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Re: TECH: lambda and "ka" revisited

This is a long reply mainly to John and Jorge but a bit to Lojbbab, Chris
and Markl, mainly about matters concerning NU & {kea}.

> > * kea and xeu are both liable to need subscripts for when a relative
> >   clause is contained within a relative clause or a ka within a ka.
> >   How exactly does that subscripting work? - How do you know which
> >   ka or NOI which kea/xeu match up with? I would propose that the
> >   kea/xeu belongs to whichever NOI/ka has it in the prenex of the
> >   main bridi within it.
> go'i ki'a ke'o e'o

Wilco. Vio.

> The current interpretation for "ke'a" is that by itself it refers to the
> innermost relative clause; "ke'a xi re" refers to the smallest relative
> clause that isn't innermost, "ke'a xi ci" is the next, and so on.

I know. I was proposing that the official rule be that instead of:

  tavla fa le nanmu poi cliva fa le ninmu poi kea xi pa cimba kea xi re
  ("the man such that the woman such that she kisses him leaves spoke")

the official guaranteed-unambiguous unvague way of doing it is:

  tavla fa le nanmu poi kea xi xy zou cliva fa le ninmu poi kea xi zy
  zou kea xi zy cimba kea xi xy

- where {xy} and {zy} are arbitrarily chosen diacritics.

> But no such machinery is needed for "xe'u da", because an infinity of
> variables is already available:
>        le ka xe'u daxipa zo'u ... le ka xe'u daxipanono ... daxipa ...
>                daxipanono ... kei ... daxipa ... kei
> In other words, subscripts on "ke'a" are position-relative, but on
> "da", "de", "di" they are absolute.

Let me give a somewhat extreme ambiguous example:

  ka xeu da skicu le ka xeu de cinba xeu di

- this, I think, is suo 2 ways ambiguous:

I.  "property of being a describer of the kisser relationship"
    where you could paraphrase by {ka xeu da skicu koa}

II. the outermost ka is dyadic, with arguments xeu da and xeu de
    - "the describer-of-the-property-of-being-kissed-by relaionship"

How to disambiguate? I suggest

I.  {ka xeu da zou da skicu le ka xeu de xeu di zou de cinba di}
II. {ka xeu da xeu de zou da skicu le ka xeu di zou de cinba di}

> The job of the lambda variable is to keep one or maybe more argument
> slots open, so the most direct way of doing this is with a KOhA. In
> fact, {ke'a} is already doing exactly that for relative clauses and
> I argue that it can do the job for {ka} just as well.
> One of the arguments against {ke'a} is that sometimes we may need
> to keep open more than one argument place. The solution is to use
> subscripts: {ke'axi.abu}, {ke'axi.ebu}, {ke'axi.ibu}, {ke'axi.obu},
> {ke'axi.ubu}. I use a, e, i, o, u as subscripts because that's how
> Lojban usually orders argument places, cf. vo'a, vo'e, vo'i, vo'o,
> vo'u, and fa, fe, fi, fo, fu. I'm not sure how the order of the
> arguments would be handled with {xe'u}.
> Another argument against {ke'a} is what to do when a relative clause
> is used together with a {ka}: same deal, use {ke'axi.abu} for {ka}
> and bare {ke'a} for the relative clause.

I think that given my prenex proposals, I agree with Jorge that {kea}
can and should do the job. I don't support these fancy subscripting
conventions - or at least I think they shd be no more than conventions,
violable without being ungrammatical. Instead, I'd rewrite my earlier
examples as follows:

I.  {ka kea xi by zou kea xi by skicu le ka kea xi cy kea xi dy zou
     kea xi cy cinba kea xi dy}
II. {ka kea xi by kea xi cy zou kea xi by skicu le ka kea xi dy zou
     kea xi cy cinba kea xi dy}

where the subscripts are ad libitum. {kea} is handled like a cousin of

> (relative phrases can also use ke'a BTW).


