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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology and methodology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 14:02:18 -0500
Message-id: <45FD8CBA.7010305@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Peter,    (01)

My original example did not mention mules.  So I don't
understand why you objected to saying that every
employee is a person.    (02)

 > ... if a mule can be considered as a person, then something
 > is seriously out of kilter.    (03)

This gets into the question of what a person is.  The word
"persona" in Latin was used for the masks worn by actors
on the Roman stage.  The persona was the mask through
which the sound (sonum) of the actor's voice was amplified.
By metonymy, "persona" was applied to the actor, and then
to any human being who plays any role in life, not just
on a stage.    (04)

 > Your modeler is no longer modeling the real world but
 > attempting to re-create the world to fit his/her model.    (05)

I offered two options for representing that situation:
(1) redefine Employee as a subtype of Animal, or (2)
broaden the notion of person.  Take your pick.    (06)

 > Facts change over time, so do roles. Laws do not.    (07)

Different laws have different levels of entrenchment,
and the definitions of words are much less stable than
the laws of physics.  See persona -> person, for example.    (08)

 > The issue for me is not about the rights and wrongs of logic.
 > It is about the good and the bad of modeling practices.    (09)

I'm all in favor of good modeling practices.  The most
important is to be faithful to the domain (i.e., that aspect
of the world that is being modeled).  Another is to avoid
confusion by using words in their normal meanings.    (010)

But as circumstances change, the meanings change.  In the
first half of the 20th century, the word "computer" meant
"somebody who carries out a computation."  But now, it almost
always means "some thing that carries out a computation."    (011)

John    (012)

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