The Quandary of xorlo

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Posted by pycyn on Mon 24 of Jan., 2005 17:17 GMT posts: 2388

Interesting. Actually trying to work within misterism -- rather than sniping at it for being non-traditional, etc. — explains many things that seemed just arbitrary before. For a big example, the change in the meaning of {lo PA broda} and hence of {PA1 lo PA2 broda} seems just to satisfy a whim. But, if {lo broda} stands for Broda (brodakind, Mr. Broda, whatever) then PA2 could — in the tradition only be the size of the whole of set of broda, a meaning alreaady shown to be pretty well useless. The useful notion is the size of some subset of broda, whose members .... . But that is not directly available in this new notion, which does not consider the progeny of Mr. Broda quantitatively. But the same result can be achieved by going after Mr. PA-Broda, the parent of all bunches (or whatever word you want here) of PA broda including especially any of current concern. Of course, we are usually interested in a particular one and {lo PA broda} allows for more than one such bunch, but that is usually handled (as it has always been) by context. Going from there, [PA1 lo PA2 broda} will of course be PA1 bunches of PA2 broda, quantifying over the things whose parent lo PA broda is — just as {PA lo broda} does.

I am not sure about this, but it seems that the way that a predicate, {brode}, say, usually applies to {lo broda} is that Broda intersects Brode in such a way that the corresponding sets have members in common. The intersections are member by member, that is each broda involved is a brode: disjunctive distribution, for a phrase (which looks at the brodas rather than Broda, but I am not so deep into this that I can find suitable words here — the point being that the intersection need not be specified in terms of members). Presumably, {loi broda} also refers to Broda but now the predication is by bunches, not individuals, disjunctive collection. When we get down to individuals — typically by quantification — the collective/distributive distinction has to be made in some other way, which we still lack (but then this problem is in traditional Lojban as well outside of descriptions — and in them, in the defining phrases), so there is no loss here.

>From the point of view of Lojban ontology, the question floats around whether Broda, as a separate sort of thing, needs to be used. That it does seems to arise out of the problem with intersections or overlays or however it is put. If Broda were simply a set or a bunch, intersections would have pretty clearly to be defined member by member (set intersection or encompassing work that way) and that would screw up the use of {lo broda} — the reference to Broda — in "opaque contexts". It would be nice, if we are to use Broda, to have some better idea of its nature (axioms, say, or at least a number of truths, even if not guaranteed sufficient to characterize things completely). We know (I think) that {suo broda cu brode} implies {lo broda cu brode} and that the converse does not quite work (those "opaque contexts" again at least). But surely there are more things of this sort to have laid out all in one place.

It would also be useful to work out the various kinds of predications and which need to be marked in what contexts (and get the marks for them, of course). In connection with that, the exact nature of general claims, for which {lo broda} seems a natural expression. Actually, given {lo broda} the problem is more to give explicit expression to non-general forms, though this may be handled by restricting to {lovi broda}, say or by the modal parallel of {su'anai}. With expressions other than {lo} and quantified expressions (i.e., with the {le} and {la} series and pronouns), predication must be assumed to be either individual or, in any case, non-disjunctive. This is probably also true for restricted {lo}. That being said, only individual, distributive and collective need marking, as disjunctive can be assumed where it might apply. And, of course, one of these could also go unmarked, even in precise speaking, as the default form (individual — but that is relatively rarer? — or distributive). All of these — and something in the general/specific area — are needed also in the traditionalk language.

Since Broda has to exist in every world, whether or not there are brodas in that world (else {mi nitcu X} fails when there are no Xs), care needs to be taken in the predications to be sure that they are always drawing on the right set of instances (or whatever): We don't want {lo pavyseljirna cu blabi} to be true in a world where there are not unicorns, at least not for other than definitional purposes (and that might be better handled with some other expression).

Since Broda now appears to be formally indistinguishable from brodaness ({lo broda}as an individual from {le ka ce'u broda}), the objection that xorlo involves an expansion of the Lojban ontology no longer holds: with suitable tickling of the interpretation of disjunctive predication (for loci rather than chunks) we can make do with the traditional ontology (which is, Lord knows, already bloated enough for a metaphysically neutral — yeah, right! — language).

So there is no killer objection to xorlo. There are any number of objections to the way in which it has been presented over the years and especially in the official proposal. But these are excusable as partly due to the fact that some of the terminology and distinctions have only recently become available and partly to the inherent difficulty in laying out the system in the way it seems to have been conceptualized because of the discussions which led up to it.