John again:
> PA is a wastebasket category, but the maxim of minimum mutilation
> tells me that "xe'u" has to go there, considering how late in the
> game it is being introduced.

I think that maxim would lead to the use of {kea}, as advocated by
Jorge & now by me.

> > I'm willing to believe that PA yields less gobbledygook than I might
> > naively have expected, but there remains plenty of g.gook. Jorge once
> > posted a list of examples, and proposed the rule of interpretation such
> > that if the presence of word X yields g.gook, the sentence be interpreted
> > as if X were not there. This rule works, but not like real natlangs do.
> This fnord is obviously not the way natural fnord fnord languages operate
> fnord.

Exactly. No grammarians' rules have ever included one for fnord-insertion.

> > > WhatIS the case is that there exists grammatical Lojban text using PA
> > > that has no defined and agreed-upon semantics - that does NOT mean that
> > > it is utter gobbledygook
> > This is false by any standards other than lojbo ones. This is exactly
> > my objection. In natural languages, any construction with no defined
> > and agreed-on semantics is ungrammatical.
> Yes, but the senses of "defined and agreed-upon" in your two claims are
> not the same.  L means "defined and agreed-upon, explicitly, by the
> language prescribers" whereas A means "defined and agreed-upon,
> implicitly, by the speakers of the language".  L means to allow that
> some PA strings, though without prescribed meaning at present, may come
> to have meaning, and is at pains not to rule this out by making them
> ungrammatical.

i.e. the grammar is at present incomplete. Or: at present it overgenerates,
but the language may change so it won't. My objection to this
incompletion/overgenerativity still stands. But I understand why you
feel disinclined to remedy it.

> > But be that as it may, what does it mean to say {la djan ckaji
> > le ka xeu da cimba xeu de}?
> I think it means that John bears the relationship kisser-of-somebody to
> an unspecified person.  This is why I wanted to give "ckaji" an arbitrary
> number of places depending on its x2, so that your example would be
> equivalent to
>        la djan. ckaji le ka xe'u da cinba xe'u de kei zo'e

Is that synonymous with "John bears the relationship kissed-by to
an unspecified person"? If not, how is that said?

> > > (though the current language doesn't seem to have any selbri that
> > > naturally demand other than 1-place (ka) or 0-place (du'u) intensions),
> > x2 of {bridi} does.
> So it does, so it does.  In that case we can say:
>        bridi le ka xe'u da cinba xe'u de kei la djan. ce zo'e
>        Something-is-a-proposition-formed-from the-relation (X kisses Y)
>                and-the-set {John, Whoozis}.
> or even
>        le ka xe'u da cinba xe'u de cu zilbre la djan. ce zo'e
> which means the same thing.

There's not much call for {zil-}, since the proposition is still there
is you have saturated predicate. Another example:

    zo cinba valsi le ka xeu da cinba xeu de

> Note the interesting assimilation of "cinba" in your example.

Oops. {cinba} seems so unlikely.

> >But be that as it may, what does it mean to say {la djan ckaji
> >le ka xeu da cimba xeu de}?
> Hmm.. {la} like the other gadri isn't necessarily singular. But can
> it mean two things connected by {jo'u} -- i.e. pa la djan. jo'u pa
> la djan. or are they necessarily connected by {.e}? Then it would
> mean "John kisses John".

At the moment, I can;t see it as meaning anything more or less than
{la djan sumti le ka xeu da cinba xeu de}.

> > (5) Is it possible for a {ka} phrase to denote a 0-adic intension?
> > - I suppose it is, but only by explicitly filling every sumti (with
> > non-xeu-begadried sumti).
> You mean that {mi djuno le ka ta blanu} means the same as {mi djuno
> le du'u ta blanu}? I'm not sure I like it.

I thought I didn't, but it's growing on me.

> Besides, how can you be sure that you've filled every argument?

Only by filling them, at all levels of subordinacy.

