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Re: Fuzzy Fallacies

>> I again challenge Peter's insistence that he is the one true source of
>> information about the proper use of language.
>This conversation was interesting at first but I am getting bored now with
>your misrepresentation of my position and your ad hominem approach.
>Rather than continuing in this fashion, you might want to try responding
>to the message recently posted by Jorge Llambias (Re: fuzzy questions).  I
>thought he raised some excellent points about your attempts to use fuzzy
>logic linguistically, and these might make more sense to you.

Interesting response. Peter, If you will review my original note, perhaps
you will change your mind about it being ad hominem. Perhaps on rereading
you will note my self-depracating and humorous tone. For example, I pointed
out that I *also* have an "Idiosyncratic Dictionary of American English"
and actually so do we all. That is why external reference works such as
dictionaries are so useful, (and why we are all waiting eagerly to see the
fruits of lojbab's labor!) That's one of the drawbacks of email, a lot of
information normally conveyed by tone of voice, inflection, etc. is lost.
Maybe I ought to use the lojban emotives more freely.

I was pointing out that you, Peter, were not questioning some of your
assumptions; a weakness to which we are all vulnerable. I was also alluding
to the fact that many people who post to this list are far more
knowledgeable and insightful about language, logic, and lojban than you or
I. Consider your statement:

"There seems to be a continuing misunderstanding, which perhaps I can
correct here.  Tall is not defined with respect to "not-tall".  It is
defined against the speaker's criteria for tallness.  This criteria are
essentially the "ideal" that you refer to."

Although I'm certain it was not your intention, Peter, this statement could
be read by those who do not know what a delightful, erudite, humble fellow
you are, as being rather full of hubris. I make similar "professorial"
pronouncements sometimes. When I do, I hope that others point out to me how
absurd such ex cathedra pontificating is.

I just reread my original (unedited) note from which you quoted, and it
seems to me you were rather selective in your quoting; each of the quoted
"snips" is, in the original note, accompanied by a self-depracating remark
indicating that I too am vulnerable to similar flaws in my thinking. Peter,
you neglected to quote the self-depracating remarks, thus rather markedly
changing the meaning of my note.

My essential point is that a useful argument should be more than a
recitation of opinion. There ought to be production of useful evidence,
references, logical reasoning (fuzzy or otherwise!).

As a specific example, Peter, you made an assertion about how <tall> is
defined. In my quotes from the OED and AHD I provided evidence that your
assertion was false. Do you concede that your assertion is false? If not,
what contrary evidence/references/reasoning can you provide in support of
your assertion about the definition of <tall>, and more broadly what
"defining" means? You have made some interesting points, which is why I
have continued to respond to your notes, but I must admit that I find it
frustrating that you fail to provide support for your assertions when they
are challenged.

Finally, as I have previously noted, this list is about lojban, and
discussion of the relative merits of fuzzy logic is only tangentially
related to lojban. I am interested in expressing fuzzy logic in lojban.
Obviously, some discussion of the merits of fuzzy logic is relevant to this
desire to express fuzzy logic in lojban. (If fuzzy logic is of little
value, than it is unimportant whether or not it can be easily expressed in
lojban.) As you pointed out, another forum would serve better for detailed
debate about the merits of fuzzy logic.

co'o mi'e. la stivn.

Steven M. Belknap, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Medicine
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria

email: sbelknap@uic.edu
Voice: 309/671-3403
Fax:   309/671-8413