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Re: Thing and Class

From: Griffin Caprio <griffincaprio@mac.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 12:53:19 -0500
To: "Richard H. McCullough" <rhm@PioneerCA.com>
Message-id: <B07389D7-9014-4679-A5E4-F6D06CF72DE2@mac.com>
Cc: Joshua Tauberer <jt@occams.info>, 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>

Can we please end this discussion?  It makes no sense on a semantic  
web W3C mailing list.  Dick, please announce the existence of your  
language mailing lists and lets all move on.  It just seems like no  
one cares about the differences, except for Dick.

Griffin Caprio

On Aug 28, 2008, at 11:56 AM, Richard H. McCullough wrote:

> 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;
> http://mKRmKE.org/
> ----- 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" <cyclify-austin@YahooGroups.com>
> 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 19:34:33 UTC

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