> > (6) Does a sumti-tail express a monadic intension?
> If you are asking whether {le broda} is the same as {le ka ke'a broda},
> then definitely not. A bare sumti-tail doesn't express anything, as far
> as I can tell.

No, I know. {ka} abstracts the "monadic intension", while {le} "puts it
to use".

> A sumti-tail is just a syntax-level construct, abstracting "what can
> come after LA or LE".  It doesn't have any necessary semantics. A
> monadic intension is achieved by abstracting a 1-place predicate.

Yes. Well what-comes-after-LE is a 1-place predicate. Sort of. I can't
 debate this one intelligently.

> > My objection to {duu} is that it is always singleton in extension,
> > so should have sumti rather than selbri status.
> Not quite: you omit the x2 of "du'u", which is a text expressing the
> proposition which is x1.

Okay. True. But if we agree that the contents of duu..kei (plus requisite
pragmatics) is sufficient to uniquely determine the proposition, then
x1 is always singleton in extension, irrespective of what's in the x2.

So duu is really a one place predicate, denoting a class of sentences.
Or rather, duu is used in a range of one-place predicates, each of
which denotes a class of sentences.

So I still feel that {duu} has the wrong syntax for its meaning.

> Maybe it would have made more sense to have it in selmaho LU. It would
> also have allowed for more complex propositions.

This is exactly what I think. The funny thing is, though, that LU and all
quotey stuff like ZO etc. should, it seems to me, have *selbri* status.

So maybe I'll start using {duu} as if in LU. Or I cd use {lae lu}.

> > (4) Could you explain why propositions are 0-adic intensions?
> Because an n-adic intension, in Quine's sense, is an abstract object
> derived from an open sentence in n variables (a propositional function
> of n variables, in older jargon).  If n = 0, the open sentence becomes
> a closed sentence, and a proposition is the abstract object derived from
> a closed sentence.  (Note that in this jargon "proposition" is not the
> same as "sentence"; sentences are linguistic behaviors, and are concrete;
> propositions are abstractions from those behaviors.  This account is
> is modulo the systematic type-token ambiguity that is pervasive in Lojban
> as elsewhere.)

I see no role for "proposition" as distinct from "state-of-affairs",
"a way the world is", "an it-being-the-case-that". So I do wish to
distinguish "proposition" from "sentence", but I don't see them as
"abstractions" from sentences.

It is very naughty of Lojban to exhibit type-token ambiguity. It of
all languages should be well-behaved. It's why I say such-and-such
a selbri shd be a sumti, and vice versa.

> > My objection to {nu} is that really the event is an argument of the
> > bridi, so {jai fau broda} is truer to the meaning.
> I think that it is a sufficiently distinct argument that the current
> structure makes sense. In any case, your use of {fau} is pretty
> non-standard, since BAIs don't usually behave like that.

BAIs don't behave like what?

Contemporary formal semantics tends to treat the event as an argument
of the predicate, so, e.g. KISS is a 3-place, with kisser, kissee, and
event (the kiss) arguments. I cannot tell you the rationale for that,
but I certainly agree with the upshot.

> > My objection to {nu} is that really the event is an argument of the
> > bridi, so {jai fau broda} is truer to the meaning.
> This was discussed a few years ago, I think.  "fau" means
> "with-associated-event", where the event is typically some different
> event from that expressed by the bridi.

Strictly speaking, the bridi does not express an event. At best it
implies one.

I have feared {fau} means that. I think I shall just have to endeavour
to override that by force of usage. After all, le lojbo cuntu needs
the involvement of Seething-Rationalist-Types as well as pragmatists.

> > My objection to {ka} was that it should be a sumti tail, not a selbri,
> > but now that I get an inkling of its relationship to {duu} I guess it
> > should be a sumti.
> Again, perhaps it should have been a LU.

