Re: On the definition of "ontology" (Pat Hayes)
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Date: Thu, 5 Oct 1995 16:28:05 -0600
To: Don Dwiggins <>,
From: (Pat Hayes)
Subject: Re: On the definition of "ontology"
Cc: Paul van der Vet <>,,
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At  2:57 AM 10/5/95 -0400, Don Dwiggins wrote:
>   This raises an interesting issue (which may be getting too philosphical for
>   skrb, but here goes anyway.) What one 'has in mind' is presumably expressed
>   there in some mental representation. Now, how do we know that this
>   mentalese representation in fact has unique models? All the lessons of
>   logic would suggest that it usually doesn't; that usually there will be
>   nonstandard models of our thoughts. (This will almost certainly be true,
>   for example, if theoremhood in our mentalese is RE and it is given a
>   semantics which reflects this accurately.) 
>It seems to me that you're making a great leap of faith here by assuming
>that terms like formal models, theoremhood, and RE can be meaningfully
>applied to a mental representation.  Of course, since we have wonderful
>tools like logic, it's tempting to apply them wherever we can, but one can
>become like the man with a hammer.

I agree; but AI and cognitive science often does make this leap of faith
(that human thinking is inference in some kind of LangofThought). I wonder
if people who do this (and I'll count myself as one of them) have faced up
to some of the odd consequences that seem to follow. But if this account of
thinking is somehow basically flawed, then I agree its irrelevant.


PS What man with the hammer?

PPS. It seems OK to apply concepts of computablity to thoughts, doesnt it?
What objection could there be?

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