What is left is just that the system is a radical departure from what seems to have been the pattern of Loglan-Lojban for its first half-century and that the change has been for little practical purpose and even involves some loss (for us logicians at least) even greater than those that fell out in the shift from Loglan to Lojban (the basic comparative nature of many adjectives, for example). As noted elsewhere, the pattern similarlities of {lo} and {le} are broken, after having been reinserted only a few years ago. And the zipfiness of some descriptions has been diminished slightly. These have been accompanied by no obvious gains and, indeed, with the loss of the old foundation of expressions in the cases rather than the abstract generalities. We have gained the legitimization of the move from {mi nitcu lo broda} to {lo broda zo'u mi nitcu by} but this does not seem to be much of an achievement: we already had the move from the old form, {mi nitcu tu'a lo broda} to {su'o da zo'u mi nitcu da} and the present system does not allow — any more than the previous did — the move to {da poi broda zo'u mi nitcu da}. Nor are any of these moves available for {le broda} or {la Brod} in the present system any more than the old. And, of course, in the old system we could get {tu'a lo broda zo'u mi nitcu by} anyhow. In addition to which, the new system leaves places where these peculiar restrictions apply unmarked in use, tempting one to try in opaque (well, at least still very cloudy) places these inferences which work in non-opaque places. I take this to be a net loss (or it would be if people had used the correct forms in the old days: what they use is now correct but misleading whereas the old forms were simply incorrect).

Let's see. What else is claimed as an advantage for this system? It makes generalities easier to say even in careful usage. But, of course, it makes particularities correspondingly more difficult to say in careful usage. And, I suspect, we deal more with particularities than generalities.

The metaphysics involved is, of course, dispensable. It was never the schemes most favorable point, being generally muddled by trying too many different explanations at once rather than separating out various interpretations or, better still, laying out what happens and leaving the nature of the things that make them happen open (there seem to be at least two stories and more than likely four about what lo broda is individually but they have at most heuristic value — and some of them damned little of that).

In sum, while xorlo is apparently a feasible system and one that does not depend upon some shaky metaphysics of one sort or another, it changes a number of things for no real reason at all. A couple of barely visible changes in what can be done better comes at the cost of losing a fairly significant distrinction and doing some minor screwing around with Zipf's law. I just don't yet see how the game is worth the candle here — aside, fo course, from legitimating a major part of the available. And even that must deviate in only very minor — and virtually automatically correctable — ways (assuming that the shifts here cover all the deviance).

Posted by Anonymous on Tue 18 of Jan., 2005 14:46 GMT

pc: > Let me lay out my quandary. > For all I know, xorlo may be a highly desirable > way to transform Lojban. It may solve many known > or previously unknown problems in earlier Lojban > and do so without introducing any new problems of > its own. It may make Lojban as a language for > use much smoother and moore elegant and > transparent (and whatever other virtues you want > here). For all I know. > But all I know is what I read here (together with > some recollections of discussions stretching back > through several years). I have asked for more, > making explicit requests, asking particular > questions. But I have not received answers -- > often none at all, occssionally inadequate ones > that merely raised more questions. > So what I am left with is what emerges here > willy-nilly. And that comes down at the moment > to a small number of points: > 1) It is in xorlo easier to say "two groups of > three broda each" and harder to say "two of the > three broda," though the latter appears to be > the more common expression and the former had a > transparent expression before — and of Zipfily > appropriate size.

"two groups of three broda each" would in xorlo be "re loi ci broda".

"two of the three broda" would in xorlo be "re lo ci broda" or "re le ci broda" (depending on how to read your "the").

So I think your concern here is not warranted.

> 2) In xorlo the marking of opaque contexts is no > longer obligatory as it was in older Lojban (at > the risk of misspeaking). Whether this amounts > to saying that there are no opaque contexts (as > sometimes appears) or that we can tell which is > meant from context with such a high level of > success that the extra fillip is unnecessary is > unclear. The first is clearly false; the second > seems to be so, given how frequent the errors > were when the marking was required.

Up to the time when I tuned out, there was no satisfactory treatment of opaque contexts. I think it would be better to discuss xorlo's treatment of opacity in the context of specific examples, but I think "lo broda" in contrast to "su'o broda" handles most opaque:transparent contrasts (subject to your third concern).

> 3) To make xorlo a coherent system requires Mr. > Potato-head or some equivalent — to bridge the > gap between opaque and transparent contexts if > nothing else. But just what Mr. PH is or how it > works is not clear in the beginning and has not > been clarified since. We are just assure that it > does work the way required. But there are two > thoudnad years and more of philosophy and logic > on the side that nothing does all this. To be > sure, in most places what is said about Mr. PH > fit known structures: batches, mereological sums, > species — but there is always a further step > they cannot follow but that, we are told, Mr.H > does.

"lo broda" refers to whatever the speaker chooses (subject to the requirement that it has the property of brodahood), so it's up to the speaker whether it can refer to Mr Broda. But it is true that any speaker who doesn't like the notion of Mr Broda is going to have to find alternative ways of expressing opaque sumti. But (a) some speakers definitely are happy to refer to Mr Broda (-- I am one of them...), and (b) those other ways of expressing opaque sumti (e.g. your suggestion of using a propositional sumti of an appropriately defined selbri) are still going to be available.

> 4) On the side of elegance, all that has > apperared so are a) that we don't need to worry > about opaque contexts any more (which is nice > because many of us never did get them right) and > b) that a mass of improper Lojban (perhaps the > greater part of what we have that has any claim > to be Lojban) is proper xorlo. b is clearly the > best argument so far for xorlo but does not seem > to me to be enough, especially for something that > calls itself a logical language (even if in a > very restricted way). > So, once again, will someone please lead me out > of this quandary onto the side of xorlo, or, if > that is impossible because the objections here > are true, fix xorlo in some minimal way to avoid > the objections.

