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Subject: [humanmarkup] PBS-Doc-belief

Title: PBS-Doc-belief
This is another of our new elements, and as such, the discussion also preceeded the formulation of the entry. It has been added to the Internal Human States Section.

Subject: [humanmarkup-comment] New Base Schema Elements and Attributes - belief

             From: Rex Brooks <rexb@starbourne.com>
             To: humanmarkup-comment@lists.oasis-open.org, humanmarkup@lists.oasis-open.org
             Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2002 06:04:56 -0700

      Hi Everyone,

      Up and at 'em, campers! (or, Good Morning HumanMarkup!) Here is my
      first pass at the alphabetically first new element.


      This is an abstract ComplexType element that belongs to the attribute
      group humlIdentifierAtts. It does not use other elements and is not
      used by other elements.

      It is described as a conviction held by a human or humanGroup of the
      truth of a statement or assertion, or set of statements or
      assertions. Assertions need not be verbal. A set of statements or
      assertions can be seen to be beliefSystems, or signSystems and as
      such are expected to be developed further

      Note: According to my dictionary there appear to be two main types or
      kinds of belief: a habitual state of mind and an evaluation of
      evidence. They are not mutually exclusive. The extensive discussions
      we have had will largely come to bear on how belief is developed by
      kinds or types and as beliefSystems amd/or signSystems which will
      also certainly be included in cultural descriptions.

      Aspects of belief include considerations of truth that may be
      contrary to any given belief, and it may well be that our definition
      of belief needs to be carefully annotated so that it is understood as
      separate from what might be thought of as "objective" truth. As such,
      it provides a way to separate a human's belief from truth per se, so
      that the relationship between a human's belief or beliefSystem can be
      correlated to that human's communications and other actions without
      regard for whether the belief or beliefSystem is more or less
      objectively accurate or true.

      I have tried to keep this atomistic level definition of belief as
      neutral as possible, which I believe (gack!) is necessary. I use the
      word believe here to establish a relative evaluation of the
      usefulness of the Primary Base Element itself as a foundation for
      further derived and extended elements in the Secondary Base Schema.

      Heads UP: I will be shortly posting an example of how I am going to
      correlate our carefully threaded discussions with the Primary Base
      Schema to show how we arrived at our specification.

      Can we stand so much fun?


Subject: [humanmarkup-comment] Re: [humanmarkup] New Base Schema Elements andAttributes - belief

             From: "Emmanuil Batsis (Manos)" <mbatsis@humanmarkup.org>
             To: humanmarkup-comment@lists.oasis-open.org, humanmarkup@lists.oasis-open.org
             Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2002 16:24:27 +0300

      Rex Brooks wrote:

       > belief
       > This is an abstract ComplexType element that belongs to the attribute
      group humlIdentifierAtts. It does not use other elements and is not used
      by other elements.

      Hey, a complex type belonging to an attribute group?

      When does "belief" result to what is considered a "fact"?



To: mbatsis@humanmarkup.org, Rex Brooks <rexb@starbourne.com>
From: Rex Brooks <rexb@starbourne.com>
Subject: Re: [humanmarkup] New Base Schema Elements and Attributes - belief

You know, I have said that about all elements in one way or another.

It may just be an unfortunate choice of words, it does belong to the attribute group in a sense, but only because, like all of our elements, it needs to be a unique name, and that attribute group gives it an id in addition to a name, so it might be better to say its attributes include attributeGroup, but all of our element names belong to the attributeGroup in that sense. Len asked why I don't love attributes? Here you go. It might be easier to just say all elements have attributes ID and Name, which is why, I assume, that the attributeGroup was invented in the first place. I can't say I see much use in it, except, as in this case, to make a mess of interpretation.

However, that is XML Schema, and you should look at the HumanML Schema Len produced way back when, which validates in XML Spy, which I am following and which I will also probably use, at least to compile all the various raw versions I want: xml, xhtml, etc. I will edit it them by hand to fit the OASIS spec for HTML, Word, XML formats for standards. I only have 30 days to do it, though.

If I have the XML Schema usage incorrect when I produce it, I hope you correct me quickly. These examinations are all discussions, not code, so semantics may make it seem that I am saying that an element belongs to an attributeGroup when what I am actually intending to say that it shares the attributeGroup as the least, but most fundamental, of its attributes. If even that is wrong....?

When a human cites a belief, the citation or assertion of the belief itself is a fact, even if future evidence makes us evaluate the citation of a belief as false. Belief, in our use of it as an element on its own merit never achieves objective truth, if that is what your question is really asking.

It can't, otherwise we have to be arbitrating truth, and we can't do that. However, it can't be validated as ultimate truth in any event, quite apart from the fact that we can't put ourselves in the position of a defining authority. I don't know what or who God is, or even if there is one of any particular flavor, but I have a pretty good collection of evidence that we aint it.

