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Showing posts from June, 2007

Semantic Web and Chinese

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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

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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?

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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.