Re: SUO: Maintenance - related issues
> Again, my claim is that you'd end up with, basically, KIF with perhaps a
> superficially friendlier face. Consider:
> (forall (?x)
> (=> (Boy ?x)
> (exists (?y)
> (and (Girl ?y)
> (Kissed ?x ?y)))))
> This translates directly into
> "Every boy kissed a girl."
> But that won't do, right? Did each boy kiss some girl or other, or was
> there some one girl that each kissed? The English is ambiguous where the
> KIF statement is not. So we need:
> "For each boy there is some girl such that he kissed her."
> Things are already starting to sound pretty KIF-y and not very natural
> GH2> What about: "For every boy there is a girl he has kissed."?
I'm of course not saying you can't come up with more natural sounding
renditions. The question is how this can be done in a principled
fashion. Note, for example, that you are using "kissed" in such a way
that, first, it allows the auxilliary "has", and second, the prounoun
referring to the person kissed is deleted. So we need some sort of
explicit grammatical transformation that tells us precisely when such
deletion is permitted. I fear your idea will require a full-blown
transformational grammar of some ilk.
> But matters don't end there. "he" and "she" work in this case because there
> are only two objects involved. But suppose we had instead
> (forall (?x)
> (=> (Boy ?x)
> (exists (?y ?z)
> (and (Girl ?y)
> (Girl ?z)
> (/= ?y ?z)
> (Kissed ?x ?y)
> (Discussed ?z ?x ?y)))))
> What do we do with this? How about:
> "For each boy there are two girls such that he kissed one of them and the
> other discussed him with her."
> Not exactly a lucid rendering. What's needed in order to clarify, of
> course, is some sort of quantificational apparatus with variable binding to
> make clear the meanings of the pronouns in the context, something like:
> "For each boy_1 there is a girl_2 and another distinct girl_3 such
> that he_1 kissed her_2 and she_3 discussed him_1 with her_2."
> And things look KIF-ier still.
> GH2> What about: "For every boy there is a girl he has kissed and
> another girl who has discussed him with her."?
No good; the denotation of "her" is ambiguous between the two girls.
> GH2> Actually, from the KIF text, it seems to me you mean kiss
> and discuss as mutual activities, so what about: "For every boy there is a
> girl with whom he has kissed and another girl with whom she has discussed
Again, the problem is how this could be accomplished in a principled
> Is this the sort of thing you have in mind? If not, you can't express in
> your NL adaptation what can be expressed in KIF. IF so, I'll take KIF.
> Note we can pretty up even the above KIF using sorted quantifiers, as John
> Sowa regularly suggests:
> (forall (?x : (Boy ?x))
> (exists (?y ?z : (Girl ?x) (Girl ?y))
> (and (/= ?y ?z)
> (Kissed ?x ?y)
> (Discussed ?z ?x ?y))))
> I doubt you can improve much on this.
> GH2> Actually, I think the suggestions I gave above aren't all
> that bad, given the nature of what is being expressed. Basically it just
> took a bit of time to get into a suitable mindset to translate these
> expressions into more readable English.
Ditto. Anybody can come up with more readable English. You need a
completely specifiable grammar for generating this more readable
English if you are wanting a useable product.
> GH2> Chris, you may recall it was I who started raising concerns
> about ambiguities in the first place, in the Scope & Purpose. I thought some
> of that was in dialogue with you, and that it was you who put some of my
> concerns to rest. I have discerned a great deal of trouble arises from
> ambiguities and errors, and that's why I'm extremely strong on the need for
> precision and accuracy. That's one of the reasons I see so much potential
> benefit from the proposal I have been putting.
Okey doke, fair enough.
> > I am proposing an SUO that would be far more widely accessible than
> > one intended for society's intellectual elites.
> I would caution against trotting out loaded terms like "elite" in this
> context, as it suggests an intentional hoarding of resources for personal
> power and gain; it would be profoundly unfair to tar anyone with that brush
> without a great deal of evidence.
> GH2> You did say "better freshman students".
So what? "better" means nothing more than those who actually bother
to learn the material. I don't necessarily mean "smarter". I just
mean that they are better in the ways one must be in order to perform
> Also, tertiary
> education is still only taken up by a minority as far as I'm aware.
Nothing follows about elitism.
> It would be great if quantum mechanics and the calculus were more
> widely accessible as well. But it just might be a fact that, like
> these areas of science and mathematics, the content of the SUO will
> not be fully accessible without a certain level of education. If
> so, the charge of elitism does not stick; there is no *intention* to
> construct an SUO only for those who have the requisite background
> education, it's rather that there is simply no *option*. The
> responsible social tack in light of this is not to dumb down the
> knowledge in question (which I believe is all an adaptation will be
> if it is not equivalent to KIF), but to increase accessibility to
> the educational prerequisites needed for understanding it.
> GH2> I think my earlier words, which I have now flagged with:
> "(######)" already address this point. Basically, again as I've said
> before, I believe the 10 to the power of 21 neurones each of us has
> on average represents an enormous amount of potential for ordinary
> people to grasp the principles, so long as we make them readily
> accessible and interpretable.
The number here is meaningless, as we have no clear sense of the
connection between number of neurons and general intellectual
> There are many examples of one-time highly academic principles
> previously the reserve of the cognocente that are now in the
> everyday arena.
I've agreed that it is important to provide the resources needed to
understand the SUO. I just question your approach of faux-English as
being the best resource.
> GH2> Let's flesh out the implications of my alternatives to
> your examples near the top, before we come fully to grips with this
> issue. I remain far more optimistic than your words here would seem
> to allow. I have considerable faith in the benefits in the millennia
> of development underpinning human language. I admit that, there was
> a large step backwards in more recent decades, in the teaching of
> formal grammars, which has in my opinion considerably disadvantaged
> younger people in analysing the structure of language, and its
> logical potentials.
I find this view utterly bizarre, but would always be willing to hear
the argument; I can't begin to imagine what it might be. But you are
right that this is not the proper forum.
Christopher Menzel # web: philebus.tamu.edu/~cmenzel
Philosophy, Texas A&M University # net: email@example.com
College Station, TX 77843-4237 # vox: (979) 845-8764