovative Computing & Informatics 
>Voice: 703-983-6770 7515 Colshire Drive, M/S H305 
>Fax: 703-983-1379   McLean, VA 22102-7508, USA 
>-----Original Message-----
>[] On Behalf Of John F. Sowa
>Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2006 4:11 PM
>To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion
>Subject: Re: [ontac-forum] Semantics and Ontology and Semiotics
>All this discussion resembles the parable about seven blind
>men examining an elephant.  Each one examines one part in
>detail -- the trunk, the tail, an ear, a side, a leg, the
>underside, or the back -- and draws conclusions that are
>diametrically opposed to any of the others.
>Language has even more sides than an elephant.  When we're
>doing math, science, or business, we do use the logical side.
>But frequently in science and very frequently in business,
>we are at a loss about the meaning of some observation or
>puzzle, and we have to fall back on vague intuitions.
>The hardest part of science is *not* deduction from axioms,
>but the *discovery* of axioms that are suitable for precise
>deduction.  If all we had was logic, we would never be able
>to analyze and talk about the typically vague intuitions
>that lead to some of the greatest discoveries.  But if we
>didn't have the ability to do logic, we could never explore
>the consequences of those intuitions, and we'd be cheated
>in business by any shyster who could.
>Following are a couple of quotations:
>    "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality,
>    they are not certain; and as far as they are certain,
>    they do not refer to reality."  Albert Einstein
>    "If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical
>    processes of arithmetic, we should not get very far
>    in our understanding of the physical world.  One might
>    as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely
>    by the use of the mathematics of probability."
>    Vannevar Bush
>We cannot understand language if we don't recognize that
>logic is part of every natural language.  But we cannot
>use logic effectively unless we recognize that our precise
>axioms were derived from some initially vague intuitions.
>John Sowa
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Received on Sunday, 28 May 2006 08:14:22 UTC