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Re: [ontolog-forum] The Relation Between Logic and Ontology in Metaphysi

To: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 12:03:38 -0500
Message-id: <45FACDEA.6080107@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat,    (01)

JFS> For example, the quantifiers of predicate calculus
 > (or any equivalent form, such as Peirce's graphs) are
 > not well suited to dealing with continuous stuff,
 > such as water.    (02)

PH> I beg to differ. In a very old paper, whose title I
 > believe may have been the first use of 'ontology' in its
 > modern sense in a refereed publication, I used classical
 > first-order logic to describe liquids in some detail:
 > water in particular.    (03)

Yes, I know that paper.  I didn't say that it was impossible
to use the usual quantifiers, but that they are "not well
suited".   As you and others have shown, it is necessary
to add a lot more machinery, such as measures and careful
distinctions about how various lumps are subdivided and
combined.  (I cited your paper in my 2000 book.)    (04)

Quibble about references:  Your paper was published in 1985:    (05)

    Hayes, Patrick J. (1985) "Naive physics I: Ontology for liquids,"
    in Hobbs & Moore (1985) pp. 71-107.    (06)

My book _Conceptual Structures_ appeared in 1983 (with a 1984
copyright).  The definition I used (see below for the context):    (07)

    an _ontology_ for a possible world -- a catalog of everything
    that makes up that world, how it's put together, and how it works.    (08)

I think I saw an earlier use in print by Aaron Sloman, but I
can't find it now.  In the CS book, I cited Sloman's 1978 book
_The Computer Revolution in Philosophy_, but it was a library
copy, and I can't check it now.    (09)

PH> All the formal and I would suggest informal evidence seems
 > to point to FOL, in some incarnation, as the single best
 > 'ontologically neutral' logic. This is because the *only*,
 > repeat ONLY, assumption that FOL makes about its universe is
 > that is is a nonempty set...    (010)

I would agree that FOL is the most neutral formalism that anyone
has ever proposed.   But that little word "set" raises much
more debatable ontological assumptions than the word "logic".
That is why so many people have been proposing some version of
mereology as a way of avoiding the issues raised by set theory
(at least the popular versions that build on Cantor's work).    (011)

Lesniewski's version of mereology was explicitly influenced by
Husserl, but Whitehead developed a version of mereology (which
he called "extensive abstraction") that seemed to be an
independent development.  Interestingly, his motivation was
to use it as the foundation for the planned fourth volume
of the _Principia Mathematica_ on geometry.    (012)

_________________________________________________________________    (013)

 From _Conceptual Structures_, by J. F. Sowa (1984)    (014)

Every discipline that uses conceptual analysis gives it a different
name.  In the computer field, the most common names are _systems
analysis_, _enterprise analysis_, and _knowledge engineering_.
Whatever the name, the ultimate goal is a precise, formalizable
catalog of concepts, relations, facts, and principles.  With
conceptual graphs, the goal is to determine the type labels,
canonical graphs, schemata, and laws of the world that define
some body of knowledge or domain of discourse.  In database terms,
the domain of discourse is the business enterprise about which data
is being stored.  The laws define constraints, consistency checks,
and implications that must be enforced to keep the database an
accurate reflection of the state of the world. The result of the
analysis is an _ontology_ for a possible world -- a catalog of
everything that makes up that world, how it's put together, and
how it works.    (015)

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