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The Quandary about xorlo


posts: 2388
Use this thread to discuss the The Quandary about xorlo page.


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.

 



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.

 



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.

 



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.

 



pc:
> --- And Rosta wrote:
> > 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 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,
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). English says "the" because the
referent is the generic bathroom/doctor, of which
there is, intrinsically, only one.

> "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).

This is the crux. There is something that I, xorxes
and the linguistics literature on generics call
"generic", and it is the meaning of xorlo "lo",
but your interlocutors have been unable to explain
it to you to your satisfaction. This doesn't mean
that you or your interlocutors are at fault. But
I don't see any way to overcome this particular
impasse.

> 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.

> > 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.

The truthconditions of "I found gold in my garden"
are such that if I found any bit of gold then it
is true.

> 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.

How about "I need you"? Is that opaque? How does
it differ from "I need gold"? Or "I need John"?
Or "I need Viagra"?

--And.

 



posts: 2388

 


 
> pc:
> > --- And Rosta wrote:
> > > 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 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.

> 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. Now, "I
will go to the doctor" is another matter.

English says "the" because the
> referent is the generic bathroom/doctor, of
> which
> there is, intrinsically, only one.

What the Hell is a generic doctor? I certainly
didn't go to one (unless you mean a GP or "Family
Practitioner"); I went to a very specific one.
Which is a good thing, because specific ones are
all there are.

> > "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).
>
> This is the crux. There is something that I,
> xorxes
> and the linguistics literature on generics call
> "generic", and it is the meaning of xorlo "lo",
> but your interlocutors have been unable to
> explain
> it to you to your satisfaction.

Hell, they haven't explained it at all. I know
there are specific individual doctors (real and
possible). What else is there? To be sure, we
sometimes talk about specific doctors in general
ways, that is using particular quantifiers and
the like, but that is neither a different kind of
reference (xorxes would say it isn't reference at
all) nor reference to a different kind of thing:
it is reference in a different mode (it is too
bad that {su'a} is not among the modals — maybe
it is not what is wanted, however). And that
mode does not appear in these examples.

 
>This doesn't
> mean
> that you or your interlocutors are at fault.
> But
> I don't see any way to overcome this particular
> impasse.

 
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. And what there is that might
fit doesn't hook up with what you all keep
saying.

> > 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). And, of course,
not so on the second. Because of all the
problems (inferring a false conclusion from a
true premise being the most obvious one).

> > > 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.
>
> The truthconditions of "I found gold in my
> garden"
> are such that if I found any bit of gold then
> it
> is true.

Yes. And so? And the claim I went to a doctor is
true if there is a doctor I went to. No opacity
here and so no problems.

> > 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.
>
> How about "I need you"? Is that opaque? How
> does
> it differ from "I need gold"? Or "I need John"?
> Or "I need Viagra"?

Well, the supposedly relevant condition is that
you certainly and John probably exist. All of
them are cases of needing a proposition verified
and in the first two — about individuals,
another relevant factor — the bulk of the
propositions is left out as "obvious." In the
case of Viagra, there are a number of things it
might mean — all of them implicit and so in that
way like the you and John cases, but the most
likely one contains a further reduction, from "I
need a dose of Viagra" and that leads into the
same problems as "I need a doctor": the scope of
the "a" is buried in the scope of need (and/or
the proposition) and so cannot be unpacked in the
here-and-now. Giving a name to a purported
unpacking does not change this.

 



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

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.

> > 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.

> Now, "I
> will go to the doctor" is another matter.
>
> English says "the" because the
> > referent is the generic bathroom/doctor, of
> > which
> > there is, intrinsically, only one.
>
> What the Hell is a generic doctor? I certainly
> didn't go to one (unless you mean a GP or "Family
> Practitioner"); I went to a very specific one.
> Which is a good thing, because specific ones are
> all there are.

That's a matter of ontological opinion, not of fact.

Suppose I can perceive the generic doctor and you
can't. If {lo mikce} is the generic doctor, then
I can understand what it means and you can't. Is
that so different from, say, how the words "red"
and "green" are to a colourblind person, or "shrill"
to someone deaf from birth?

> 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.

> > > 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.

> > > > 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.
> >
> > The truthconditions of "I found gold in my
> > garden"
> > are such that if I found any bit of gold then
> > it
> > is true.
>
> Yes. And so?

Mr Broda works like an English mass noun in this
respect (-- 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.
>

 



posts: 2388

 


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

> > > 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).

> > Now, "I
> > will go to the doctor" is another matter.
> >
> > English says "the" because the
> > > referent is the generic bathroom/doctor, of
> > > which
> > > there is, intrinsically, only one.
> >
> > What the Hell is a generic doctor? I
> certainly
> > didn't go to one (unless you mean a GP or
> "Family
> > Practitioner"); I went to a very specific
> one.
> > Which is a good thing, because specific ones
> are
> > all there are.
>
> That's a matter of ontological opinion, not of
> fact.

You need to develop an ontology in which there
are such things. Until you do, I'll stick with
what is "given" (things, abstractions and sets --
and maybe bunches — for Lojban and pretty much
the same for English).

> Suppose I can perceive the generic doctor and
> you
> can't. If {lo mikce} is the generic doctor,
> then
> I can understand what it means and you can't.
> Is
> that so different from, say, how the words
> "red"
> and "green" are to a colourblind person, or
> "shrill"
> to someone deaf from birth?

The trouble is that I understand the sentence
perfectly well — by any test you care to make
other than talking about generic doctors. The
generic doctor is superfluous; if it does
anything at all — which needs to be demonstrated
-- the same can be done without it.

> > 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).

> > > > 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.

> > > > > 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.
> > >
> > > The truthconditions of "I found gold in my
> > > garden"
> > > are such that if I found any bit of gold
> then
> > > it
> > > is true.
> >
> > Yes. And so?
>
> Mr Broda works like an English mass noun in
> this
> respect (-- 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.

I just don't see the analogy at all. If I find a
bit of gold, I find gold; if I find a bit of a
doctor, I find a doctor. No, that can't be it.
Ah: if I find a bit of Dr. Dr. — that is, a
doctor — then I find a doctor. Except for the
useless bit about bits of Dr. Dr. that is a
tautology and every bit as informative as they
usually are. And it doesn't help at all with
opacity: there is no bit of Dr. Dr. that I need
either (I just need the event of my having a
doctor).

 



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.

 



> > 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.

 



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".

> > > > 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).

> > > 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.

> > > > > 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.

> > > > > > 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.
> > > >
> > > > The truthconditions of "I found gold in my
> > > > garden"
> > > > are such that if I found any bit of gold
> > then
> > > > it
> > > > is true.
> > >
> > > Yes. And so?
> >
> > Mr Broda works like an English mass noun in
> > this
> > respect (-- 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.
>
> I just don't see the analogy at all. If I find a
> bit of gold, I find gold; if I find a bit of a
> doctor, I find a doctor. No, that can't be it.
> Ah: if I find a bit of Dr. Dr. — that is, a
> doctor — then I find a doctor. Except for the
> useless bit about bits of Dr. Dr. that is a
> tautology and every bit as informative as they
> usually are. And it doesn't help at all with
> opacity: there is no bit of Dr. Dr. that I need
> either (I just need the event of my having a
> doctor).

If I find a slice of JPC then I find JPC. Would
you insist on translating "I sought JPC" as "I
tried to bring it about that there is a slice
of JPC (that I found)"?

Nothing new is being said in this discussion, I feel.
I understand your position: that Mr Broda is
ontologically incoherent.

--And.

 



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

 



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
>
>
>

 



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

 



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.)

 



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

 


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