Does my response help at all?

--And.

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Posted by pycyn on Tue 18 of Jan., 2005 14:46 GMT posts: 2388

> pc: > > Let me lay out my quandary. > > For all I know, xorlo may be a highly > desirable > > way to transform Lojban. It may solve many > known > > or previously unknown problems in earlier > Lojban > > and do so without introducing any new > problems of > > its own. It may make Lojban as a language > for > > use much smoother and moore elegant and > > transparent (and whatever other virtues you > want > > here). For all I know. > > But all I know is what I read here (together > with > > some recollections of discussions stretching > back > > through several years). I have asked for > more, > > making explicit requests, asking particular > > questions. But I have not received answers > -- > > often none at all, occssionally inadequate > ones > > that merely raised more questions. > > So what I am left with is what emerges here > > willy-nilly. And that comes down at the > moment > > to a small number of points: > > 1) It is in xorlo easier to say "two groups > of > > three broda each" and harder to say "two of > the > > three broda," though the latter appears to > be > > the more common expression and the former had > a > > transparent expression before — and of > Zipfily > > appropriate size. > > "two groups of three broda each" would in xorlo > be "re loi ci broda". > > "two of the three broda" would in xorlo be "re > lo > ci broda" or "re le ci broda" (depending on how > to read your "the"). > > So I think your concern here is not warranted.

Interesting. I have to check to see whether it has changed back in the last week. Last week, two groups of three brodas was {re lo ci broda}.

> > 2) In xorlo the marking of opaque contexts is > no > > longer obligatory as it was in older Lojban > (at > > the risk of misspeaking). Whether this > amounts > > to saying that there are no opaque contexts > (as > > sometimes appears) or that we can tell which > is > > meant from context with such a high level of > > success that the extra fillip is unnecessary > is > > unclear. The first is clearly false; the > second > > seems to be so, given how frequent the errors > > were when the marking was required. > > Up to the time when I tuned out, there was no > satisfactory treatment of opaque contexts. I > think it would be better to discuss xorlo's > treatment of opacity in the context of specific > examples, but I think "lo broda" in contrast > to "su'o broda" handles most opaque:transparent > contrasts (subject to your third concern).

Well, that is not clear from the texts so far and would certainly not be true in older Lojvban, so one would expect some clear statement of the change. Of course, since the main pr0oblem ultimately is "What does {lo broda} mean?" this would seem to be case of the sort discussed later -- that {lo broda} does not have any fixed meaning but can shift around at someone's convenience.

> > 3) To make xorlo a coherent system requires > Mr. > > Potato-head or some equivalent — to bridge > the > > gap between opaque and transparent contexts > if > > nothing else. But just what Mr. PH is or how > it > > works is not clear in the beginning and has > not > > been clarified since. We are just assure > that it > > does work the way required. But there are two > > thoudnad years and more of philosophy and > logic > > on the side that nothing does all this. To > be > > sure, in most places what is said about Mr. > PH > > fit known structures: batches, mereological > sums, > > species — but there is always a further step > > they cannot follow but that, we are told, > Mr.H > > does. > > "lo broda" refers to whatever the speaker > chooses > (subject to the requirement that it has the > property of brodahood), so it's up to the > speaker > whether it can refer to Mr Broda. But it is > true > that any speaker who doesn't like the notion of > Mr > Broda is going to have to find alternative ways > of > expressing opaque sumti. But (a) some speakers > definitely are happy to refer to Mr Broda (-- I > am one of them...), and (b) those other ways of > > expressing opaque sumti (e.g. your suggestion > of > using a propositional sumti of an appropriately > > defined selbri) are still going to be > available.


Well, I am glad they are available, but that doesn't help with the fact that they are not obligatory, which is what is needed here -- unless Mr. Potato Head or its equivalents can be specified. I think the "{lo broda} can mean whatever the speaker wants as long as it is a broda" is very telling — this means that communication — except among telepaths -- becomes a much more risky business than it ordinarily is, even if the speaker sticks to the same meaning for several sentences (which, in the opaque cases he usually does not). iIncidentally, in any useful sense of Mr. Broda, it is not a broda. If it is, then it clearly cannot solve the opaque "problem" — which is a problem only for those who do not — for as yet unspecified reasons — laziness or ignorance aside.

> > 4) On the side of elegance, all that has > > apperared so are a) that we don't need to > worry > > about opaque contexts any more (which is nice > > because many of us never did get them right) > and > > b) that a mass of improper Lojban (perhaps > the > > greater part of what we have that has any > claim > > to be Lojban) is proper xorlo. b is clearly > the > > best argument so far for xorlo but does not > seem > > to me to be enough, especially for something > that > > calls itself a logical language (even if in a > > very restricted way). > > So, once again, will someone please lead me > out > > of this quandary onto the side of xorlo, or, > if > > that is impossible because the objections > here > > are true, fix xorlo in some minimal way to > avoid > > the objections. >

Yes; it comnfirms that my worries about the situation are well placed.