Ah, well ideally we now merge {ka} and {duu} and put the result in LU,
while simultaneously moving {lu} into a new selmao that yields a

> Here you may have a better case; it is probably true that for any
> <bridi>, "lo ka <bridi>" expresses a unique object, and with the
>  new "me" we can recover the predicate if we want it.  However,
> uniformity of abstractors is probably more important.

Uniformity of abstractors, if it is distinct from sticking with
the status quo, is a positively bad thing. As for sticking with
the status quo, most people feel it is more important, but I'd
like to assure Markl that I don't:

> That is, you-all have persuaded me that none but the smallest reforms
> to Lojban at this stage would stand any chance of acceptance, & that
> larger reforms would be unwise.

I did not mean to have any part in persuading you that larger reforms
would be unwise. I don't think that larger reforms would be unwise.
But I do think they won't be tolerated.

> > So my objections are not only that most members of NU are not useful,
> > but also that only {sio} really warrants the syntax of NU (i.e. selbri
> > containing bridi).
> I don't really understand {si'o}.

It's like a mental state-of-affairs. Not so much a way that the world
is but a way that a mind is. For example, {da de sio ro snime cu xekri kei}
could be true, even if {ro snime cu xekri} isn't.

> > No, {sio} is good. It's a relationship between a proposition and a mind.
> > Very useful.
> Can you give an example of how it would be used? Is {mi pensi le du'u
> do klama le zarci} different from {mi pensi le si'o do klama le zarci}?

Well, the {duu} version means "pensive about a way the world is, or
could be", while the {sio} version means "pensive about an idea in
someone's mind". So they're totally different.

I think lots of selbri whose x1 is necessarily sentient and volitional
shd really have a sio x2, where x2 of sio = x1 of the selbri.

However, I must confess that {da de sio broda}} seems equivalent to
{da sidbo le duu broda kei de}. In consequence I now think that no
member whatever of NU should actually belong to NU.

> Well, put it the other way. What else could the referent of a propositon
> be? The proposition can be seen as the referent of the utterance, I think
> that we agreed about that some time ago, so {le du'u broda} is {la'e lu
> broda li'u}, but if we want to say that the proposition has in its turn
> a referent, I would say that it has to be its manifestation in the world,
> i.e. the event {le nu broda}.
> Of course, it may also be that it is better not to think of a proposition
> as having referents, it was just an idea.

I would hate to think of a proposition as having a referent. I prefer to
equate propositions and states-of-affairs. But Lojbab reckons that lae
the-statue-of-liberty is liberty, and lae le xunre gusni is prostitution,
etc., so for him lae le duu broda may make some sense.

> The {kau} phenomenon is a sepaarte story, and I don't think it is all
> that mind-bending:
>        mi frica do le ka ke'a dunda
>        I differ from you in the property of being a giver.
>        mi frica do le ka ke'a dunda makau
>        I differ from you in what we give.
>        mi frica do le ka ke'a dunda fi makau
>        I differ from you in who we give to.
>        mi frica do le ka ke'a dunda makau makau
>        I differ from you in what we give to whom.

I'd be happier with all that if I knew how to express it in standard
predicate logic. It's a bit too magicky as it stands.

> > > {jei} has two meanings: by official definition it is a truth value. By
> > > usage it is the yes/no indirect question "whether", equivalent to
> > > {du'u xukau}.
> > If every truth-value is unique to the proposition it is truth value of,
> > then {jei} works as "whether". But I don't know anyone who thinks that
> > truth-values are thus unique.
> I'm not sure what you mean by your comment. If {jei} gives a truth value,
> i.e. a number, unique or not, to a proposition, it _cannot_ be used as
> "whether". A number is not an indirect question.

Suppose we call the truth value of sentence (or proposition) S Tom. And
suppose that in our metaphysics, Tom is the truth-value of no sentence
but S. Then, I think, "I know Tom" is equivalent to "I know whether S".

