Other Research

* Natural-Language Legal Expert System Builder (NLESB)
* The Calculus of Functional Differences
* Lp Circular Functions
* Evolutionary Neurotheology, Jungian Psychology, & Neoplatonism
* Biographies of Greek Philosophers

Natural-Language Legal Expert System Builder (NLESB)

NLESB enables a lawyer to build a useful legal expert system in ordinary English without being a computer expert. It accepts rules in ordinary English, though in normalized form, and parses them into propositional data structures that it can use to draw inferences. NLESB has some features, particularly in its logic, that are peculiar to the needs of legal expert systems.

Send me mail for reprints or if you are interested in using our prototype implementation.

Publications (reverse chronological order):

  1. “A Logic for Statutory Law,” by John Nolt, Grayfred B. Gray, Bruce J. MacLennan, and Donald J. Ploch, Jurimetics 35, 2 (Winter 1995), pp. 121–151. Winner of Loevinger Prize.
  2. “Legal Expert System Building: A Semi-Intelligent Computer Program Makes It Easier,” by Grayfred B. Gray, Bruce J. MacLennan, John E. Nolt & Donald R. Ploch, John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law, 12 (1994), pp. 555–583. [pdf (44MB)]
  3. “Readability of the Law: Forms of Law for Building Legal Expert Systems,” by Donald R. Ploch, Bethany K. Dumas, Grayfred B. Grey, Bruce J. MacLennan, and John E. Nolt, Jurimetrics 33, 2 (Winter 1993), pp. 189–221.
  4. “Law Reading Experiment,” by Donald R. Ploch, Bethany K. Dumas, Grayfred H. Gray, Bruce MacLennan, & John Nolt, Pre-Proceedings of the III International Conference, Logica Informatica Diritto: Legal Expert Systems, A. A. Martino (ed.), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per la documentazione giuridica, Florence, Italy, November 2-5, 1989, Vol. 2, pp. 681–704.

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“A Calculus of Functional Differences” [compressed postscript]

Abstract: Functions can often be defined by recursive equations such as these:

   f(x) = b(x),     if p(x)
f[h(x)] = gx[f(x)], otherwise.
The second equation says that if the input to f “varies” by h, then its output “varies” by gx. We call this a functional difference equation; it is analogous to a numerical difference equation, such as:
f(h + x) = gx + f(x),
which says that the output of f varies by gx when its input is varied by h. Since in our theory we vary the input by an arbitrary function, rather than a numerical displacement, we can take differences of functions defined on nonnumeric domains, such as lists, trees and sets.

The ultimate goal of this research is to improve our ability to reason about functional programs. Specifically, the theory of functional differences provides a means of going from local descriptions of behavior (difference equations) to global descriptions (the solution to the difference equation), and vice versa.

In this paper we define several different kinds of functional differences and present fundamental results concerning them (existence, uniqueness, etc.). We also present a complementary operation of “functional integration” that can be used to solve functional difference equations.

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Lp Circular Functions” (Jan ‘93 version [pdf], which corrects Table 1 in May ‘92 version [compressed postscript]):

Abstract: In this report we develop the basic properties of a set of functions analogous to the circular and hyperbolic functions, but based on Lp circles, thus a kind of generalized trigonometry. The resulting identities may simplify analysis in Lp spaces in much the way that the circular functions do in Euclidean space. In any case, they are a pleasing example of mathematical generalization.

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Evolutionary Neurotheology, Jungian Psychology, & Neoplatonism

  1. “Evolutionary Neurotheology and the Varienties of Religious Experience” [html, pdf, rtf] — an extended version of a chapter in NeuroTheology: Brain, Science, Spirituality, Religious Experience, R. Joseph (Ed.), University Press, California, 2002.
  2. Evolution, Jung, and Theurgy: Their Role in Modern Neoplatonism:

  3. “Evolutionary Jungian Psychology” [pdf (1 MB)], Psychological Perspectives 49, 1 (Spring 2006), pp. 9–28.

  4. “Neoplatonism in Science: Past and Future” [pdf (196 KB)], extended version of paper [pdf (212 KB)] presented at International Society for Neoplatonic Studies meeting, New Orleans, June 22–26, 2005, and to appear in Metaphysical Patterns in Platonism:  Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern, edited by J. Finamore & B. Berchman, University Press of the South, 2007, pp. 441–59; reprinted by Prometheus Trust, 2014, pp. 199–214.  Both versions revised July 17, 2006. 

  5. “Individual Soul and World Soul: The Process of Individuation in Neoplatonism & Jung” [pdf (1.8 MB)], invited chapter for Thomas Arzt & Axel Holm (Eds.), Wegmarken der Individuation (Milestones of Individuation). Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2006, pp. 83–116. 
  6. Slides from presentations at ORICL (Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning), Feb. 25 and Mar. 4, 2009, from course on “Mysteries, Mysticism, and the Limits of Scientific Understanding”:
    1. “The Ancient Greek Mysteries” [pdf (16.2 MB)]
    2. “Platonic Spiritual Practices” [pdf (37.4 MB)]

  7. “Living Neoplatonism” [pdf (135KB)], paper read June 23, 2011 at the ninth annual conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies, Atlanta, GA.

  8. “Theurgy from the Perspective of Evolutionary Neuropsychology” [pdf], paper read June 21, 2012 at the tenth annual conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies, Cagliari, Sardinia.

  9. “Psychological Effects of Theurgy in Contemporary Practice” [pdf], paper read June 15, 2013 at the eleventh annual conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies, Cardiff, Wales.

  10. “Twenty-first Century Theurgy” [pdf], paper read June 17, 2014 at the twelfth annual conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies, Lisbon, Portugal.

  11. “The Ancient Wisdom of Hypatia” [pptx (21 MB)], presentation at ORICL (Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning), July 11, 2014.

  12. “The Tablet of Cebes” [pdf (30 MB)], presentation at PantheaCon 2015.
  13. “Neurophenomenology and Neoplatonism” [pdf], presentation at the 14th Annual Conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies, Seattle WA, June 15–18, 2016. An extended version will appear in an anthology.
  14. “Neoplatonic Theurgy” [slides: pdf (130 MB)], presentation at PantheaCon 2017.
  15. “The Psychological Effects of Henôsis” [pdf], extended version of paper presented at the 15th Annual Conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies, Olomouc, Czech Republic, June 13–16, 2017.

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Biographies of ancient Greek philosophersApuleius of Madauros (ch. 46, pp. 207–9) and Iamblichus of Chalcis (ch. 50, pp. 223–6), extended versions of two biographies for Meet the Philosophers of Ancient Greece, ed. Patricia O’Grady, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005.

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Send mail to Bruce MacLennan / MacLennan@utk.edu

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Last updated: 2017-12-23.