Toward an Enlargement of the Role of Natural Languages in Information Processing, Decision and Control

  • Lotfi A. Zadeh
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Soft Computing book series (AINSC, volume 5)


It is a deep-seated tradition in science to view the use of natural languages in scientific theories as a manifestation of mathematical immaturity. The rationale for this tradition is that natural languages are lacking in precision. However, what is not recognized to the extent that it should, is that adherence to this tradition carries a steep price. In particular, a direct consequence is that existing scientific theories do not have the capability to operate on perception-based information exemplified by “Most Finns are honest.” Such information is usually described in a natural language and is intrinsically imprecise, reflecting a fundamental limitation on the cognitive ability of humans to resolve detail and store information. Because of their imprecision, perceptions do not lend themselves to meaning-representation through the use of precise methods based on predicate logic. This is the principal reason why existing scientific theories do not have the capability to operate on perception-based information.


Natural Language Cognitive Ability Scientific Theory Generalize Constraint Expressive Power 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lotfi A. Zadeh
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science Division and the Electronics Research Laboratory, Department of EECSUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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