But our metaphysics does not in fact work like this. One truth-value
can be t-v of many bridi. So {jei} cannot, in our metaphysics, mean

> Compare with the two uses of "where" as indirect question and as place
> holder:
>        I know where John went. (indirect question: I know
>                                the answer to the question
>                                "Where did John go?")
>        I know the place where John went. (Place holder: He went to New York,
>                                           and I know New York because
>                                           I've been there.)
> If I know that John went to New York, that means that I know where
> John went, but not that I know New York.

I see this. I'm saying that the distinction fades with examples like:

    I know John's fingerprints.
    I know what be-fingerprints John.

because if you know John's fingerprints you'll know that they befingerprint
John, so you'll know what befingerprints John.

> There is a kind of implicit "du'u" underlying "jei", which is the truth
> value of the proposition that <bridi>.  To say you know the truth value
> of a proposition is indeed the same as knowing whether it is true or
> false.

This is the fallacy Jorge was meaning to expose. If the truth value of
p is 1, and you know the truth value of p, then you know 1 - whatever
that means. But from knowing 1 it does not follow that you know which
propositions 1 is the truth value of.

> > > I find the definition as a truth value totally out of place among
> > > the NUs. There should be a lujvo that means "x1 is the truth value
> > > of x2". The usage definition is ok, but redundant to {du'u xukau}
> > > and not so frequent that it is worth the trouble to have a short form.
> > Agreed. I think we've had this discussion before. (But since I agree,
> > by all means say it again and again.)
> What is to fall into x2?  Presumably a "du'u" construct.  The "jei" is
> just a more compact version of this.

Yes. That's right.

> > As for {lii}, I think the test is supposed to be whether there is some
> > alternative way to say "the experience of [the experiencer's] having a
> > leg", bearing in mind that one can have the experience without having
> > the leg. if anyone has the ingenuity to do this without {lii}, it is
> > you.
> Something like: {mi lifri le nu pada tuple mi}? What do you mean that
> one can have an experience without it actually happening? Are you
> talking about virtual reality and such? If so, then it is a matter
> of using the right predicate. Within the virtual reality the event does
> happen.

{lii} was, I believe, introduced at the request of someone whoAd had
their leg amputated but still experienced the leg.

I guess you could say {mi lifri lo dahi nu pada tuple mi} or
{mi sizlifri liduu pada tuple mi}, where "sizlifri" means "have
an experience that one would have if state-of-affairs x2 obtained".

> > > {su'u} has seen little to no use. The two or three times I met it
> > > it was used for the indirect question of manner "how", as in "look
> > > how they run". I would say that can be taken care of by {tai makau}
> > > or {ta'i makau}.
> > Well "unspecified abstraction" is a pretty useless meaning. It could
> > mean "a person who has asserted that p", or anything.
> What exactly it means is specified by its x2 place, so you get
> "x1 is an abstraction of <p> of-type x2 (e.g. an asserter, {lo xusra})".
> Less mundanely, we have the book titled "Abstraction of (Jesus Christ
> is crucified) of-type a downhill-motorcycle-race".  "su'u" allows for
> expansion of the abstraction set.

I think I'd like to argue that "abstraction" has no meaning, at least
not beyond the n-adic ka/duu.

I don't know which book you're talking about.

> > > {nu} is the most used, and it is the physical realization of the
> > > relationship. For instance {mi viska le nu do klama le zarci}. What I
> > > see is not the relationship {du'u} but its embodiment {nu}.
> > Right. A major property is temporality - nu are associated with times
> > and duu arent.
> Well, that's shaky.  "le nu li re su'i re du li vo" is probably the same
> as "le du'u li re su'i re du li vo", although both are equally temporal
> or atemporal or totitemporal or what you will.

I don't think such atemporal or omnitemporal things can be nu. For me,
all nu must be terminable.

> "Physical" is a sticky notion. There is no problem with "nu" objects
> that aren't actualized, like "le nu le djordj. .ualas. cu merko gugde
> ralju" even though George Wallace wasn't ever U.S. President.

There is every problem with such nu objects. {nu la djordj ualas cu
merko gugde ralju} is false.