gaia, linguistics

[Avery Andrews 930127.1000]
Bill Powers (930126.0830)

Your description of `gaia failure' is pretty much how I heard the onset
of diabetes described once.

As for linguistics, what the grammars are supposed to do is define
a set of constraints, to which others can be added. What these
constraints do is give you a limited number of OK pairings of overt
strings (utterances) and semantic structures. Then their can be additional
constraints added, such that the structure be one involving a
certain overt string (that's parsing) or semantic structure (that's
production). So I don't really see what the problem is in general
terms, tho the specifics are obviously a mess, & I think the notion
of `semantic structure' is especially dubious (but have no coherent
ideas about what to replace it with).

[Avery Andrews 930127.1100]

An additional comment on parsing & production: I think the real test
for success for an approach to these problems is if they can explain
why comprehending garbled input is easier if you have some idea of
what is likely to be said. That is, the linguistic mechanisms seem
able to use the grammar (whatever it is that specifies the string-
structure relationship) in such a way that *partial* knowledge of both
the overt string and the semantic structures can be fleshed out into
a full picture of both. My impression is that there are guys at
CMU & elsewhere working on this, but not with exciting results.