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Posted by Anonymous on Wed 19 of Jan., 2005 13:25 GMT

pc: > Of course, since the main pr0oblem > ultimately is "What does {lo broda} mean?" this > would seem to be case of the sort discussed later > — that {lo broda} does not have any fixed > meaning but can shift around at someone's > convenience. > > > "lo broda" refers to whatever the speaker > > chooses > > (subject to the requirement that it has the > > property of brodahood), so it's up to the > > speaker > > whether it can refer to Mr Broda. But it is > > true > > that any speaker who doesn't like the notion of > > Mr > > Broda is going to have to find alternative ways > > of > > expressing opaque sumti. But (a) some speakers > > definitely are happy to refer to Mr Broda (-- I > > am one of them...), and (b) those other ways of > > > > expressing opaque sumti (e.g. your suggestion > > of > > using a propositional sumti of an appropriately > > > > defined selbri) are still going to be > > available. > > > Well, I am glad they are available, but that > doesn't help with the fact that they are not > obligatory, which is what is needed here -- > unless Mr. Potato Head or its equivalents can be > specified. I think the "{lo broda} can mean > whatever the speaker wants as long as it is a > broda" is very telling — this means that > communication — except among telepaths -- > becomes a much more risky business than it > ordinarily is, even if the speaker sticks to the > same meaning for several sentences (which, in the > opaque cases he usually does not).

1. One might see "I went to the doctor today", "Go to the toilet/bathroom", "I get the bus to work" as involving Mr Doctor, Mr Toilet, Mr Bus. They are all generics, and appear not to involve quantification or referential specificity. To me, "I need a doctor" and "I need the doctor" mean the same ("I need medical attention"). And "the doctor" in "I need the doctor" seems the same as in "Have you gone to the doctor about this problem?". Thus it seems that a satisfactory way of expressing genericity will also yield a satisfactory way of expressing opaque sumti.

2. The claim is not that {lo broda} can *mean* whatever the speaker wants it to, but rather that it can (because of its genericity) *refer* to whatever whatever broda the speaker wants it to. Consider English mass nouns like "water" or "gold" — any bit of gold can be referred to as "gold".

> iIncidentally, in any useful sense of Mr. Broda, > it is not a broda. If it is, then it clearly > cannot solve the opaque "problem"

"Mr Broda is broda", "lo broda cu broda" are true. Just like "Mr Pycyn has the property of pycynhood" is.

I think it does solve the opaque problem: see (1) above.

--And.

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Posted by pycyn on Wed 19 of Jan., 2005 15:46 GMT posts: 2388

> pc: > > Of course, since the main pr0oblem > > ultimately is "What does {lo broda} mean?" > this > > would seem to be case of the sort discussed > later > > — that {lo broda} does not have any fixed > > meaning but can shift around at someone's > > convenience. > > > > > "lo broda" refers to whatever the speaker > > > chooses > > > (subject to the requirement that it has the > > > property of brodahood), so it's up to the > > > speaker > > > whether it can refer to Mr Broda. But it is > > > true > > > that any speaker who doesn't like the > notion of > > > Mr > > > Broda is going to have to find alternative > ways > > > of > > > expressing opaque sumti. But (a) some > speakers > > > definitely are happy to refer to Mr Broda > (-- I > > > am one of them...), and (b) those other > ways of > > > > > > expressing opaque sumti (e.g. your > suggestion > > > of > > > using a propositional sumti of an > appropriately > > > > > > defined selbri) are still going to be > > > available. > > > > > > Well, I am glad they are available, but that > > doesn't help with the fact that they are not > > obligatory, which is what is needed here -- > > unless Mr. Potato Head or its equivalents > can be > > specified. I think the "{lo broda} can mean > > whatever the speaker wants as long as it is a > > broda" is very telling — this means that > > communication — except among telepaths -- > > becomes a much more risky business than it > > ordinarily is, even if the speaker sticks to > the > > same meaning for several sentences (which, in > the > > opaque cases he usually does not). > > 1. One might see "I went to the doctor today", > "Go > to the toilet/bathroom", "I get the bus to > work" as > involving Mr Doctor, Mr Toilet, Mr Bus. They > are > all generics, and appear not to involve > quantification > or referential specificity. To me, "I need a > doctor" > and "I need the doctor" mean the same ("I need > medical > attention"). And "the doctor" in "I need the > doctor" > seems the same as in "Have you gone to the > doctor about > this problem?". Thus it seems that a > satisfactory way > of expressing genericity will also yield a > satisfactory > way of expressing opaque sumti.

Well, it is not clear that "I went to the doctor today" — presumably a particular identifiable doctor and one that the hearer can identify at least in some small way — or "Go to the bathroom" — whatever one is available most relatively near, and so on — are not generic at all. "I get the bus" is more nearly generic in that the bus token may be different on each day though the bus type is the same or pretty much so (Lojban — and english — is lousy on token-type ambiguity) "I need the doctor" seems to me also to be specific to the extent of implicating that there is one designated in the common environment. But, if there is not, if it means essentially the same as "I need a doctor," then I don't see what the point is here, for this is not a generic reference in any so far expounded sense of "generic" (and I have been trying to get someone to explain that "generic reference" in the first definition of {lo} since that page first appeared). And, insofar as I can get clear statements of what happens, the Dr. Dr. reading simply will not help: I don't need Dr. Dr. but a real doctor and Dr. Dr. is not even a doctor, let alone the one I need (Thinking it is a doctor seems to come from the fact that "lo mikce cu mikce" is almost a tautolgy — failing only if there are no mikce and perhaps when what is selected to be called {lo mikce} doesn't happen to be a mikce. But {lo mikce cu mikce} is true only for distributive predication (well, maybe disjunctive) and what is needed to make Dr.Dr. be a doctor in the appropriate sense is individual predication, which does not hold. Of course, even if it did hold, the opacity problem wpould not be solved, for I do not need Dr. Dr., who, if a doctor, is one of the doctor in the domain, none of which is needed — since another would do as well.)

