|To:||"ONTAC-WG General Discussion" <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Fri, 16 Dec 2005 23:58:46 +0200|
John made rather sweeping generalizations:
''everything I see is a sign, everything I feel is a sign, everything I think is a sign,
and everything I say is a sign. It's all signs all the way down.'
Actually, not every thing is a sign, rather 'every sign is also a thing'. So more secure is here to stick to the traditional Augustine's theory of signs based on the threefold division of things:
I. There are things that are merely things, all acting as the ultimate references and meanings in Real (Ontological) Semantics;
II. There are things that are also signs of other things, as some natural signs [causally related as smoke and the fire] and the things of the human mind, thoughts, concepts and ideas, feelings and images, functioning as the senses in Conceptual and Pragmatic Semantics;
III. There are things that are always signs, as words and other symbols signifying things via mental signs (Aquinas), studied by Linguistic Semantics and exploited by Semantic Web Ontologies.
So there are things as such as well as natural and intentional or conventional signs, like a verbal sign getting its deep meaning from the real entity signified, but of couse not 'in its use in the language' (Wittgenstein).
So then all words, writen and spoken, are symbols of thoughts and images, which are the shared mental experiences of the things in the world.
----- Original Message -----
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2005 6:33 AM
Subject: Re: [ontac-forum] Theories, Models, Reasoning, Language, and Truth
> I certainly agree (and I believe Wittgenstein would also)
> that the _Tractatus_ (TLP) was an elegant, tightly organized
> little gem that presented a view of semantics that was
> completely compatible with Tarski's model theory (actually,
> more compatible than Tarski's own views of NL -- since T.
> expressly limited his model theory to "formal languages".)
> I also agree with W. that _Philosophical Investigations_ (PI)
> was, comparatively speaking, a mess -- or as W. himself said,
> "I should have liked to produce a good book. This has not
> come about, but the time is past in which I could improve it."
> > I can't think of a shred of evidence in TLP for the idea
> > that there is "one giant theory".
> Start with Satz 1: "The world is everything that is the case."
> That is equivalent, in Tarski's terms, to the claim that the
> world is one giant model, which has a unique decomposition
> into atomic objects that can be related by atomic sentences,
> whose Boolean combinations assert all the possible "cases"
> that make up the world. That is certainly a "giant theory"
> if there ever was one.
> I agree that the picture theory of meaning was central to TLP
> and that it is a decent elaboration of Aristotle's version.
> For qualifications, see Section 7 of my theories paper:
> Theories, Models, Reasoning, Language, and Truth
> > TLP does contain a single, very influential theory of *meaning*,
> > viz., the "picture" theory, according to which a sentence has
> > meaning insofar as its internal structural corresponds in a
> > certain way to the structure of the objects denoted by its
> > referring terms.
> The major problem, however, is that there is not just one true
> picture of the world, but an infinite number of possible pictures
> from different perspectives, at different levels of granularity,
> for different purposes. Take Jerry Hobbs' example of a road: a
> map gives a one-dimensional picture for drivers who are planning
> a trip, but the driver needs a 2-D picture for driving on it,
> and the road builder definitely has a 3-D picture.
> > And his purpose was to circumscribe thereby the *limits* of
> > language, and in particular its powerlessness for expressing and
> > answering questions concerning what is in fact most important in
> > life, questions of life's meaning, questions about the good and
> > the beautiful. Thus the towering, and ultimately tragic,
> > proposition with which W. closes the book: "Wovon man nicht
> > sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen!"
> W. undoubtedly had multiple purposes, including a desire to complete
> the project he and Russell had been discussing during the two years
> before World War I. The major part of TLP consists of W's version
> of what Russell independently (and not as elegantly) published as
> "Logical Atomism".
> I agree that W. himself had much deeper thoughts, which he did not
> (in 1920) believe could or should be expressed in language. But
> just before the conclusion, W. said "Everything that can be said,
> can be said clearly" -- which essentially limits the useful subset
> of language to just those sentences that express the giant theory.
> In PI, W. presents example after example that cast doubt on (or
> I would prefer to say "refute") every major Satz and most of the
> minor ones in TLP. W. refutes the claims that (a) there are atomic
> objects, (b) any ordinary object (e.g., a chair) can be uniquely
> analyzed into any unique set of elementary objects, (c) composite
> sentences can be uniquely analyzed into Boolean combinations of
> primitive sentences. In PI, he also approves of unclear and
> imprecise statements and many more kinds of sentences that are
> not tied to some picture or some action (e.g., hoping, wishing,
> expecting, praying, singing, joking, etc.).
> > For PI is a rejection, not of the idea of one giant theory, but
> > of the whole idea that meaning is representation.
> W. did not use the word "representation" (or Vorstellung) in TLP,
> and he did not reject in in PI. I used the word "representation"
> myself in the title of my KR book, but I now believe that word is
> hopelessly misleading. I now prefer to use Peirce's word "sign",
> which I follow P. in applying to everything: everything I see is
> a sign, everything I feel is a sign, everything I think is a sign,
> and everything I say is a sign. It's all signs all the way down.
> I don't claim that W. envisioned a lattice of theories, and given
> the vehemence of his rejection of Waismann's attempt to summarize
> his views, I wouldn't hold out much hope for his approval of my
> version. But I would claim that many of W's games -- including all
> those that involve declarative language and queries and many that
> involve commands -- could be mapped to theories of the lattice:
> 1. Translate W's rules to the axioms (constraints) of a theory T.
> 2. Every declarative sentence in that game would be compatible
> with T -- i.e., consistent with T and if not a theorem or axiom
> of T then an extension of T to a more specialized theory.
> 3. Every question in that game would be a query that could be
> answered by methods similar to Prolog goals or SQL queries.
> 4. Every command in that game could be interpreted as a request
> to start with theory T in the lattice and move by some sequence
> of theory revision operators to another theory T'.
> Jerry Hobbs' examples would correspond to different and incompatible
> theories about roads that would be suitable for different language
> games that involve different ways of treating roads.
> Many of W's remarks illustrate issues that are still open research
> questions, but I believe that the subject matter of the various
> domains could be characterized by theories in the lattice. I would
> handle intentional verbs (hoping, wishing, expecting, etc.) along
> the lines of my laws paper:
> Laws, Facts, and Contexts
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