The best that could ever be said of a belief in our terms is that this or that human instantiation claims that it holds a belief that some statement or assertion is either an article of cultural faith or is supported by an overwhelming preponderance of cited evidence, but even that doesn't come close to approaching ultimate truth. Except of course for faithholders.

In epistemology all you can say is that we have established criteria by which to judge truth, but not what truth is. All we can do is talk about how we evaluate evidence and make tests that appear to validate any given hypothesis.

However, it will always and ever be ONLY an hypothesis.

Phenomenology, my favorite backwater of philosophy, is worse. The best you can do with that is cite what our senses tell us and qualify that as a perception, which is highly fallible.

I tried to explain this in my youth to a very bright kid who was on his way to MIT, except I did not have the correct vocabulary to state it, and it upset his worldview so bady he never recovered. I've always felt guilty about that, but feelings don't dictate anything other than their own subjective reality.


Subject: FW: [humanmarkup-comment] Base Schema-Belief

             From: Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga <rkthunga@interposting.com>
             To: humanmarkup-comment@lists.oasis-open.org
             Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2002 02:05:52 -0400

      Rex:  I also think we have enough fodder for our first draft.  A few
      other comments I have however...

      Wanted to clarify whether these are things to consider at this stage or
      not.  Regardless, we can keep these in mind while we move forward
      (pulling from Len's post):

      Name of belief(s)
      Description of belief
      Proof of belief -- in a subjective sense (i.e. internal signs we
              -within our scope
      Proof of belief -- in an objective sense (i.e. external signs as
              -Semantic Web
      Commitment to belief
      Code set for beliefs (Secondary Base Schema considerations)
              Cultural Sets
              Personal Beliefs

      Assertion of fact vs. assertion of belief:
      As for the distinction between assertion of fact vs. assertion of belief
      that you mention Len -- I think that this may fall under "speech
      actions" (i.e. signs) rather than belief.  When someone believes
      something with a very strong commitment, then the line blurs between an
      assertion of a fact vs. an assertion of a belief...for example "God
      commanded me to destroy America" is asserted as a fact, when in fact it
      is a belief...or at least I think it is a belief.  To another, it may be
      as 100% as real as "The sun will shine through my window tomorrow".

      We cannot verify this, as you mention in your last post Rex, but we can
      verify (or at least provide validation rules) that demonstrate "the
      degree to which someone believes something" by evaluating the signs used
      (as Len I believe mentioned earlier.)

      Commitment to belief: 
      Do we want to provide containers for helping people commit to sometimes
      flawed and dangerous beliefs?  Ultimately, I think we do, because our
      mission is simply to best represent current communication
      characteristics--not change or manipulate them.  It is up to software,
      not HumanML, to actually help resolve conflicting, unfounded beliefs.
      As long as we have validation criteria, in addition to commitment
      quantifiers, I think we will sufficiently allow for this (e.g. A HumanML
      application can potentially be built to challenge the belief that
      "America is the Great Satan", by sifting away the untruths involved in
      such an assertion).

      "Belief", more than most of the other elements, is where we would
      possibly interoperate with Semantic Web initiative.  I know that much
      work is underway in the SW effort in this regard, but I don't know to
      what degree the SW takes into "human belief" verses simply "assertions".

      The one area I feel we should keep in mind is the subjective vs.
      objective reality as it may interplay with beliefs and/or fact.  Not
      that we need to address the underlying physical model of the universe
      within HumanML, but we may need to account for the differences in
      subjective/objective models of reality, if we hope to be interoperable
      in the largest sense.  Don't mean to open up a can of leaping
      grasshoppers, but I'd like to hear comments if there are any.

      Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga

Subject: RE: [humanmarkup-comment] Base Schema-Belief

             From: Rex Brooks <rexb@starbourne.com>
             To: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>,'Rex Brooks' <rexb@starbourne.com>,'Ranjeeth
             Kumar Thunga' <rkthunga@interposting.com>,humanmarkup-comment@lists.oasis-open.org
             Date: Fri, 06 Sep 2002 12:08:14 -0700

      I think the rules will emerge from collecting together the beliefs
      that comprise a belief system by asking the people who adhere to the
      belief systems to list the beliefs or the components of the belief
      system, but that is another chunk of work for another time. I think
      we pretty much have enough for the first pass at it when we come back
      to it in assembling the first draft later this month.


Subject: RE: [humanmarkup-comment] Base Schema-Belief

             From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
             To: 'Rex Brooks' <rexb@starbourne.com>,'Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga'
             Date: Fri, 06 Sep 2002 13:12:28 -0500

      I'm not being exact, but yes, a belief system could
      be constructed from beliefs, but that requires almost
      something like rules or some way to state that the
      set of beliefs referred to as a belief system have
      some relationships that make them into a system.

      Regardless of what the belief is based on, physical
      facts, mental states, etc., a belief is what the
      holder accepts as "true".  If it is agreed upon,
      it de facto becomes attached to some larger element
      type such as culture.  A belief need not be part
      of a system, but it must have a person or persons
      to assert it.  Beliefs do not exist independent
      of humans.  Facts do.