> 2. The claim is not that {lo broda} can *mean* > whatever > the speaker wants it to, but rather that it can > (because > of its genericity) *refer* to whatever whatever > broda > the speaker wants it to. Consider English mass > nouns > like "water" or "gold" — any bit of gold can > be > referred to as "gold".

The analogy escapes me. Referring to a single object as "gold" is to identify it by its substance, not to identify it as that substance tout court. Doctors are presumably not made of Dr. Dr.; if anything, Dr. Dr. is made of them. Note that genericity — asexemplified by mass nouns at least — doesn't help with opacity: "I need gold" has the same problems as "I need a doctor:" there is no gold that I need because some other would do as well nor do I need all the gold there is (or ever will have been or might possibly be). That is, "gold" in that context refers even less than it does in other contexts.

> > iIncidentally, in any useful sense of Mr. > Broda, > > it is not a broda. If it is, then it clearly > > cannot solve the opaque "problem" > > "Mr Broda is broda", "lo broda cu broda" are > true. > Just like "Mr Pycyn has the property of > pycynhood" is.

See above. It is just playing two side of an ambiguity — one in which it does what you want and one in whihc it is true.

> I think it does solve the opaque problem: see > (1) above.

I don't even see that it solves the (usual) generic problems. 1) certainly doesn't point in that direction.

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Posted by Anonymous on Thu 20 of Jan., 2005 01:39 GMT

pc:

> --- And Rosta .rosta@v21.me.uk

Posted by pycyn on Thu 20 of Jan., 2005 01:40 GMT posts: 2388

> pc:

> > --- And Rosta .rosta@v21.me.uk

Posted by Anonymous on Fri 21 of Jan., 2005 05:24 GMT

I can't really afford the time for this, so may have to withdraw from the discussion soon.

pc:

> --- And Rosta .rosta@v21.me.uk

Posted by pycyn on Fri 21 of Jan., 2005 05:24 GMT posts: 2388

> I can't really afford the time for this, so may > have to > withdraw from the discussion soon. > > pc:

> > --- And Rosta .rosta@v21.me.uk

Posted by pycyn on Fri 21 of Jan., 2005 05:24 GMT posts: 2388

indeed, I believe names are mass > nouns). > The point was that when you consider the normal > behaviour of English mass nouns, the behaviour > of Mr Broda seems less odd. > > --And.

Gee, I was taught at one time or another that names were logical constants or descriptions or quantifiers. I suppose mass nouns will do as well, the bits being spatio-temporal slabs, I suppose. Let's see how names and Dr. Dr. compare to paradigm mass nouns. Well, names are like mass nouns in thet the mass is prior to the slices metaphysically; Dr. Dr. however is derivative from the individual doctors (which I suppose are the bits here). Dr. Dr. and names agree in restricting the shapes of bits: presumably a blendreized joint practice is not a bit of Dr. Dr. ; bits have to be humanoid in a broad geometrical way. Names are strange in that the bits have all to be part of the same spatio-temporal continuity (or maybe causal to get Buddhist in); some bit not connected to others in such a continuity is not a bit of the named (well, there is resurrection but problems about mass nouns is the least of its troubles). Dr. Dr. bits can be disconnected cmpletely (and, indeed, typically are) as are paradigm masses. All of this is, of course, of little relevance to Lojban, which lacks any native mass expressions. You can build them up but they always look phoney, since the masses are so clearly etymologically built up of the "bits" — Dr. Dr.'s problem again. Analogies from paradigm masses to either names or Dr. Dr. are going to be pretty weak and in need of some pressing consideration to work. For Lojban they will be useless, since no pressing consideration can arise in that ontology.

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Posted by Anonymous on Sat 22 of Jan., 2005 07:16 GMT

> > indeed, I believe names are mass > > nouns). > > The point was that when you consider the normal > > behaviour of English mass nouns, the behaviour > > of Mr Broda seems less odd. > > > > --And. > > Gee, I was taught at one time or another that > names were logical constants or descriptions or > quantifiers. I suppose mass nouns will do as > well, the bits being spatio-temporal slabs, I > suppose.

I think mass nouns are logical constants. And constants can be treated as quantifiers. So no contradictions here.

> Let's see how names and Dr. Dr. compare > to paradigm mass nouns. Well, names are like > mass nouns in thet the mass is prior to the > slices metaphysically; Dr. Dr. however is > derivative from the individual doctors (which I > suppose are the bits here).

