A Conversation for Valid and Invalid Arguments
Wal Started conversation Nov 7, 2002
This idea can be taken further (and is) with computer programs (easily supported by languages such as Lisp and Prolog, but programmable in any).
They can easily treat statement as being not only true or false but also as a degree of likelyhood. For example, Mr X might say that Y is true, and 90% of the time he is right, therefore there is a 90% chance that Y is true.
Incidentally, ignoring the fact that I would rather have nothing than a peanut butter sandwich (disgusting stuff), the premise is flawed because you can only really argue about facts not the absence of facts. You should maybe have said:
"Eternal bliss is better than anything else."
"A peanut butter sandwich is a thing" (or even "an asset" if you like).
You can then draw a more sensible conclusion.
I think this is part of the reason why SQL compliant databases treat NULLs the way they do - more as "UNKNOWN" than "NOTHING".
Sea Change Posted Nov 7, 2002
Perhaps I am like the White Queen and can imagine 6 impossible things before breakfast, but I have no problem arguing about things that aren't there.
Natural languages are full of ambiguities, and nothing means two different things in this set of sentences. If you set them both as unknown or null, the statements wouldn't be as rich as what a human like me might think.
Wal Posted Nov 9, 2002
GTBacchus Posted Nov 11, 2002
"Natural languages are full of ambiguities, and nothing means two different things in this set of sentences."
That sentence contains a nice ambiguity itself.
That's an interesting solution to the "nothing" paradox. The whole problem comes from treating "nothing" in the same manner as a substantive noun, when it's not generally one, but can be.
To get really formal, a proposition P() about "nothing", where "nothing" is a non-substative pronounish type thing, can be rephrased according to the formula:
"P(nothing)" is equivalent to "For all X, it is not the case that P(X)"
Therefore, "Nothing is better than eternal bliss" is just a short way of saying, "For all X, eternal bliss is at least as good as X."
The sandwich sentence doesn't get the same kind of treatment, because "nothing" there is being used as a substantive for absence or void.
Sorry if I'm being boring; this is actually the first time I've worked this out for myself in this much detail, and I'd been wondering.
Sea Change Posted Nov 14, 2002
I apologize Wal, most proponents of Prolog I have met in real life are brilliant idiots, who don't live with true logic. If you were one, I was going to engage you with my propositions.
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