Subject: RE: [humanmarkup-comment] Base Schema-Belief

             From: Rex Brooks <rexb@starbourne.com>
             To: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>,'Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga'
             Date: Fri, 06 Sep 2002 11:03:40 -0700

      I think that this approach that Len describes is more along the lines
      of Belief System than belief as an atomic element. I think we need to
      be careful about that.

      One can have a belief that the sun will rise tomorrow, regardless of
      what cultural or social belief system one adheres to or whether one
      adheres to any particular belief system. The fact that the sun will
      not rise tomorrow, but the earth will continue to rotate about its
      axis is actually irrelevent to my belief because my belief is not
      necessarily based on the science of physics as we have come to
      understand and accept it.

      Why or how something actually happens is the truth to which Ranjeeth
      refers and which most reasonably rational people, as I understand
      THAT set of concepts, agree is independent of any belief or belief
      system. The idea that the truth might NOT actually be independent of
      our perceptions and beliefs could also be true, but we will probably
      not be able to verify it.

      So what I think we should do is to consider that when we get back
      around to the new elements we need to consider...

      I am in fact going to hold off on sending this until I have posted my
      first entry for the next element. Sigh.

      It is gonna get real busy real quick.


Subject: RE: [humanmarkup-comment] Base Schema-Belief

             From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
             To: 'Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga'
             Date: Fri, 06 Sep 2002 10:19:27 -0500

      One approach may be to treat belief in terms of
      commitment by the individual to the belief.  We
      would need an element model that names the belief,
      describes the belief, and points to signs that would
      be expressed as a result of holding the belief.  This
      would include a quantifier for commitment that has
      at least two components:  how strongly the individual
      states that the belief is held, and the sign set the
      observer can look for as proof of commitment.  This is
      not different from the ontological commitment concept.
      The belief itself has to stand alone so that we can
      have a code set for beliefs that can then be members of
      cultural sets (what one can assert and individual may
      hold by being a member of a culture) vs personal beliefs
      (that which the individual asserts they hold.  For
      example, I share certain beliefs with Hindus but I
      am not Hindu by birth or culture.)

      Beliefs would need a discriminator so that holding an
      assertion of a fact (the sun will rise tomorrow) and
      the assertion of a belief (God loves children) can be


Subject: Re: [humanmarkup-comment] Base Schema-Belief

             From: Rex Brooks <rexb@starbourne.com>
             To: Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga
             Date: Fri, 06 Sep 2002 09:42:37 -0700

      I will chime in with an agreement. If Rob, if he gets this, could
      acknowledge adding belief to the list of new elements, I would
      appreciate it. I don't think we can attempt to capture "truth" per
      se, but belief as a basic element of the human condition, provided
      one is not raised by wolves in the wilderness, is a valid.


Subject: [humanmarkup-comment] Base Schema-Belief

             From: Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga <rkthunga@interposting.com>
             To: humanmarkup-comment@lists.oasis-open.org
             Date: Fri, 06 Sep 2002 11:09:36 -0400

      After reading Len and Rex's comments from yesterday, I started to think
      that we may want to add 'belief' as a Base Schema element.  It is
      tempting to include this within Secondary Schema within culture perhaps,
      but I realize that belief is an aspect of ourselves that lead us to use
      the signs we communicate with fundamentally, just like emotion, and
      intention (which I would like to continue to explore as well).

      No one argues that there is something fundamentally "True" in the
      highest sense, although different means of getting there and
      perspectives: through scientific method, philosophy, meditation or
      religion.  Belief is our best approximation of the fundamental Truth.
      Some people may equate their 'belief' as being 100% equal to Truth, and
      that is where all the problems we are having come from--i.e.
      fundamentalism.  The big danger, as both Rex and Len alluded to, is this
      fundamentalism.  By strictly defining our 'beliefs', we may hinder our
      ability to let ourselves probe further, and may discourage us from
      casting healthy doubts.

      Thus, in a sense, I feel we are also missing a unifer "ultimateTruth"
      within our definition, but can't think of where it might belong.  After
      all, that is what a belief is ultimately for--to describe an
      'ultimateTruth' that we have yet to form a unified, verifiable,
      complete, and mutually acceptable definition of.  Even though some
      persons in the history of man may have achieved this state of awareness
      through subjective experience, we as a human race have not reached this
      level through objective descriptions.

      I'm starting a new thread to be consistent with our naming scheme,
      although I am cutting and pasting some of the earlier content. 

      If we can describe belief in some way, while also being able to exactly
      and specifically point out where the distinctions may lie, and make it
      clear that beliefs are not absolute within themselves, then we have a
      better shot at helping dissolve the conflicts between beliefs.  Rigidly
      held beliefs can be more dangerous if strictly defined without such an
      allowance.  That may be the function of Secondary Schema definition, but
      just wanted to keep that in mind.

      Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga

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