Yes. But the prior/derivative distinction is a matter of one's personal ontology. I can easily see why you see names & masses as prior & Dr Dr as derivative, but I can't see why one can't see Dr Dr as equally prior.

> Dr. Dr. and names > agree in restricting the shapes of bits: > presumably a blendreized joint practice is not a > bit of Dr. Dr. ; bits have to be humanoid in a > broad geometrical way. Names are strange in that > the bits have all to be part of the same > spatio-temporal continuity (or maybe causal to > get Buddhist in); some bit not connected to > others in such a continuity is not a bit of the > named (well, there is resurrection but problems > about mass nouns is the least of its troubles).

This is only a tendency. E.g. some nations are discontinuous spatially (e.g. Russia) or temporally (e.g. Poland).

> Dr. Dr. bits can be disconnected cmpletely (and, > indeed, typically are) as are paradigm masses. > All of this is, of course, of little relevance to > Lojban, which lacks any native mass expressions. > You can build them up but they always look > phoney, since the masses are so clearly > etymologically built up of the "bits" — Dr. > Dr.'s problem again. Analogies from paradigm > masses to either names or Dr. Dr. are going to be > pretty weak and in need of some pressing > consideration to work. For Lojban they will be > useless, since no pressing consideration can > arise in that ontology.

At least you seem to grasp the point I was making.

--And.

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Posted by Anonymous on Sat 22 of Jan., 2005 07:16 GMT

pc:

> --- And Rosta .rosta@v21.me.uk

Posted by stevo on Sat 22 of Jan., 2005 07:16 GMT posts: 381

In a message dated 2005-01-21 7:34:06 AM Eastern Standard Time, a.rosta@v21.me.uk writes:


> . E.g. some nations are > discontinuous spatially (e.g. Russia)

While there are countries that are discontinuous spatially (USA comes to mind), how is Russia discontinuous? Unless you mean minor islands, although I guess Sakhalin Island isn't so minor. Did you have something else in mind though?

stevo

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Posted by Anonymous on Sat 22 of Jan., 2005 07:16 GMT

Kaliningrad. To get to Kaliningrad by land from the rest of Russia, you have to pass through Latvia or Belarus and then through Lithuania or Poland.

--- Original Message --- From: To: Sent: Friday, January 21, 2005 1:01 PM Subject: WikiDiscuss Re: The Quandary about xorlo


> In a message dated 2005-01-21 7:34:06 AM Eastern Standard Time, > a.rosta@v21.me.uk writes: > > > > . E.g. some nations are > > discontinuous spatially (e.g. Russia) > > While there are countries that are discontinuous spatially (USA comes to > mind), how is Russia discontinuous? Unless you mean minor islands, although I > guess Sakhalin Island isn't so minor. Did you have something else in mind though? > > stevo > > >

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Posted by Anonymous on Sat 22 of Jan., 2005 07:16 GMT

MorphemeAddict@wmconnect.com scripsit:

> While there are countries that are discontinuous spatially (USA comes to > mind), how is Russia discontinuous? Unless you mean minor islands, although I > guess Sakhalin Island isn't so minor. Did you have something else in mind though?

Kaliningrad.

A better example is Pakistan between 1947 and 1971.

-- John Cowan jcowan@reutershealth.com www.ccil.org/~cowan www.reutershealth.com Linguistics is arguably the most hotly contested property in the academic realm. It is soaked with the blood of poets, theologians, philosophers, philologists, psychologists, biologists and neurologists, along with whatever blood can be got out of grammarians. - Russ Rymer

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Posted by pycyn on Sat 22 of Jan., 2005 07:17 GMT posts: 2388

> > > indeed, I believe names are mass > > > nouns). > > > The point was that when you consider the > normal > > > behaviour of English mass nouns, the > behaviour > > > of Mr Broda seems less odd. > > > > > > --And. > > > > Gee, I was taught at one time or another that > > names were logical constants or descriptions > or > > quantifiers. I suppose mass nouns will do as > > well, the bits being spatio-temporal slabs, I > > suppose. > > I think mass nouns are logical constants. And > constants can be treated as quantifiers. So no > contradictions here.

Well, logical constants tend to refer to single individuals, so this move would a) make a part of the case for Mr. Whatsis and b) therefore bbe highly suspect. The second step is not so problemat, though xorxes seems to have trouble with it.

> > Let's see how names and Dr. Dr. compare > > to paradigm mass nouns. Well, names are like > > mass nouns in thet the mass is prior to the > > slices metaphysically; Dr. Dr. however is > > derivative from the individual doctors (which > I > > suppose are the bits here). > > Yes. But the prior/derivative distinction is a > matter of one's personal ontology. I can easily > see why you see names & masses as prior & > Dr Dr as derivative, but I can't see why one > can't see Dr Dr as equally prior.

Well, I suppose that there cannot be Dr. Dr. without doctors but there could (logically — and I think actually) be doctors without Dr. Dr.. Of course, since the two come into being simultaneously (and perhaps logically so) this is a hard point to firm up.

