Saturday, March 21, 2015

Truisms in Semantics

I find these sorts of structures underlying how sentences achieve narrative continuity. They are called Truisms. Many of them are equated with so-called logical fallacies and it is unfortunate that logicians bypass them since they are so integral to how we communicate. The truisms that  use the operation '::' (of becoming) can be detected when the word "but" can be used.

Truism 1: Events occur at a place, at a time, in a manner:
(X->Y)at->[place] _/[time] _/[manner]
"It was raining hard outside this morning".
Truism 2: Affects can change a person’s feelings:
(X->person) :: [person_/feeling]
"I got hit on the head but it did not hurt"
"I got hit on the head and it hurt"
Truism 3: Feelings can motivate actions:
(person_/feeling) :: [person->Y]
"I was angry with the dog so I kicked him"
"I was angry at the dog but I did not kick him"

Truism 4A: Attributes remain the same:
X_/A :: X_/[A]
"I saw a pretty girl at the mall yesterday but she was not there today"
"I saw a pretty girl at the mall yesterday. I saw her again today"

Truism 4B: Relationships remain the same:
Xa->Y :: Xa->[Y]
"I put the desert in the fridge to cool and took it out that evening"
"I put the desert in the fridge to cool but it was gone that evening"

The difference between 4A and 4B does not need to be significant. Role conversions allow expression in either form, with the ultimate meaning determined by what is described.

Truism 5: What is potential becomes actual:
X->[Y] :: X->Y

[I have trouble with this one. (Adding) "He almost made it but then the raft collapsed"]

"I took the desert out of the fridge"
This differs from Truism 4 because implicit becomes explicit rather than the reverse. Perhaps  all combinations occur in some form of Truism.

These generalize to:
Truism N: All things we know in the universe are connected as we know them to be connected and behave as we expect them to behave.

Barb’s truism: If a person has an attractive personality we tend to judge them more physically attractive. This is 4A but it is not obvious how – where person’s personality is substituted for ‘X’ on the left and by person’s appearance is substituted for ‘X’ on the right.
Also it involves applying a value scale, something we have not discussed. We could imagine a ‘HI’ and a ‘LO’ attributes of a thing.
(Xvalue->Y)_/HI :: (Xvalue->Y)_/[HI]
(Xvalue->Y)_/LO :: (Xvalue->Y)_/[LO]
"He was nicely dressed but a real jerk"

[The interesting question is: do we use meanings with deeper and deeper nested compexity, or is vagueness employed after a certain point, or does meaningful thought remain limited to a low level of narrative complexity?]

Update: I later conclude that Trusim N and Truism 5 are mixed up due to my not recognizing factoids which are on-the-fly truisms based on facts. So rather than being a truism, for example, "Being relaxed leads to sleeping" expressed as '[X]_/ relaxed :: [X]_/sleeping', is a factoid because it expresses a truism with particulars. My current thinking is that "what is potential becomes actual" is not a truism but general statement of many different particular factoids. So truism N simply allows factoids. Truism 5 becomes unnecessary.
Update 2: And that is not the end of it. There is some form of syllogism floating around of the form A::B,B::C leads to A::C

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