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Re: [ontac-forum] Semantics (1, 2, and 3), Ontology and Semiotics

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 17:26:29 -0400
Message-id: <447E0A05.5000302@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Chris,    (01)

As usual, I don't have any complaints about the technical
points you made, but I would like to sound a cautionary
note about what they "mean" -- to use an informal notion
of meaning.    (02)

CM> Semantics 3 of course [the meaning of English concepts]
 > says something about meaning, so it is, in my eyes, a genuine
 > notion of semantics, but it is so vague that it is difficult
 > to see how it could be useful.    (03)

I certainly agree that it's vague, but sometimes it's all
we have, and it's the usual starting point for any kind
of planning or formal analysis.  Semantics 2 (a Tarski-
style model) only comes at the *end* of the planning,
never the beginning.    (04)

For example, the executives at Airbus Industries might tell
the engineers to design an airplane that has a much larger
carrying capacity than anything else available.  That is
certainly vague, but it would be pointless for the executives
to specify the details, since that's the job of the engineers.    (05)

Another example:  You're about to cross the street, and
somebody shouts "Look out!"  That's vague, but if they gave
you a precise description of the size and speed of the truck
that was coming, you'd be a road rug before they finished.    (06)

Finally, even if they had a formal model for either of
the above examples, they'd still need to find some way
to translate that mass of detail into Semantics 3 for
the executives or the coroner.    (07)

John    (08)

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