> > Dr. Dr. and names > > agree in restricting the shapes of bits: > > presumably a blendreized joint practice is > not a > > bit of Dr. Dr. ; bits have to be humanoid in > a > > broad geometrical way. Names are strange in > that > > the bits have all to be part of the same > > spatio-temporal continuity (or maybe causal > to > > get Buddhist in); some bit not connected to > > others in such a continuity is not a bit of > the > > named (well, there is resurrection but > problems > > about mass nouns is the least of its > troubles). > > This is only a tendency. E.g. some nations are > discontinuous spatially (e.g. Russia) or > temporally > (e.g. Poland).

The case of Poland — and several others — is a hard one. Is the post-WWI Poland the preNapoleonic Poland. It is the resurrection problem again, although here we do have a continuity of (at least some) territory and gene pool, language and so on. It's a toss-up, I would say. But in any case, notice what strange entities the exceptions are: they are entirely conventional, generally having no non-conventional correlates (there are probably some countries that have only natural borders -- rivers, lakes, oceans and mountains, but even then, the fact that those barriers are boundaries is only a convention). I don't want to limit matters to "natural" objects, but I think the peculiarity is worth noting. The case for proper names generally is also woth mentioning.

> > Dr. Dr. bits can be disconnected cmpletely > (and, > > indeed, typically are) as are paradigm > masses. > > All of this is, of course, of little > relevance to > > Lojban, which lacks any native mass > expressions. > > You can build them up but they always look > > phoney, since the masses are so clearly > > etymologically built up of the "bits" — Dr. > > Dr.'s problem again. Analogies from paradigm > > masses to either names or Dr. Dr. are going > to be > > pretty weak and in need of some pressing > > consideration to work. For Lojban they will > be > > useless, since no pressing consideration can > > arise in that ontology. > > At least you seem to grasp the point I was > making.

I need a sphube: mi nitcu lo sfubu. The English is quite possible true (though my need cannot be filled: {sfubu}: x1 is a Euclidian solid with twelve edges, each of length-in-meters x2, which each join four other edges, each at a right angle and with a point c such that for every point p on the surface, the line segment pc is length-in-meters x3, x1 is a cubical sphere — or a spherical cube). If the second sentence is a adequate translation of the first then it shold be true as well. Thus, there is such a thing as Mr. Sphube. But Mr. Sphube exists just in case there are possible sphubes (including real ones, if any). But there are not even possible sphubes, hence no Mr. Sphube (or sphube mass or sum-of-sphubes or...). Therefore, the Lojban sentence is false — and necessarily so, i.e., cannot be true, unlike the English. The Lojban sentence is thus NOT an adequate translation of the English one. (It might be argued that the same problem arises for {mi nitcu lo nu mi ponse lo sphubu} or whatever is the traditional Lojban treatment. The point — which I do not think is correct, by the way — would be that events involving impossible objects don't exist either. This is, however, easily circumventable within the tradition; we could, for example, make {nitcu2} be a proposition, whose truth is what is needed. The claim that such propositions do not exist is not defensible — once we have propositions at all. I imagine that there will be some at least prima facie plausibe way to save Mr. Sphube, too, but for once I will not try to invent it.)

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Posted by pycyn on Sat 22 of Jan., 2005 07:17 GMT posts: 2388

> pc: > > --- And Rosta wrote: > > > pc: > > > > --- And Rosta wrote: > > > > > "I went to the bathroom/doctor" is true > if > > > > > there > > > > > is a bathroom/doctor that I went to. So > why > > > > > does > > > > > English say "the"? It is not > referentially > > > > > specific > > > > > > > > But of course it is: the one I went to is > > > quite > > > > specific and is the one being referred to > in > > > this > > > > case. To be sure, who it is may not be > > > > important, etc., but it is still there. > > > > > > No, specificity affects truthconditions, > > > because > > > reference must be fixed before > truthconditions > > > apply. But the 'reference' of "the doctor" > is > > > irrelevant here; so long as I went to a > doctor, > > > "I went to the doctor" is true, and not > > > contingent > > > on which doctor "the doctor" refers to. > > > > True, it doesn't depend on that but that does > not > > mean that there is not a doctor that I went > to > > and who makes the claim true. We may not > know or > > care who it is but he is there nonetheless. > Why > > isn't he what is referred to by "the doctor." > > > Otherwise it just collapses to "a doctor," > which > > is all right, too, — and still doesn't get > any > > generic doctors involved. > > That was my point: it does seem to be truth- > conditionally equivalent to "a doctor", so why > *"the"*? — Answer is that it refers to the > generic > doctor, which in nonopaque contexts is > truthconditionally equivalent to "a doctor".

Well, that presupposes the existence of "generic doctors," the very point at issue. I find that it is easier to think that English "the" is just used in a lot more ways than the simple list we have given. Notice the ambiguity of, for example "The doctor is a peculiar academic," which may refer either to the unusual situation of the medical faculty at the U or to the idiosyncracies of Oliver Wendell Holmes the Elder. That is, it can be used in generalities as well as specificities, contrary to what the logician might like to think. (And, by the way, generalities are not claims about generic individuals, but generic claims about ordinary individuals, cf. averages, typicals, and the like.)


