new research into semantic categories

Thu Feb 11 22:47:03 UTC 2010

Joel said:

> At 2/8/2010 10:22 PM, James Harbeck wrote:

> human brains classify all
> non-human
> >objects in terms of three dimensions: in plain, "Can I
> eat it? How do
> >I hold it? Can it give me shelter?"

> Is this as nonsensical as it sounds to me?  The human
> brain can only
> manage three properties for all non-human objects?
> And two of those
> properties are the simplest of "enumerated" data types,
> namely
> "Boolean", which can take on only two values, "yes" or
> "no"?

Joel, can I issue a request for clarification with regard to your words above, <the simplest of "enumerated" data types, namely "Boolean">, as it clashes in a non-trivial way with what I think I know?

Or when you say "Boolean", did you simply mean "binary"?

While Boolean logic does operate on one level with a simple yes/no binary system of oppositions, that doesn't quite catch the point of it, since Boolean logic, among other things being the natural progression of the extension of Modern Formal Logic into Symbolic Logic (if I have the terms right here), is explicitly contrasted with Aristoelian logic (the grandaddy of Formal Logic) by the very fact that it *isn't, when it comes down to it, itself binary.

Boolean Logic is simply the philosophical wing of Set Theory, or (what I personally find easiest to understand) Venn Diagrams, the visual analogue of Set Theory.

While both Aristotelian Logic and Boolean Logic depend on the Law of the Excluded Middle (which is where it's at, more than binary number systems versus our common-sensical decimal system or even the more useful hexadecimal system), the Fallacy [sic] of the Excluded Middle (or the False Dilemma) is less easy to put over in Boolean Logic than it is in Aristotelain Logic.

> Any relational database system can do better than
> that!  (Translating, "property" = column; "object" =
> "row".)
> Joel

Now, let's see if I have this right, Joel [he said, oozing sarcasm at every pore, and wondering whether he was about to be so gratuitously offensive that he'd get himself kicked off the list <g>]: Boolean logic is a Bad Thing because it's based on a binary number system whereas Relational databases are a Good Thing, because ... ?

.... they are normally found running on computers, which in their familiar digital rather than analogue variety are based on binary mathematics and were growed out of on/off switches.


There seems to be a disconnect here, even before we get to how it might be possible to view relational databases as a simple use of set theory, and Boolean logic as a more complex extension, and thus the one being no more than a topological transformation of the other.  <g>

(Alternatively, Aristotelian Logic could be seen as analogous to a Flat Form Database, whereas Boolean Logic would correlate with a Relational Database.)


(who doesn't even know enough to be dangerous, and is probably *harmlessly wrong in what he says above)

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