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}John - what's the difference between a 'language game' and a
'grammatical sentence'?


 On Mon 16/04/18 12:05 AM , John F Sowa sent:
 Jerry, Stephen, and Helmut, 
 In his later philosophy, Wittgenstein defined a natural language 
 as the totality of all the language games that can be played with 
 a given syntax and vocabulary. 
 He did not state that point in those terms because he died several 
 years before Chomsky made an outrageous and hopelessly misguided 
 claim:  A natural language is the totality of all the grammatical 
 sentences that can be expressed with a given syntax and vocabulary. 
 If Wittgenstein had heard that claim, he would have been livid with 
 rage.  I believe that the linguist Michael Halliday, whose career 
 spans the same extent as Chomsky's, had a much more accurate view: [1] ) 
 >> JFS:  every artificial language, which includes all the
 >> notations of mathematics, logic, chemistry, computer
 > JLRC: I find this phrase to be very confusing, John.  In today’s

 > terminology, Symbol systems are not the same as “artificial
 > but most formal notations are artificial symbols created by humans
 > express human thought or intent or meaning. 
 Every symbol system or formal notation begins as a language game 
 that the developers or designers use to discuss the subject matter 
 among themselves.  When designing that notation, they discuss every 
 definition in some NL, and they use exactly the same definitions 
 for the corresponding words in their preferred NL. 
 > Secondly, a critical distinction is whether or not the terms
 > within a discipline and flow into the spoken language with time,
 > incorporated into a different technical language or otherwise. 
 DNA is an excellent example. The language game *originated* with the

 first use of the term 'desoxyribonucleic acid' and its abbreviation.

 The scientists who study DNA and talk with their colleagues about it

 express every word, symbol, and phrase in their preferred NL with 
 exactly the same precision as they do when they use the symbols and 
 notations of chemistry. 
 > Very few authors choose to use common spoken language formally. 
 There is no such thing as "common spoken language".  Every sentence 
 anybody says from infancy to death is in some language game, which
 as vague or precise as appropriate for their purpose at the moment. 
 It's true that people who don't understand the science may pick up 
 and repeat parts of the scientists' precise language game and use it

 in very loose analogies.  I believe that's what you mean by "flow 
 into the spoken language with time".  But the scientists themselves 
 still talk about DNA with exactly the same precision as ever. 
 > Units must be defined!  The meaning of the “+” sign / symbol
 > with the purpose of author and the logical notation (sybol system)

 > the author is communicating with. 
 Yes.  When precision is required for some language game, the
 express exactly the same precision in their NL and in other
 And the symbol '+' varies with different language games for
 kinds of numbers.  See Figure 2 of "What is the source of
fuzziness?": [2] 
 > Logic is in my view good...  Words are a sort of utility by which
 > can perform everything from mundane to exalted feats. But to give
 > more than their due is an error. 
 When a logician, mathematician, or scientist in any field uses
 symbols in any formal notation, those symbols have *exactly* the
 meaning as the NL words that they use in talking with their
 or students when they're explaining those symbols. 
 > Logic is definitely prior to words through words are the
 > for expressing it.  
 No!  Every version of logic or any other artificial notation is 
 nothing more nor less than some NL language game expressed in 
 a notation that is specially designed just for that purpose. 
 > graphs, as most mathematic symbol language too, does not symbolize

 > time (continuity)? But: Might it not be possible to do that, by 
 > inventing symbols for time and its flow? 
 Scientists use the symbol 't' and predicates spelled T-I-M-E in 
 mathematics.  They also use equivalent words when they talk about 
 the same subjects in their preferred NLs. 
 But the discrete words and symbols of any language, natural or 
 artificial, can't express the full continuity of their experience. 
 A photograph or movie is better.  And systems of virtual reality 
 are even better.  But nothing expresses the full continuity. 
 > What is the "natural language"? Chomsky´s "universal grammar"? 
 > Is it the same as logic? 
 According to my interpretation of Peirce and Wittgenstein, I would 
 say that all our language experience, from infancy on up, involves 
 learning language games for expressing our perceptions and actions. 
 But language is not the same as logic.  It's more accurate to say 
 that every version of logic, from Aristotle to the present, is 
 a special-purpose notation for some language game. 
 The primary advantage of using some logic notation is that many
 can be detected just by checking the syntax.  But syntactic checks 
 alone cannot prevent all errors in semantics and pragmatics. 

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