> > > > > and nor is there *literally* even only > one > > > > > individual > > > > > that could satisfy the description (cf. > > > "the > > > > > priest > > > > > that christened me" — "the" because > only > > > one > > > > > priest > > > > > christened me). > > > > > > > > Yes, I might have gone to another doctor > just > > > as > > > > effectively, but I did go to this one. > > > > > > That's a fact about the world, not about > the > > > meaning > > > of the sentence. > > > > I thought the meaning of the sentence was a > fact > > about the world. I don't get the point here. > > > You may not know or care who the doctor was, > but > > tht doesn't mean I am not referring to him > > (indeed, I may not knpow or care either). > > The meaning of the sentence is a set of > truthconditions, not some particular state of > affairs > that happens to satisfy those truthconditions. > If > I in fact did not go to the doctor at all, the > meaning of the sentence is still the same (-- > but > the sentence becomes false).

Yes. And so? There is then no doctor I go to and so none that I refer to, but that is just the way things happen in false sentences.

> > > > Getting a coherent notion of what the > > > mumbo-jumbo > > > > is about would help. As far as I can > tell, > > > there > > > > is nothing in Linguistics that covers > this > > > issue > > > > in a relevant way. > > > > > > I remember having had this discussion > before, > > > so > > > won't repeat it now. > > Me too. I think it might help to get this > round > > (about the fourth with this group and > something > > like the tenth for the last 30 years (and a > > couple more I know of in the previous 10) off > to > > a better start if we settled one question > first. > > There is a pattern of dealing with these > issues > > that goes back at least to the mid 1960s. It > has > > changed in details within each of the logical > > languages but has remained constant in spirit > and > > broad construction. My position is a current > > version of that tradition. Is your objection > to > > my position or the tradition of which it is a > > part? In either case is the objection that > it > > doesn't work in fact or that it doesn't work > in > > principle. Or is the objection that, though > it > > works it is too messy or too hard or some > other > > extrinsic criterion? For the record, my > > objection to your views (in so far as they > are > > more than examples and unsupported claims) is > > that it doesn't work in principle and also > that > > it is too messy (and yet too simpleminded). > > If the tradition you mean is "propositionalism" > > — handling a sumti in an opaque sumti place > by filling the sumti place with a proposition > and quantifying the sumti within the > proposition > — then my objection is that it seems not to > work at all for some sumti places (e.g. nelci2 > and pixra2), and that for other sumti places > (e.g. nitcu2, casnu2) it seems more like a > work- > around, not capturing the true meaning of the > selbri. Besides this objection to > propositionalism, > though, I think there should be a way to refer > to Mr Broda — at least for those speakers who > find it useful to do so.

Well, I think that one of the virtues of propositionalism (I like the name, despite the implications of being a crackpot scheme and the fact that, at least as matters now stand -- though I don't see the change as a problem -- other absrtactions than propositions may be used, depending on the particular predicate involved) is that it brings out features that misterism leave out (as well as actually working). We do not just need a doctor — there are lots of them and yet our need is unfilled — we need a doctor is in certain relation to us, that is, we need a situation, an event — or possibly a proprosition being true. And the existence of the doctor is part of that event or whatever, not something that relies on the way the world is or even might be. Similarly, we cannot (certain kinds of abstract painting aside — and those can be handled in another way) just picture a unicorn, the picture is of a unicorn doing something, however generic. Admittedly, {nelci2} is less obvious, but not problematic enough to throw over the many virtues of the general pattern. {casnu2} is a proposition and that seems to be what it should be, given the nature of discussions. I suppose there can be aesthetic disagreements but not any real problems -- except that we need to make our English definitions of some Lojban predicates a bit clearer: reading some of the standard translations with the Lojban objects sounds odd, even when the situation — the truth-conditions if you will — clearly work out just right.


> > > > > > And, insofar as I can get clear > > > > > > statements of what happens, the Dr. > Dr. > > > > > reading > > > > > > simply will not help: I don't need > Dr. > > > Dr. > > > > > but a > > > > > > real doctor and Dr. Dr. is not even a > > > doctor, > > > > > let > > > > > > alone the one I need > > > > > > > > > > Dr Dr is a real doctor and is the one > that > > > is > > > > > needed. > > > > > > > > Not so on the first point (since there is > no > > > > particular doctor I need and, if Dr. Dr. > is a > > > > doctor he is a particular one). > > > > > > Dr Dr is all doctors. > > > > Say what? I don't need all doctors either, > just > > one. And a concrete one at that. > > JohnPC is all slices of JPC, and gold is all > bits > of gold, but if I need JPC or I need gold, that > doesn't mean I need all slices of JPC or all > bits of gold.

Well, it is arguable whether JohnPC is all the slices or something else or something more (the last is the usual claim) and I suppose the same could be said of gold and probably Dr. Dr., though much less clearly. Certainly in the JohnPC case what I need is all the current slice(s) and I don't need all the current doctors or all the current gold. Of course, I would say that I don't need any of the slices, just some event in which JohnPC participates — even if only as a slice. And, curiously, I am not sure that I would object to an event in which Dr.Dr. participates. But that will only mean that the solution lies in propositionalism and, given that, things can be handled with a simpler ontology or, at least, a more Lojbanic one. message truncated