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[ba-ohs-talk] Fwd: Re: [PORT-L] Semantic Web --> Pragmatic Web, nominalism --> realism?

Interesting reference to Doug Engelbart's point of view here...    (01)

>From: Gary Richmond <garyrichmond@RCN.COM>
>Subject:      Re: [PORT-L] Semantic Web --> Pragmatic Web,
>               nominalism --> realism?
>The expression "Pragmatic Web" came out of a series of stimulating 
>discussions that Aldo de Moor and I had at ICCS 2001. I don't recall who 
>mouthed the phrase first,  but I always credit Aldo with it in honor of 
>his lively role in those far-reaching informal inquiries. We were 
>both  particularly concerned with "making Peirce pragmatic" (and this 
>phrase is Aldo's for certain!) by which we meant creating means for 
>actually realizing the principles and practices of pragmatic inquiry at 
>PORT and on the Web generally.
>Bernard, I think your analysis is right on target and especially in the 
>Engelbartian purpose you propose for the Web, namely, "social knowledge 
>augmentation." I  think that in this regard you are also quite right in 
>stressing the importance of remembering that for Peirce information is the 
>product of intension and extension "as something that appears by way of 
>concrete interpretation."  This is the pragmatic and creative way of 
>seeing the matter, rather than  imagining that information and knowledge 
>are simply always already "given" merely to be better disseminated by 
>a  "Semantic Web." (Your analysis of "semantic" in this context also bears 
>close study.)
>Mary, I found the reference regarding "pushing nominalism to its limits" 
>leading to realism in the "preface" to The Simplest Mathematics. (Near the 
>end of that preface comes your favorite Peircean characterization of 
>Existential Graphs as "a moving-picture of thought..") I've appended  some 
>brief relevant passages from that as well as some Peirce supporting 
>Bernard's analysis of the place of information in pragmatic thinking.
>from the "Preface" to The Simplest Mathematics.
>The burden of proof is undoubtedly upon the realists, because the 
>nominalistic hypothesis is the simpler. Dr. Carus 3 professes himself a 
>realist and yet accuses me of inconsistency in admitting Ockham's razor 
>although I am a realist, thus, implying that he himself does not accept 
>it. 4 But this brocard, Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem, 
>that is, a hypothesis ought not to introduce complications not requisite 
>to explain the facts, this is not distinctively nominalistic; it is the 
>very roadbed of science. Science ought to try the simplest hypothesis 
>first, with little regard to its probability or improbability, although 
>regard ought to be paid to its consonance with other hypotheses, already 
>accepted. This, like all the logical propositions I shall enunciate, is 
>not a mere private impression of mine: it is a mathematically necessary 
>deduction from unimpeachable generalizations of universally admitted facts 
>of observation. The generalizations are themselves allowed by all the 
>world; but still they have been submitted to the minutest criticism before 
>being employed as premisses. It appears therefore that in scientific 
>method the nominalists are entirely right. Everybody ought to be a 
>nominalist at first, and to continue in that opinion until he is driven 
>out of it by the force majeure of irreconcilable facts. Still he ought to 
>be all the time on the lookout for these facts, considering how many other 
>powerful minds have found themselves compelled to come over to realism. 
>[emphasis added by me]
>Peirce: CP 4.1 Cross-Ref:
>     . . .[A]s for the average nominalist whom you meet in the streets, he 
> reminds me of the blind spot on the retina, so wonderfully does he 
> unconsciously smooth over his field of vision and omit facts that stare 
> him in the face, while seeing all round them without perceiving any gap 
> in his view of the world. That any man not demented should be a realist 
> is something he cannot conceive.
>Peirce: CP 4.1 Cross-Ref:
>     My plan for defeating nominalism is not simple nor direct; but it 
> seems to me sure to be decisive, and to afford no difficulties except the 
> mathematical toil that it requires. For as soon as you have once mounted 
> the vantage-ground of the logic of relatives, which is related to 
> ordinary logic precisely as the geometry of three dimensions is to the 
> geometry of points on a line, as soon as you have scaled this height, I 
> say, you find that you command the whole citadel of nominalism, which 
> must thereupon fall almost without another blow.
>from the "Propositions" chapter of  General and Historical Survey of Logic
>The other divisions of terms, propositions, and arguments arise from the 
>distinction of extension and comprehension. I propose to treat this 
>subject in a subsequent paper. 1 But I will so far anticipate that as to 
>say that there is, first, the direct reference of a symbol to its objects, 
>or its denotation; second, the reference of the symbol to its ground, 
>through its object, that is, its reference to the common characters of its 
>objects, or its connotation; and third, its reference to its interpretants 
>through its object, that is, its reference to all the synthetical 
>propositions in which its objects in common are subject or predicate, and 
>this I term the information it embodies . And as every addition to what it 
>denotes, or to what it connotes, is effected by means of a distinct 
>proposition of this kind, it follows that the extension and comprehension 
>of a term are in an inverse relation, as long as the information remains 
>the same, and that every increase of information is accompanied by an 
>increase of one or other of these two quantities. It may be observed that 
>extension and comprehension are very often taken in other senses in which 
>this last proposition is not true. from "On a New List of Categories" 
>[emphasis added by me]
>Bernard Morand wrote:
>>A 09:50 16/11/01 -0800, Mary Keeler wrote :
>>>How disappointed Peirce would have been by what occurred in that century 
>>>after his death in 1914.  But Gary offers a fine suggestion.  Why don't 
>>>we work to create the Pragmatic Web, and aim toward where the Semantic 
>>>Web must evolve?  That will take more than the technological invention 
>>>called "knowledge processing," and will require us to understand its 
>>>nominalist roots (at the heart of Semantic Web development).  Much of 
>>>Peirce's work concerns the "metaphysical problem" that science as well 
>>>as philosophy are nominalistic, and he says (somewhere) that the best 
>>>way to become a realist is by pushing nominalism to its limits?  I'll 
>>>find that reference, but meantime:
>>I like that Mary ! Semantic is not a word that one can find in CSP works. 
>>But this is not a mere matter of words. I think that we need a clear 
>>understanding of : 1- What is the Web in itself : a technology 2- What is 
>>its actual use : information by bringing people together 3- What would 
>>have to be its purpose in the long run : social knowledge augmentation 
>>Then, "semantic" is quite misleading for the all three questions 
>>(supposing that they are accepted as such by everyone). In fact, it 
>>sounds to me as if information and knowledge were already made contents. 
>>Contents that technology would have to make available (easily, user 
>>friendly...and so on). May be that other points of view can exist. But 
>>the word semantic is the brother of information retrieval, information 
>>extraction and so on. On the contrary I think that Information is 
>>something that appears by way of concrete interpretations (a P RODUCT of 
>>intension with extension according to Peirce) and I cannot think that it 
>>could be some content of any message. The same goes for knowledge. I 
>>admit that to make such distinctions does not tell us a method of 
>>working. But as told by a joker : "We have first to have a look upon 
>>where we don't want to go, because where we are going to, we will already 
>>know it when we will be there". Regards Bernard Regards 
>>Bernard Morand Département Informatique Institut Universitaire de 
>>Technologie BP53 14123 Ifs Cedex France TEL (33) 02 31 52 55 
>>34             FAX (33) 02 31 52 55 22 e-mail: 
>>http://www.iutc3.unicaen.fr/~moranb/ ___________________ 
>>_______________________________________________    (02)