[Haskell-cafe] NLP libraries and tools?

Jack Henahan jhenahan at uvm.edu
Sun Jul 10 06:13:45 CEST 2011

Heh, I just hit Reply All and I guess the address came in wrong. Ah, well.

I strongly agree with you on the state of linguistics, et al. Having done little bits of work in a few of those fields (or at least work _with_ people in them), your comments are spot on. Though perhaps I wouldn't say that mathematics isn't a science (merely because most fields therein satisfy the scientific method). But my glasses may be just a little rosy. :)

All that said, I find your points insightful. And don't even get me started on the sloppy math in the social sciences. :D

A major issue in the matter of theory/practice drift seems (to me, at least) to be the subject matter's ability to assimilate into pop culture and pseudo-scientific meandering. String theory and some of Penrose's works spring to mind. Sapir-Whorf, "relational" databases, and the events (perhaps to be read 'hype') leading up to the AI Winter also come to mind. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as they say.

Perhaps that's just confirmation bias. I may just think of them as examples because they're pet peeves. :D

And, naturally, every field wishes it could be mathematics. (Tongue in cheek… mostly)

On Jul 9, 2011, at 7:55 PM, wren ng thornton wrote:

> (Psst, the nlp list is <nlp at projects.haskell.org> :)
> On 7/9/11 3:10 AM, Jack Henahan wrote:
>> On Jul 7, 2011, at 10:53 PM, wren ng thornton wrote:
>>> I can't help but be a (meta)theorist. But then, I'm of the firm opinion
>>> that theory must be grounded in actual practice, else it belongs more to
>>> the realm of theology than science.
>> Oof, you're liable to wound my (pure) mathematician's pride with remarks
> like that, wren. :P
> How's that now? Pure mathematics is perfectly grounded in the practice of
> mathematics :)
> I've no qualms with pure maths. Afterall, mathematics isn't trying to
> model anything (except itself). The problems I have are when the theory
> branch of a field loses touch with what the field is trying to do in the
> first place, and consequently ends up arguing over details which can be
> neither proven nor disproven. It is this which makes them non-scientific
> and not particularly helpful for practicing scientists. Linguistics is one
> of the fields where this has happened, but it's by no means the only one
> (AI, declarative databases, postmodernism,...)
> There's nothing wrong with not being science. I'm a big fan of the
> humanities, mathematics, and philosophy. It's only a problem when
> non-science is pretending to be science: it derails the scientists and it
> does a disservice to the non-science itself. Non-science is fine;
> pseudo-science is the problem. For the same reason, I despise math envy
> and all the pseudo-math that gets bandied about in social sciences wishing
> they were economics (or economics wishing it were statistics, or
> statistics wishing it were mathematics).
> -- 
> Live well,
> ~wren
> _______________________________________________
> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> Haskell-Cafe at haskell.org
> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list