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

To: Chris Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Cc: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2006 09:29:43 -0400
Message-id: <447EEBC7.1070209@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Chris,    (01)

I don't think this issue is worth a lengthy debate, since
we aren't going to take any kind of action based on it.
But I'll just clarify a few points.    (02)

That's comparing apples to grapefruit:    (03)

 > A good model theory for a language, especially a somewhat
 > complex one like PSL or OWL (or one capable of some cute
 > tricks like Common Logic), provides a very clear picture
 > of the *structure* of the information described by the language.    (04)

First of all, PSL is a collection of axioms stated in some
version of logic, such as KIF or CL.  And OWL is a syntax
for stating some subset of what is expressible in CL.    (05)

The creative work in defining the structures of PSL,
or any such theory, was in the analysis of the informal
concepts of time and process, translating mental models
into diagrams on the blackboard (or whiteboard), thinking
up good mathematical structures for representing those
diagrams, writing axioms that characterize those structures,
and testing their usefulness by applying them to a wide
range of practical examples.  That's where all the real
"meaning" lies.    (06)

The mechanical process of turning the crank to pop out
denotation "T" for each axiom is an important exercise
to ensure that the loose ends have been tidied up.
But that is the tiniest and least creative part of
the job.    (07)

 > Well, blame is appropriate if their ignorance is culpable.    (08)

Hao Wang is certainly not ignorant of logic, model theory,
etc.  I highly recommend his book, _Beyond Analytic Philosophy_.    (09)

 > But to castigate model theory on those grounds is to miss the
 > point badly.    (010)

Neither I nor Wang ever castigated model theory.  That would be
like castigating the plus sign because it's trivial compared to
a logarithm.  The point I was making is that model theory is
a necessary part of the formalism, but it's trivial compared
to the amount of work that has to be done in analyzing the
subject matter and writing the axioms.    (011)

John    (012)

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