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methods of resolving mismatches between place structures and number of overt sumti

posts: 2388

I find this discussion baffling, perhaps because
I do not see a problem with putting {no da} in
any place where it might fit to reflect the way
the world is, so {no da}ing the "lid" place of
{botpi} seems perfectly meaningful and often
involved in true descriptions of situations. On
the other hand, the mess in "the {zo'e} series"
probably should be cleaned up (more a problem
about what is said about it than about usage).
The chief problem is not {zi'o} but {zo'e} (and
also blank, the lack of overt sumti in a place).
Well, {zu'i} needs the vagueness of "typical"
cleared up: in this place?, in this place with
(some particular ones of?) these other arguments?
of skipped sumti altogether? and so on. {zi'o}
plugs up a place in the predicate so that
judgments about whether the predicate applies to
the remaining arguments (explcit or implicit) is
made without reference to what would have been in
that place. Thus, ordered n-1 tuples might be
admitted in the extension of this new predicate
that are not part of any n tuple in the extension
of the old, though the appropriate n-1 part of
each the acceptable n tuples is included. But
the descriptions of{zo'e} (and blank, if you take
that as an abbreviation for {zo'e}) are a mess.
At various times and places {zo'e} is said to
stand for the obvious value (in the context, I
suppose), to stand for anything other than {no
da} (and its equivalents) and {zi'o}, to indicate
that it doesn't matter what you put in there (?so
long as it makes the sentence true?), and
probably a few other things as well. This is
nmot much of a set of guidelines, being
contradictory as a whole (the obvious thing is
clearly not just anything — and, I would add,
may be nothing). Before it was talked about as
an abbreviation for {zo'e}, the blank was just
that: no sumti given, no arguemnt specified.
What that amounted to was to be worked out
pragmatically: obvious, indifferent, unimportant,
unknown, secret — all these interpretations had
their uses. To be sure, if what was skipped was
known to be {no da}, a good Gricean might object
to a speaker not mentioning that, if anything
might hang on it, but in the case of indifference
-- and certainly of ignorance — {no da} is a
possible value to be discovered.
If blank is really an abbreviation for {zo'e},
then (or {zo'e} the blank made visible) surely it
has this value (pragmatic, not semantic) "For
some reason, I am not telling you about things
that go in here" and usually this causes no
problems. And when it does cause problems, well,
everyone knows where to find {ma}, though a lot
of metaanswers are possible: "I never even
thought about that," for example. Now, insofar
as {zo'e} — and blank — are used out of
indifference, that is, that anything reasonable
can go in the slot without affecting the outcome,
that slot is being disregard and so, in effect,
we have dropped that slot from consideration.
So, in some cases, even {zi'o} can be what blank
and {zo'e} "mean." Of course, the problem with
all of this is that, unless we ask — which is
pretty pointless in most cases — we do not know
why the place is zeroed out and so, if we guess
wrongly, we may go astray, picking "don't give a
damn" when "obvious" was intended, for example.
Sorting these possibilities out seems to me more
important than any other ways of screwing around
with the series (which, properly used, is
already doing most of what it appears that
various people want it to do).

> > The notion that zihoed places are more
> algorithmically defined than zohed ones is just
> false. It's true that zo'e appeals to the
> shared context, but appeals to metaphysics
> that may or may not be shared. Interpreting be
> zi'o directly as a projection (in the sense of
> relational algebra) doesn't capture it: in that
> sense, nothing is broda be zi'o except what is
> broda.
> >
> > mi'e djan
> {lo'i broda be zi'o} is a superset, not a
> subset, of {lo'i broda}.
> For example,
> {lo se cmima be zi'o}, a "bemembered thing" but
> without the place for the
> members, can be things (one thing actually)
> without any members,
> whereas {lo se cmima} can't. {broda} could be a
> projection of {broda be zi'o},
> not the other way around.
> mu'o mi'e xorxes


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