Showing posts from June, 2007

Semantic Web and Chinese

Recently, I've been doing research on the semantic web and be astonished by the number of utterly unjustified claims and the conceptual mess that circulates. But all this will be a matter of more structured and academic discussion at NACAP 2007 . In this blog, I like to call your attention to the following point. We all know that China will probably dominate the international scenario for years to come. Chinese has been a fascinating language for philosophers at least since Leibniz. Indeed, his idea of a characteristica universalis owes much to his interest in Chinese. Now, there is a major difference between Indo-European languages (like English) and Chinese: the former are more subject-prominent languages, the latter belongs to the family of more topic-prominent languages. ( note ) Oversimplifying, in one case (subject-prominence) there is preference for sentences likes "Mary likes pizza", with a subject, a predicate and an object; in the other case (topic-prominen

Levels of Abstraction: the rules of the game and their exceptions

When you wish to play a game, the first thing you do is to try to grasp its basic rules. The story goes that the four-years old Capablanca learned to play chess by looking at his father playing. I tried that with cricket and I still haven't got a clue. Wrong approach, I guess I am not a natural. Normally, we get some explanation from a player or we read the instructions in the box. Now, there are very general rules which seem to apply, more ore less loosely, to a lot of games. Things like: you do not try to harm your opponent, e.g. by shooting the tennis or squash ball or football , or rugby ball or... at his face. Is there any very general rule that applies to conceptual games? I do not mean just Sudoku or Scrabble, I mean conceptual/philosophical games/challenges like Gettier problem or The Tower of Hanoi . Yes, and I would argue that among the most important, if not the most important is this: get your level of abstraction (LoA) right. Most philosophical problem

Second Life in First Life?

Some time ago I argued that the next step in the informational revolution would be something that is now happening under our eyes: the erasure of a clear discrimination between online and "onlife". We are logged in 24/7, but... this is not what I meant! Enjoy the video :) PS thanks to Chiara (aka DarkSoul), a graduate student I supervise in Bari, for showing it to me.