Re: Interoperability and Vagueness
I believe that theories about emergent syntax and
related topics, such as your discussions of the ad-hoc
nature of syntax, are on the right track. But there
is an enormous amount of work necessary to fill in
the details about how that ad-hoc syntax relates to
whatever it is that happens when people "understand"
a sentence, paragraph, or any discourse of any kind.
> Rather than wade in and critique your model for
> subjective (yes?) meaning described in terms of sets,
> lattices, and logic, chapter by chapter, can I ask
> what faults you find with my model of meaning as
> perspective, especially that associated with the
> ad-hoc structure of syntax.
I would first ask how your theory or anything similar
would handle the "Grand Challenge" proposal that I
submitted to DARPA, along with a couple of colleagues:
Following is the short summary of the problem:
The task we suggested is one that nearly every two-year-old
child solves: the problem of learning to integrate visual,
tactile, and motor information with language. To evaluate
progress on this task, we proposed that any AI research
group that wished to respond to the challenge be given a
collection of binocular pictures, still or moving, together
with some natural-language questions about those pictures.
Any AI system they develop would be asked to determine which
pictures could answer any of the questions and to state those
The lattice of theories is not intended to model the cognitive
processes directly, but to provide a theoretical framework that
could be related to both NLP systems and computational systems.
It is compatible with a theory of ad-hoc syntax, such as yours,
or with a theory of formal rules, such as the ones that Chomsky
and others have proposed.
But I believe that a major challenge -- for you, me, Chomsky,
or anyone else who claims to have a cognitively realistic theory
-- is to show how it could be used to solve the "Grand Challenge"
problem presented in our proposal. I have some thoughts about
that, but any such thoughts would have to be elaborated and
tested before they could be considered a serious theory.