Re: Guessing?

From: JOG <>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 08:30:17 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <>

On Jul 11, 3:30 pm, "Brian Selzer" <> wrote:
> [Snip]
> >> To be sure, Wittgenstein argues that words have meaning, and they do,
> > No, he clarifies his everyday use of the term "have" by specifying
> > that he is positing that meaning is "correlated" to a word - that
> > meaning is conferred /upon/ words.
> That's not how I read it, but it's not worth fighting about.

I hope you can take my word for it for now then. Wittgenstein goes on from this basis to conclude that meaning and knowledge cannot be encoded in any formal representation (i.e. first order logic, hence absolutely recanting much of the work he did with russell in his youth). This is a very important conclusion for databases as they contain formal representations by definition. Dreyfus echoed this but was widely ignored in the "AI winter" of expert systems and descriptive models.

> >> but not until it has been assigned under an interpretation.
> > Yes exactly as I said. Take the word, isolate the context in which it
> > has appeared, and then interpret it. Meaning is the end result. It is
> > not there at the start, and every stage of the process must occur for
> > it to come into being.
> Not exactly what you said: you were speaking of /values/ not words. There
> is a difference. A value is what a symbol or collection of symbols stands
> for. It is the object in the universe that under an interpretation the
> symbol maps to. It is what is meant.
> >> Nevertheless, the object that a symbol maps to is the value correlated
> >> with
> >> that symbol, and is per Wittgenstein, what is meant.
> > Your argument is tying itself in knots. If you are equating values =
> > real-world objects (which is a new one I have to say), then you are
> > forced to conclude that a database, not containing real-world objects,
> > therefore contains no values. This is of course madness.
> Not necessarily real-world objects, but those in the universe of
> discourse--whatever that happens to be.
> Isn't it true that the following all represent the same value: four, IV, 4?
> So here we have different symbols and combinations of symbols that map to
> the same object in the universe--the same value; so here we have different
> symbols and combinations of symbols that under an interpretation mean the
> same thing.
> It is not madness: A value is not a symbol. It is an output of the function
> that maps symbols and combinations of symbols to objects in the universe. A
> database contains symbols and combinations of symbols that only under an
> interpretation have values, but since there should always be an intended
> interpretation, a database should always contain symbols and combinations of
> symbols that have values. So it is imprecise, though understandable, to say
> that a database contains values.
> It is important to keep separate symbol from value--representation from
> meaning--because what is represented in a database can mean different things
> at different times. A database is just a proposition, and under an
> interpretation that proposition is assigned a truth value, and as part of
> that assignment, every symbol and combination of symbols in that proposition
> is instantaneously correlated with an object in the universe and thus is
> assigned a value.
> [snip]
Received on Fri Jul 11 2008 - 17:30:17 CEST

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